Call Us: 508-441-4622

The Write Moves in New Bedford


“I was chatting with Alison Wells about putting a poetry event on in April and I had an idea of maybe trying to get one going on the Saturday evening of the bookfest. I was thinking we could try to make it a featured … after-event type thing…”  Nick LeBlanc e-mailed me this week. And, because of that and so many other elements of the New Bedford Bookfest coming together, we here at Groundwork! were doing high-fives this week.

Because that’s just the kind of creative collaboration we love – and the way this spring’s New Bedford Bookfest is coming together is exactly what we envisioned when myself, Sarah Athanas and Dena Haden founded the bookfest last year at Groundwork!

New Bedford Bookfest

New Bedford Bookfest is a showcase for the writing talent that resides in our region. It’s also designed to burnish New Bedford’s identity as a regional hub. And the agenda for the April 2017 bookfest reflects both of those ideas.

On Saturday, April 22 and Sunday, April 23, writers and readers from throughout the area will make Groundwork! and the City of New Bedford their home for the weekend. It’s a two-day celebration of what makes this area unique in the nation.

New Bedford Bookfest has grown in ambition and deepened its appeal this year, we believe. There will of course be dozens of authors in attendance – some returning, many new – offering their books for sale.

Cinematic Treasures

But we’ve also broadened our reach and scheduled some eclectic special events during the bookfest which propels it into the future. Like the appearance of photographer and writer Matt Lambros – who has traveled the nation documenting America’s former movie palaces like our own abandoned Orpheum Theater for his book, After the Final Curtain. Matt will discuss his observations of these historic buildings during a presentation on Saturday, April 22 at 1:30pm.

The Rise and Fall of the American Movie Theater is book-ended by two great events courtesy of New Bedford’s own Spinner Publications. At 11:30am on Saturday, Spinner’s Joe Thomas will present a slide-show culled from their photographs in their archives featuring New Bedford’s own historic theaters and entertainment venues.

Blue Collars & Autopsies

At 3:15pm, Spinner Publications’ newest author, Catherine McLaughlin will read from her novel, Blue Collars – a rumination on growing up in a New Bedford dominated by mills and textiles.

And on Sunday, we’re pleased to spotlight two authors poised to take the national stage. From Colorado, Courtney E. Morgan will travel to New Bedford to read from her The Seven Autopsies of Nora Hanneman, which is a provocative look at female sexuality.

Ruthless River with Lauren Daley

Finally, BookLovers columnist Lauren Daley of The Standard-Times newspaper has personally selected debut author Holly FitzGerald for a special Question and Answer talk to begin at 1:30pm. FitzGerald’s Ruthless River: Love and Survival by Raft on the Amazon’s Relentless Madre de Dios is garnering stunning advance reviews ahead of its May, 2017 publication date.

Michael Palin, author of Traveling to Work, writes of Ruthless River: One of the great survival tales. An almost unbearable story told with a physical and emotional intensity that draws the reader in, not just as witness, but as virtual participant. It’s an exhausting, painful, inspiring read.”

I plan to be as relentless as the Madre de Dios promoting the New Bedford Bookfest. Because the talented writers involved deserve it – and because our city demands it. In this and so many other areas of achievement, we here at Groundwork! see a city hitting hyper-drive.

Proof of the power being unleashed in New Bedford can be found in the creative collaborations springing to life like the one that opened this blog post. You can help; share this with the BookLovers among your friends and followers on Facebook and elsewhere. Yeah – we’re interested building on success and embracing as many people as possible. Because it’s not about us – it’s about All of Us together.

  • Follow New Bedford Bookfest news and read author bios at and Facebook/NewBedfordNow. The New Bedford Bookfest takes place at Groundwork!, 1213 Purchase Street, on Sat. April, 22 and Sunday, April 23. It is free and open to the public from 11:00am to 4:00pm each day. Special appearances by Matt Lambros and Lauren Daley are ticketed and you can purchase them by clicking on their names. The NB Bookfest after-event at Alison Wells Fine Art Studio (106 William Street) begins at 6:00pm.
Steven Froias