In its fifth year the Ithaca Literary Festival, Spring Writes, presents a weekend full of workshops, readings, and performances.

Check the calendar for the full schedule of activities. Here’s a few highlights to entice to you to one of the dozen venues downtown to participate in the festivities. There are more than 30 events to inspire you. Sponsored by the Community Arts Partnership in Tompkins County, all events are free and open to the public.Tulips

Friday, May 2, 5:30pm-7:00pm at Buffalo Street Books

The Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts presents an all-local group of past and current Saltonstall Fellows. They include Sarah Jefferis (2014 Non-fiction), Fran Markover (2010 Poetry), and Bob Proehl (2013 Fiction).

Saturday May 3, 10am-11:45am at Buffalo Street Books

If you’ve ever heard the expression “Write what you know” and thought, “Hey, I don’t know anything worth writing about,” this is for you! Especially geared to teens with an interest in storytelling, three local fiction writers — Anne Mazer, Shawn Goodman, and Rob Costello — will lead a fun and freewheeling workshop designed to introduce some of the basic writing tools that can help any writer spin a good story out of practically anything. Pen, paper, and imagination are all that’s required! * Anne Mazer is the author of 45 books for young readers: The Salamander Room, The Oxboy, The Amazing Days of Abby Hayes series and more. * Shawn Goodman is the award-winning author of the Young Adult novels, Kindness for Weakness, and Something Like Hope. * Rob Costello has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. He’s hard at work on his first YA novel, The Sheltering Sea.

Saturday May 3, 1:00pm-2:15pm at Buffalo Street Books  

Featuring new works from Poet Laureate of Tompkins County Tish Pearlman, hosting event and reading from her new poetry collection Afterlife, Jeanne Mackin reading from new historical novel The Beautiful American, Alice Lichtenstein reading from her new novel Liberty, Lisa Harris reading from her new poetry collection Entry Points, Jaime Warburton reading new poetry, and Steve Poleskie reading from his latest novel Foozler Runs.

Saturday May 3, 2:00pm-2:45pm, Tompkins Public Library, Borg Warner Room

Facilitated by local writer, Casey Martinson, this panel discussion is perfect for aspiring and established writers who are looking to make the leap into an M.F.A. program–or another advanced degree in creative writing. Our panelists include Iowa Writer’s Workshop graduate Kate Klein, Warren Wilson graduate Steve Weed, and Jacob White, who holds both an MA (SUNY Binghamton) and a PhD (University of Houston) in creative writing. We’ll talk about the decision making process leading up to grad school, the many options available, expectations versus experience, and the writing life post-graduation.

This is just the tip of the Ithaca literary iceberg. Let’s hope it doesn’t snow!Snow on fir, winter NY 2013

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