All Festival events are open to the public. Most are free, but some require reservations and/or tickets due to limited seating. There is a nominal charge for the Literary Trails Luncheon and the On the Same Plate Luncheon. Please call Ashe Arts Council at 336-846-2787 for tickets, reservations, and details. Please plan to arrive a few minutes early to all events in order to be seated prior to the beginning of the programs. And thank you, in advance, for remembering to turn off your cell phones during all Festival events.


7:30 p.m. Elliot Engel. Literary performance. Blackbeard: Pirate Enemy Number One. Admission tickets and reservations required. Ashe Arts Center.


2:00 p.m. Festival Read Wrap-Up Session. Ordinary Light: A Memoir by Tracy K. Smith. A lively discussion of this year’s Festival Read, led by Chris Arvidson, author and adjunct faculty member at UNC Charlotte. Ashe County Public Library.


8:30-10:30 a.m. Georgann Eubanks. Writer’s workshop: “Why Blogging is Good for You and How to Get Started.” In this session, participants learn about writing blogs – on-line platforms, frequency, topics, and keeping motivated. Bloggers brainstorm and do freewriting exercises as a way to talk about voice and tone. No previous experience is necessary. Registration is limited, and a reservation is required. Ashe County Public Library.

11:00 a.m. Phillip Lewis. Author of the novel The Barrowfields, Lewis’s talk is a special feature presented by the Friends of the Ashe County Public Library. Ashe County Public Library.

2:00 p.m. Bryn Chancellor. The author of Sycamore reads from her debut novel, a riveting story that shifts from past to present and character to character. Attendees have the opportunity to discuss the themes and fresh style of the novel with the author. Ashe County Public Library.

6:30-8:30 p.m. Abigail DeWitt. Writer’s workshop: “The Story Behind the Story.” Most of us have a story that we often share with others. In this workshop, participants look behind their own stories to discover what might have been forgotten, and learn how to develop hidden narratives to create a more colorful, multi-textured memoir. Beginning and experienced writers are welcome. Registration is limited and a reservation is required. Ashe Arts Center.


9:30 a.m. Jim Minick. A writer of nonfiction and poetry, Jim reads from his first novel, Fire is Your Water. It’s the story of a young woman’s loss of faith in her own abilities, the young man who befriends her, and his perceptive raven, Cicero. A returning Festival favorite, Minick is also author of the memoir The Blueberry Years: A Memoir of Farm and FamilyAshe County Public Library.

Noon. Literary Trails Luncheon. Georgann Eubanks debuts her newest book, The Month of Their Ripening: North Carolina Heritage Foods, scheduled for publication on September 4, and gives us a sneak preview of what’s coming up next. Boxed lunches are provided for a nominal charge. Reservations are required. Ashe County Public Library.

2:30 p.m. Tommy Tomlinson. Tommy talks about his varied experience as a writer for newspapers and magazines, and his upcoming memoir, The Elephant in the Room. He reads from his book about life as an overweight man and talks about his public radio reporting and new podcast. Ashe County Public Library.

7:30 p.m. Tracy K. Smith Keynote Address. Ms. Smith tells stories about her journey across rural America in her role as Poet Laureate of the United States, and reads from her own poetry collections and memoir. She will be introduced by North Carolina First Lady Kristin Cooper. Ashe Civic Center.


9:00 a.m. Page Turner’s Breakfast. For OTSP Festival donors; at the West Jefferson home of Chris Arvidson and Henry Doss. Reservations are required.

11:00 a.m. Frank X Walker. His newest book, Ink Stains & Watermarks: New and Uncollected Poems, contains poems that teach us “something important about holding on, something more about letting go,” according to one reviewer. Frank reads from his work and talks about the origins of Affrilachian poetry. Ashe County Public Library.

2:00 p.m. Tracy K. Smith Outreach Program. Ms. Smith talks with Ashe County High School language arts students and invited students from Wilkes Community College and Appalachian State University. She hopes to show students how poetry can help young people see the world from perspectives beyond their own. Ashe County High School.

2:00-4:00 p.m. Tommy Tomlinson. Writer’s workshop: “Writing in 3-D.” Using a mix of writing, lecture, and Q&A, Tommy reveals creative tools and tips to “make your writing rise off the page and make the reader feel your story.” He answers questions about techniques, craft, and careers in writing. Ashe County Public Library.

5:00-8:00 p.m. Gallery Crawl. Downtown West Jefferson’s many art galleries remain open into the evening with refreshments and light entertainment – a great way to enjoy a late-summer Friday evening in Ashe County! Various locations throughout downtown.


9:30-11:30 a.m. Frank X Walker. Writer’s workshop: “Memory, Research and Imagination: Crafting an Historical Poem Collection.” Walker, an author of historical poetry, says, “Forget walking in somebody else’s shoes. Try wearing their skin!” Participants become immersed in the use of innovative techniques for creating new voices and a suite of new poems. Registration is limited and a reservation is
required. Ashe County Public Library.

Noon-2:00 p.m. On the Same Plate Luncheon and Panel Discussion. Georgann Eubanks leads the discussion “Writing from Your Own Experience” with Festival authors Darnell Arnoult, Jim Minick, Tommy Tomlinson, and Frank X Walker. Tickets for the luncheon are $15.00, and reservations are required. Hensley Hall at West Jefferson United Methodist Church.