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Hollihock: The Write Stuff for New Bedford

hollihockOne of the unexpected occurrences that has happened since Groundwork! established itself as a co-working hub here in New Bedford is its emergence as a leader in the city’s literary scene.

Beginning last August with its participation in launching the writer’s conference, Hollihock in downtown New Bedford and through the enormously successful first-ever New Bedford Book Festival last March, Groundwork! has looked upon the literary scene as an unfolding story in the city it can help nurture and lead. That’s happened through smaller events like the city’s first poetry slam, special readings organized by its book festival and evenings like Soapbox Social, too.

As Groundwork! enters its second year, so to do the fantastic literary events it’s helped create and shape. The second New Bedford Book Festival happens on Saturday, Oct. 15 and Sunday, Oct. 16 this fall. But first, Groundwork!, and the bookfest team join forces with the Hollihock team on Friday, Aug. 26 through Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016 in downtown New Bedford for the second annual Hollihock writer’s conference.

Hollihock is a writer’s dream. The three-day conference welcomes writers in all stages of development from beginner to published professional. On their website you’ll find a full – and staggering – list of events, conferences, readings and more – plus this: Over this three-day conference, take part in discussions about the literary world of creative writing, poetry, and non-fiction; attend panels to learn tips on finding an agent and writing query letters; get your hands dirty in workshops and master classes; and hear professional writers share their work.” (VISIT THEIR WEBSITE HERE for full info and also FOLLOW THEM ON FACEBOOK here for updates.)

Hollihock was and is the dream of founder Dominic Perri, and I caught up with Dominic to get some background about this year’s edition. (Which your faithful blogger is excited to be taking part in as a panelist!)

Dominic Perri at the New Bedford Book Festival adding that essential ingredient to good writing: Coffee!

Dominic Perri at the New Bedford Book Festival adding that essential ingredient to good writing: Coffee!

Dom says that new to Hollihock this year will be incorporated, featured reading sessions for a few authors (Kristy Acevedo, Mia Siegert, Anna Noyes, and Brian Booker) who are promoting their brand new books, in addition to the other scheduled readings. “We will also have keynote speakers – Jennifer De Leon, Mary Johnson, and Christopher Boucher – scheduled for each day,” he continues.

Additionally, writers can expect a “lot more classes focused on the beginning stages of writing. We really want attendees to be writing throughout these three days,” Dom says, so a writing prompt wall be set up for attendees to contribute to or take creative inspiration from. And, to help mold that writing, a live critique session hosted by Writer’s Infusion ( – which will be videotaped – is also on the agenda. (Writers can submit their work to be considered; see the website for details.)

In a first, on Saturday, August 27, Hollihock will host a Q & A between two poet laureates, moderated by another. Patricia Gomes (New Bedford Poet Laureate) and Danielle Legros Georges (Boston Poet Laureate) will take questions from former poet laureate Everett Hoagland (the first New Bedford Poet Laureate).

“Other really great highlights are the keynotes,” Dom concludes. “Mary Johnson, author of An Unquenchable Thirst and founder of A Room of Her Own Foundation, is a wonderful speaker with an amazing story about how she worked with Mother Teresa (spoiler: It wasn’t all that great). Christopher Boucher is giving our keynote on Sunday and he has a fantastic book just out on Melville House Books called Golden Delicious. And Jennifer De Leon, who is another great writer and the current Boston Public Library Children’s Writer-in-Residence.

All keynotes will be around the topic, “What Scares You?”

What scares some writers is a dearth of support and inspiration in their everyday life for their craft and calling. But with Hollihock, the New Bedford Book Festival and all the other literary-themed events associated with Groundwork!, it’s clear that New Bedford authors have nothing to fear …but fear itself!

And have no fear, we’ll be keeping you updated about all of it…

Steven Froias