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Bestselling Novelist Kostova to Appear at CityLit Festival


Rowell, Lipsyte, and Plumly Among Other Literary Stars, Emerging Writers, and Favorite Programs at Seventh Annual Celebration of Literature

Bestselling author Elizabeth Kostova comes to Baltimore on April 17 as part of the seventh annual CityLit Festival. Dubbed "a can't miss event on the city's cultural scene," the free day-long festival is presented by CityLit Project and Enoch Pratt Free Library.

Kostova, best known for her smash debut The Historian, returns to the New York Times Bestsellers List with The Swan Thieves. The novel follows a psychiatrist/painter and his new patient, who has tried to attack a canvas in the National Gallery of Art. The psychiatrist becomes increasingly obsessed with understanding what drove the man to attempt violence, but he isn't talking although he keeps drawing the same beautiful woman. The story weaves from present day to the 19th century on its way to solving the mystery.  Kostova was most recently featured on NPR and in the current issue of Poets & Writers magazine, which highlghits her fiction seminar in Bulgaria.

Also in latest P&W, novelist Sam Lipsyte is profiled.  Lipsyte's newest release, The Ask, has garnered rave reviews including a starred review in Publishers Weekly ("in its merciless assault on the duel between privilege and expectation, it arrives at a rare articulation of empire in decline").  Lipsyte will appear as part of the 510 Reading Series program during the festival.  New Maryland Poet Laureate Stanley Plumly makes his first CityLit Festival appearance.  Plumly's latest collection, Old Heart, was a finalist for the National Book Award.  He'll be joined by Laura Shovan, winner of the first Harriss Poetry Prize for her chapbook Mountain, Log, Salt, and Stone. Actress, Daytime Emmy Award nominee, and NAACP Image Award winner Victoria Rowell debuts her first novel, Secrets of a Soap Opera Diva.

Returning favorite programs include Poet's Ink workshops, Poetry by Place readings, the Maryland Humanities Council's "Letters About Literature" ceremony, and the ever-popular busting Literary Marketplace.

The free festival takes place from 10am until 5pm on Saturday, April 17, at the Central Library, 400 Cathedral Street.



Central Hall

10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Literary Marketplace: Browse and talk with dozens of literary arts exhibitors and authors.

10:30 a.m. – Welcome by Gregg Wilhelm, Executive Director, CityLit Project.

12:30 - 2 p.m. – Poetry by Place: Em Sea Water hosts a cavalcade of poets from Baltimore venues where the spoken word can be heard.

1 – 3 p.m. – Poets’ Ink Workshop

Meet one-on-one with poets/editors from Maryland State Poetry & Literary Society. Bring two copies of a poem you’ve written.

3 p.m. – Poets’ Ink Reading

Second Floor Gallery

Space, Swords and Dinosaurs: The Creation of Art for Children’s Books, an exhibit of the work of artist and illustrator Patrick O’Brien.

11 a.m. – Patrick O’Brien talks with kids of all ages about how he researches, writes, and illustrates his children’s books.

Poe Room

11 a.m. –  Poetry Readings by Ron Egatz (Beneath Stars Long Extinct), John Murillo (Up Jump the Boogie), Paul Nelson (A Time Before Slaughter), January G. O’Neil (Underlife), and Shelly Puhak (Stalin in Aruba). Hosted by Reginald Harris.

12:30 p.m. – New and Novel: a conversation with Masha Hamilton (31 Hours) and Thrity Umrigar (The Weight of Heaven). Hosted by Carol Maccini.

1:30 p.m. – Reading by Maryland State Poet Laureate Stanley Plumly and Laura Shovan, winner of the Clarinda Harriss Poetry Prize. Hosted by Michael Salcman.

School and Student Services (Former Maryland Room)

11 a.m. – Design Your Life, with Ellen Lupton, professor at Maryland Institute College of Art and author of Design Your Life: The Pleasures and Perils of Everyday Things.

12 Noon – “The Kid’s Got Great Stuff!” a sports conversation with Quinn Cotter (Playing Time: What Kids Really Think About Kids’ Sports) and Tim Wendel (High Heat: The Secret History of the Fastball and the Improbable Search for the Fastest Pitcher of All Time).

1 p.m. – Married … with Writer. Two married couples, four writers, talk about the writing life at home. Ned Balbo and Jane Satterfield and Sam Schmidt and Virginia Crawford.  Hosted by Reginald Harris.

2 p.m. – Roots of Steel. Deborah Rudacille talks about her book, Roots of Steel: Boom and Bust in an American Mill Town. 

Fine Arts Department

11 a.m. – D.I.Y. Comics, Zines, and Chapbooks. The Urbanite’s Marianne Amoss talks with Neal Shaffer, Pat Tandy, and Christopher Casamassima.

Noon – City Sages: Baltimore. Readings by local writers who contributed to the anthology edited by Jen Michalski:  Rafael Alvarez, Maud Casey, Michael Downs, Jane Satterfield, Rosalia Scalia, and Ron Tanner. Hosted by Dave Rosenthal and Nancy Knight, “Read Street” columnists, the Baltimore Sun.

1:30 p.m. – New Fiction from the 510 Reading Series: Geoff Becker (Hot Springs), Andy Devine (Words), Dawn Raffel (Further Adventures in the Restless Universe), and Sam Lipsyte (The Ask). Hosted by Michael Kimball and Jen Michalski.

Student Express

Noon – 2 p.m. – LIVE recording of the IndieBookMan Show. Indie bookseller and publishing champ Brad Grochowski brings his popular Internet radio show out of the studio: join special guests, talk shop, and find out what it takes to be an indie smash.

Wheeler Auditorium

10:30 a.m. – Letters About Literature Awards Ceremony.  Meet the Maryland winners in this national essay program for students in grades 4-12, sponsored by the Maryland Center for the Book at the Maryland Humanities Council.

12:30 p.m.  – It’s Mysterious: a conversation with mystery writers Alafair Burke (212: A Novel) and Andrew Gross (Reckless). Hosted by Kathy Harig, Mystery Loves Company Bookstore.

1:30 p.m. – Victoria Rowell, actress, NAACP Image Award winner, and author of The Women Who Raised Me, talks about her new novel, Secrets of a Soap Opera Diva.

3 p.m. – Elizabeth Kostova, author of The Historian, reads from her new novel, The Swan Thieves.


Authors, poets, self-published writers, literary magazines, small presses, literary arts organizations are invited to showcase their work for FREE all day at the Literary Marketplace. To reserve a space, email

CityLit Festival receives support from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Baltimore Office of Promotion and The Arts.  Additional financial and technical support is provided by Johns Hopkins University's Master of Arts in Writing program and BDL Communications.


Kostova photo: Deborah Feingold

Download CityLit Festival brochure by clicking on link to PDF below:

Click here to download PDF

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