About the Festival

On the Same Page, Ashe County’s literary festival, simply put — is a celebration of reading and writing.
~It provides an opportunity for authors to share their work and themselves with readers.
~It gives readers a chance to rub elbows with the authors who take them on journeys through their writing.
~It offers writers a chance to be inspired and to practice their craft.
~It is a special time in the mountains of North Carolina for lovers of the written word.
Each year, On the Same Page takes on a unique theme and a unique flavor. The theme is planned and intentional, and provides a thread that is woven throughout the festival. The flavor is organic. Instead of being planned, it develops from the people and the combination of special events that are included in and that surround each festival, as well as the spirit of the mountain community in which it is held. Readings, writing, discussions, visual art, performance art, film, spoken word, craft, food, and more blend together each year to become the special experience that is On the Same Page.

Some History

ON THE SAME PAGE, Ashe County’s literary festival, was born of the major expansion of the Ashe County Public Library in 2008–2009. As the new library building took shape on the hill overlooking West Jefferson, library Director Jim McQueen consulted with Jane Lonon, Executive Director of the Ashe County Arts Council, and others about an appropriate way to celebrate and make use of the new library when it reopened.

A committee was formed, and, advised by local and regional experts, decided to start by holding a county-wide Community Read of Lee Smith’s novel, On Agate Hill, in the fall of 2008. The principal sponsors of ON THE SAME PAGE are the Ashe County Arts Council and the Ashe County Public Library, with help from members of the community.

The theme for our 2013 Festival will be the topic of Secrets.  Authors selected will speak of their own personal and professional journeys as their inspiration and in their writing.

Below is a brief history of the topics of previous festivals.

In 2009, ON THE SAME PAGE presented eleven events over the course of four days in mid-September, focusing on North Carolina people, places, and traditions. The featured author was Jill McCorkle, whose Going Away Shoes was newly published by Algonquin Press. That and another of McCorkle’s books were the 2009 Community Read selections. Other writers participating in the festival were Georgann Eubanks (UNC Press’s Literary Trails series and “Good Ol’ Girls” video), Pamela Duncan (The Big Beautiful), John Shelton Reed & Dale Volberg Reed (Holy Smoke), Clint Johnson (Pursuit), and poet Joseph Bathanti.

In 2010, eight North Carolina-connected authors and their admirers and fans participated in numerous events during the third week in September, culminating in a luncheon/panel discussion focusing on three queries relating to the role of place in the authors’ writing:

(1) Where did you grow up, and how did that place and its landscape influence your writing?

(2) Have you moved away from or closer to that place in your writing?

(3) How is place a character in your writing?

In 2011 the theme for the festival was Family.  Authors spoke about family connections within their writings and how family influenced their writings.  The 2012 theme was Journeys.  We can’t wait to hear how this year’s author will approach our theme!

A Community Festival

Besides celebrating the library, the arts in Ashe County, and ‘close-to-home’ authors, ON THE SAME PAGE is intended to expand the reading experience of all citizens of Ashe County, regardless of age and interest. The festival is coordinating with the library’s Children’s and Youth programs, and includes at least one event at local schools.

The library is also the venue for several festival events—book discussions and readings, and the writing workshop. Check back for details on this year’s Community Read.

Besides co-sponsoring and managing the festival, the Arts Council will host at least one of the main events of the festival at the Ashe Arts Center. The books of all ON THE SAME PAGE authors will be available for purchase (and signing!) at all festival events, as well as at the Ashe Arts Center Gallery.

One of the most popular events of the festival, An Hour with an Author, will again take place in various eateries in the immediate area.  Watch for more infomation about these events in upcoming months.

We are pleased to also partner with the Ashe County Piecemakers Quilt Guild.  The Ashe County Piecemakers Quilt Guild is presenting its 11th annual Quilt Fair, on Friday and Saturday, September 20 and 21, 2013. The Fair will be held at Jefferson Station, 20 Ashe Street, in historic downtown West Jefferson, North Carolina. Please visit us on Friday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be over 100 quilts on display; our Boutique and Guild Shoppe will offer hand-crafted gifts, apparel, quilts, and home décor for sale; and a variety of vendors will have fabric, sewing and quilt supplies, sewing machines, and an array of other tempting treats for purchase. Our Silent Auction will feature small quilts, suitable for wall hangings, that are colorful, creative, and range from traditional to contemporary. Please visit our website, www.ashequilters.org, and click on Quilt Fair.

Financial Support

ON THE SAME PAGE is funded with grants, generous donations by Page Turners and funding from corporations and agencies including SkyLine Membership Corporation, Ashe County government, the West Jefferson TDA, the Friends of the Ashe County Library, and Caddell Communications.

The ON THE SAME PAGE coordinating committee is grateful for these indications of the community’s interest and support.