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Authors set to gather in the Boro

Statesboro: The Write Place festival this week

Authors set to gather in the Boro

Authors set to gather in the Boro

Statesboro’s soon-to-be-published tee...


From a rising star to a Songwriters Hall of Famer, the six authors of this year’s Statesboro: The Write Place festival will turn the Emma Kelly Theater into a national stage or writing talent. 
The author showcase, scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, includes  includes readings by Statesboro’s soon-to-be-published teen writer Maya Van Wagenen and Grammy Award-winning songwriter Tony Arata. 
Van Wagenen, who just inked contracts for two books and a DreamWorks movie, will give her first public reading. “Popular: Vintage Wisdom for the Modern Geek” won’t be published until April, but the world is already buzzing from stories in Time, Vanity Fair, Parade magazine and USA Today.
When Van Wagenen was living in Brownsville, Texas, she decided to follow the advice from a 1950s etiquette book to help her make friends. She tested tips from “wear pearls” to “treat everyone the same,” and the journal she kept became a memoir. Details of the book are under wraps, but the publisher calls it “touchingly honest, candidly hysterical” and “a thoroughly contemporary example of kindness and self-confidence.”  
Tony Arata, a Georgia Southern University alumnus, is best known by the Nashville legends who record the songs he’s penned. They include Randy Travis, Bonnie Raitt, Patty Loveless and Garth Brooks, whose signature song, “The Dance,” is an Arata original named Song of  the Year by the Academy of Country Music. Arata’s artistic talents will be showcased again at a concert at the Emma Kelly Theater at 7 p.m. Friday and at a Songwriting Workshop on at 8:30 a.m. Saturday in the Statesboro Public Library.  
Four more distinguished regional authors will also be honored and share readings at The Write Place. Sarah Domet is author of “90 Days to Your Novel” and her work has been seen in Talking Writing, New Delta Review, Cincinnati Review And other publications. She is a member of the GSU writing and linguistics faculty.
Christina Olson, an award-winning poet, has been featured in Atticus Review, Blue Earth Review and The Southern Review, and is the author of “Before I Came Home Naked.” She also is a member of the university’s writing and linguistics faculty.
Jordan Fennell is fiction editor of Clapboard House literary journal. The Georgia Southern graduate has authored several short stories, including “Baptism” and “If You Shoot Them Right, You Don’t Have to Hear Them Scream.”  
Zachary Bush is the author of three collections of poetry: “The Silence of Sickness,” “At Swan Decapitation” and “Angles of Disorder.” He, too, is a member of the GSU writing and linguistics faculty.
The author reading is the centerpiece of a week of Write Place events that celebrates the region’s best-known and emerging authors, and invites all comers to pursue their own writing aspirations. Venues across the city will host events between Monday and Saturday. 
Ogeechee Technical College kicks off the week with Ed Spruill, a motivational speaker and author, on Monday at 1:15 p.m. and 3 p.m. He has written a series of children’s books, including “Bearilla the Bully Behaved” and “Nigel Learns to Give.” Students and the public are also invited to visit campus to “free write,” and students can submit their work for OTC’s spring writing anthology.
Friends of the Statesboro Library is sponsoring two writer’s workshops on Saturday at the library. In addition to Arata’s Songwriting Workshop, Damon Lee Fowler, the author of six critically acclaimed cookbooks and featured food writer for the Savannah Morning News, will lead a cookbook writing workshop at 10 a.m. Workshops are free, but reservations are required and can be made by calling the library or visiting its website.
Special events for the area’s youngest readers are an addition to this year’s Write Place, hosted by the Statesboro Regional Library. Teens are invited to meet Russ Lanier, the author of “The Caterpillar Cowboy” at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Puppetry will bring to life Verdery Kennedy’s “The Potato Bug Race” for Family Story Time at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, and Head Start Story Time at 9:45 a.m. Thursday.
The Write Place festival is a partnership of Georgia Southern University’s Department of Writing and Linguistics, Statesboro Magazine, the Averitt Center for the Arts, Friends of the Statesboro Library, Ogeechee Technical College, and the Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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