Bookend these

This Saturday’s literary treats include Millbrook Book Festival & reading series opener at Athens Cultural Center

by @ Paul Smart
May 13, 2010 02:56 PM | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ever wonder how diverse, if not quite dispersed, our region has become? Consider this tale of two equally key literary events happening this Saturday, May 15, equidistant from our reading centers in Ulster County. One is in the Dutchess County town of Millbrook: home to the area’s horsy set, some of its oldest estates and a host of new exurban development pressures. The other is in Greene County’s Athens: a quaint collection of 19th-century riverside homes, fast becoming a bedroom community for area academics, struggling to reinvent its own commercial identity.

In Dutchess, the big event is the third annual Millbrook Book Festival, running May 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in and around the historic village’s fine old library and including the Merritt Bookstore. Highlights will range from a host of locally based children’s and young-adult authors to regional poets, a smattering of novelists and two highlight speakers: cultural author Benjamin Swett (who also happened to produce one of my favorite non-fiction works of recent years, a photo journey up Route 22 from Brooklyn to the Canadian border) and financial columnist and television personality Jane Bryant Quinn, author of Making the Most of Your Money NOW and Smart and Simple Financial Strategies for Busy People.

In Greene County, meanwhile, the Athens Cultural Center – smack-dab in the middle of the historic village that hosted some penultimate scenes in Spielberg’s recent remake of War of the Worlds – will be hosting the inaugural event of its new reading series by featuring hot younger poets Brenda Coultas and Christopher Stackhouse and fiction writer Lynne Tillman in a reading beginning at 8 p.m. Coultas is a Poetry Society of America and Academy of American Poets grant winner; Stackhouse is newly moved to Saugerties, with several edgy new works out in poetry, prose and his own drawing work; and Tillman is a novelist and short-story writer who now teaches at SUNY-Albany, fast getting known as one of the nation’s great literary institutions.

For more on the Millbrook Book Festival, visit or call (845) 594-1286. For more on the Athens Cultural Center reading series, located on Second Street in the block just west of Main Street (Route 385), visit

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