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Connecticut's Largest Literary Festival, Storyfest, Starts Up Online

Image by Eli Digital Creative from Pixabay

Connecticut’s largest literary festival begins Tuesday — remotely, due to COVID-19. It’s called Storyfest — and it’s a collaboration between Westport Public Library and Westport Public Schools.

Cody Daigle-Orians is the festival’s program manager. He said this year they’re celebrating genres — like horror, fantasy, sci-fi and romance.

“We sort of think those are the stories that help people fall in love with reading. So the festival tries to hone in on the authors that are writing the stories that you take the beach, that you curl up with on the couch, that you read with your kids, that the kids are reading in school,” Daigle-Orians said.

The festival opens with D’Acre Stoker, a descendant of Dracula author Bram Stoker. And it features authors who’ve won some of the biggest awards in genres, like horror’s Stoker Award and sci-fi/fantasy’s Nebula Award. Among them is Josh Malerman, author of the horror novel Bird Box, that inspired a hit 2018 Netflix film.

More than 4,000 people attended last year’s festival. Daigle-Orians said COVID-19 means they had to change things up a bit. The festival now lasts for two weeks instead of a few days, since you can’t expect people to spend their whole day in front of a computer screen. But there’s an upside to it.

“We’ve been able to put together authors that we maybe couldn’t have gotten to the library in person because of travel or because of schedule. We’re able to combine authors in interesting ways in this virtual space to create conversations that maybe wouldn’t have been totally possible in person,” Daigle-Orians said.

Storyfest runs through September 29 and you can register for events at westportlibrary.org.

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.