July 24, 2017

Burlington Book Festival to feature local writers

Robin Fawcett, Champlain Valley Union High School drama teacher and Millennial Writers on Stage host, warms up the writers before last year’s event. Several local young writers have been selected to read their works at this year’s Burlington Book Festival. (Observer courtesy photo)

Robin Fawcett, Champlain Valley Union High School drama teacher and Millennial Writers on Stage host, warms up the writers before last year’s event. Several local young writers have been selected to read their works at this year’s Burlington Book Festival. (Observer courtesy photo)

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

September 19th, 2013

A Williston author and several budding writers are set to take part in this weekend’s ninth annual Burlington Book Festival.

The festival—held Sept. 20 – 22—celebrates the written word with readings, signings, panels, kids activities and special events at various Burlington locations. This year’s festival is dedicated to renowned author and writer-in-residence at Middlebury College, Julia Alvarez.


Three Williston students are set to present their work at the Millennial Writers on Stage event—a collaboration between the Young Writers Project and Vermont Public Radio in which young writers read their works on stage. The pieces are among 19 chosen from 125 submissions sent in from around the state. Two Champlain Valley Union High School students were also selected.

“This is the next generation of great writers, and these kids are amazing writers, really,” said Susan Reid, publications coordinator with the Young Writers Project. “It’s their best work and we feel it’s the best work we’ve received, too.”

Williston Central School eighth grader Alexa Kartschoke will participate for the first time,

“I was so excited,” she said, describing how she felt when she got the call letting her know her piece had been selected. “I was really surprised because I know there are a lot of great writers out there…. I’m a little nervous for it. I’m also really excited because it sounds like such a great opportunity.”

Kartschoke will read a poem entitled “Hate.”

“I’m talking about how hate always follows you around and conflicts with your decisions,” she said. “Basically, the whole message of my poem is ‘don’t hate on things.’”

Kartschoke said the idea just popped into her mind.

“When I write most poems, I don’t try and think of an idea, whatever comes first to mind, I just write it down on paper,” she said.

Kartschoke said she has always loved writing, and would keep journals when she was younger.

“It means so many things to me,” she said. “It is just something I really love to do.”

Lake Champlain Waldorf School eighth graders Olivia Pintair of Williston and Avery McLean of St. George will take the stage at the event for the second time. The two were also selected last year. Pintair and McLean were on a school camping trip and could not be reached for comment before press deadline.

Champlain Valley Union High School sophomore Erin Bundock will read her poem, “Scare Me, Life,” and CVU junior Noa Urbaitel will read a prose piece “Mystery Girl, Please Be Mine.”

Students will read their selected pieces on Sept. 21 at 2 p.m. at the Film House in the Main Street Landing for the Performing Arts Center. The readings will also be recorded by Vermont Public Radio, to be aired at a later date.

“Last year, it was one of the most popular events at the book festival,” Reid said. “It was really well attended.”


St. Michael’s College professor and Williston resident Dave Landers is set to read from and talk about his new book on Sept. 21 from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Fletcher Free Library.

The book, “I Wish He’d Taught Me How to Shave,” is a compilation of student essays from his gender studies course, “Men and Masculinities.”

Landers began teaching the course—which has grown in popularity over the years and now has a constant waiting list—12 years ago, after he and his colleagues in gender studies realized they didn’t have any courses dedicated to men’s issues.

“It’s ended up being a really wonderful experience,” he said. “There isn’t a topic that we don’t cover…For many, this is the first time they’ve been able to discuss some of these topics in that kind of environment.”

Each year, he asks his students—all seniors, evenly balanced between men and women—to write an essay about how their father influenced their view of what a man is.

“They’re very powerful,” he said. “I always knew there was something there, but I wasn’t sure what.”

Landers kept the essays for years, then began putting the book together a couple years ago. The first printing—150 books published last month by Wind Ridge Books of Vermont—sold out in six days. Chapters include essays and stories of distant fathers, fathers of LGBTQ kids, fathers and alcohol, macho fathers, wonderful fathers and fathers like no other.

“I’ve gotten amazing responses from people, which I will talk about at the (festival),” he said, noting that he has heard from a wide range of people, from teenagers to an 86-year-old woman who said she wept while reading the book and recalling some of the times she shared with her father during their “long and loving” relationship.

To order the book, visit www.windridgebooksofvt.com. For more information about the festival, visit burlingtonbookfestival.com.


  1. tcoletta says:

    almost 3 decades ago when williston started it’s development review process the public works section was pushing for a wider roadway typical for residential streets. The town adopted 30 ft widths vs 24ft. That’s 6/24 (30%) additional impervious area and runoff that needs to treated before flowing into ALLEN BROOK. The town and selectboard have indicated a lack of interest to reach out and help communties like mine that have had expired stormwater permits for more then a decade. Its always been a wait and see, well I see where this headed now.

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