EVENT: Pennsylvania Literary Festival

The idea arose during a casual conversation between four Fayette County locals – two published authors and two television producers: Why not gather people and resources from across the state and country for a televised celebration of everything related to reading and writing?  From that chat, the Pennsylvania Literary Festival was born, and now, the building blocks are in place for a weekend-long festival, to be held at the Uniontown Mall May 30 through June 1.

The Pennsylvania Literary Festival, or #PAlitFest, as it is abbreviated by its growing group of followers on the social media Website, Twitter, will be coordinated by a team that is led by Fayette Community Television representatives Matthew Dowling and Dave Slusarick and husband-and-wife authors Jason Jack and Heidi Ruby Miller, who had the initial burst of inspiration for the event.

According to the Pennsylvania Literary Festival’s website, the gathering will seek “to engage and inform attendees concerning literary achievements, opportunities, and educational programs within the state and surrounding areas by assembling publishers, authors, libraries, schools, literary agencies, reading associations, book clubs, and the general public.”

The festival’s mission will be accomplished through author appearances and signings, readings, workshops, storytellers, and more. Fayette Community Television, a project of the Fayette Chamber of Commerce’s non-profit arm, the Redstone Foundation, will be in attendance to host two episodes of the community spotlight show “Going LIVE with FCTV,” and to record selected portions of the festival for rebroadcast.

Headlining the event will be keynote speaker John Dixon of West Chester, Pa., whose debut novel, Phoenix Island, inspired the CBS TV series Intelligence. Dixon has published over thirty stories, and formerly maintained the online magazine The Squid, which published the fiction of young writers from around the world.

Activities for children and contests for students will be an important component of the festival.

“We feel that in hosting the festival, one of our responsibilities is to advocate literacy and literature for young people… to show them that reading expands their imagination and opens them up to a whole world of ideas, and that writing is a great creative outlet that can have a profound impact on yourself and others,” Heidi Ruby Miller said.

Details about contests and competitions for area students will be available on the event Website, PAlitFest.com, in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, the event team is seeking writers, publishers, schools, libraries, and community organizations that are interested in participating in the festival, through making a presentation, operating an information table, or assisting in event planning.

A limited number of intern positions are available, offering high school and college students learning experiences related to management, marketing/outreach, and multimedia production. (Applications due: MARCH 12)

Sponsors of the festival include FASTSIGNS Uniontown, Fayette Rental Solutions, Uniontown Holiday Inn and Conference Center, and Uniontown Mall. Sponsors will be recognized at the festival, on Fayette TV broadcasts, and in the official magazine for the event. More information for individuals and businesses interested in supporting the festival is available on the event Website.

Individuals interested in serving on the event team, or becoming involved with the Pennsylvania Literary Festival in any way should send a message to Team@PAlitFest.com.
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