little grassy literary festival 2021

April 01, 2021

Virtual Little Grassy Literary Festival 2021 features readings, discussions

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The venerable Little Grassy Literary Festival at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will take on a different twist this year while still featuring a variety of renowned literary authors.

This year’s event, which begins Monday, April 5, and runs through April 9, will feature six authors and six poets who will read their work during 5 p.m. readings every night. There will also be three 11 a.m. panels where the audience can ask authors how they created their work or how they became successful writers. An open mic is set for 7 to 9 p.m. April 9 for anyone interested in sharing their work.

This is the 12th festival; last year’s event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the decision was reached this year to hold the entire event virtually.

Hosted by graduate students from SIU’s MFA creative writing program, the festival provides an opportunity for students and community members to hear from renowned literary authors.

The festival schedule with available Zoom links to register is:

Monday, April 5

  • 5 to 6:30 p.m. ­– Reading: Ilana Masad and Matthew Wimberley.

Tuesday, April 6

  • 5 to 6:30 p.m. – Reading: Ron Austin and A.S. King.

Wednesday, April 7

  • 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Panel discussion: “Creating Worlds and Constructing Narrative” with Ron Austin, A.S. King, Joy Priest, John McCarthy and Sequoia Nagamatsu.
  • 5 to 6:30 p.m. – Reading: Leia Penina Wilson and Sequoia Nagamatsu.
  • 7 to 8:30 p.m. – Reading: Saddiq Dzukogi and Maria Romasco Moore.

Thursday, April 8

  • 11 a.m. to noon ­– Panel discussion: “Poetry in a Pandemic” with Leia Penina Wilson, Jennifer Maritza McCauley, Matthew Wimberly and Saddiq Dzukogi.
  • 5 to 6:30 p.m. – Reading: Joy Priest and John McCarthy.

Friday, April 9

  • 11 a.m. to noon – Panel discussion: “Perspectives on Publishing” with John McCarthy, Maria Romasco Moore, Ilana Masad and Joy Priest.
  • 5 to 6:30 p.m. – Reading: Jennifer Maritza McCauley and Britteney Black Rose Kapri.
  • 7 to 9 p.m. – Audience open mike. Hosted by Canned Reads. Email before April 9 to join the open mic lineup. All performances are welcome, but there is a maximum 15-minute reading/performing time. Because this event is virtual, participants are asked to prepare their audio/visual features accordingly.

Canned Reads is a reading series hosted by SIU MFA students that collects food donations to support the Carbondale community. Email them to find out how to make a donation.

For more information, contact Emilee Kinney, Little Grassy Literary Festival co-director. Additional information is available on the festival’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.