Greensboro Bound – Literary Festival
May 14-17, 2020
Connecting readers of all ages with authors through FREE programming year-round, in three ways:
Authors Engaging Students
Greensboro Bound Literary (GB) believes in getting authors in front of students. Authors Engaging Students (AES) makes that happen. Many school’s library media specialists have no time or money to schedule an author visit. AES recruits authors, makes travel arrangements and hosts the authors. Greensboro Bound pays the author fees and donates 10 copies of the authors’ books for each school visit.
Greensboro Bound organizers initially focused on creating a vibrant, joyful, stimulating and fun festival that was an exceptional experience for readers, writers, and event attendees. And almost immediately, we realized we wanted to do this all-year-round!
Indeed, the first part of the mission of the Greensboro Literary Organization (the 501(c)(3) formed to organize, plan and produce Greensboro Bound: A Literary Festival, is: “To bring readers and writers together throughout the year.”
Annual May Festival
Greensboro Bound: A Literary Festival takes place in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina, annually, during mid-May. Our literary festival was the seed from which all Greensboro Bound programming stems.
The Festival, 4 days in May, brings together readers and writers of all ages. Our 2018 and 2019 Festivals were a reflection of community engagement, commitment and the efforts of more than 200 volunteers.
Greensboro Bound: A Literary Festival began when a group of readers, writers, students, academics and authors came together to create a literary event for Guilford County.
The idea of such an event was birthed when Steve Colyer walked into Scuppernong Books in late 2016 and said, “Do you think Greensboro could create a book festival!?” Scuppernong owners, Brian Lampkin, Steve Mitchell, Deb and Dave White are willing to entertain any impossible idea. Yet, it turned out the idea wasn’t that impossible.
The bookstore became a focal point for engaging people in the Greensboro reading community, and by February 12, 2017, the first steering committee meeting came together on a Sunday evening. During the winter and spring of 2017, the steering committee met regularly, and on March 16, The Greensboro Literary Organization filed for non-profit status, which was granted on July 24, 2017.
In the meantime, teams formed to make the idea come to life. We talked to people who ran book festivals in Miami, Atlanta, Farmville and Charlottesville, Virginia, Winston – Salem and other locations in North Carolina. We generated a survey to gather suggestions concerning authors and programming from the wider Greensboro community. We also began to think about programming throughout the year.
In May of 2017, Greensboro Bound held it first festival, headlined by sold-out closing session with Nikki Giovanni at NC A&T State University. In May of 2018, we did it again, headlined by Zadie Smith and Ani DiFranco with Rhiannon Giddens. Plans are apace for May 14 – 17, 2020, when Greensboro Bound will host its third festival in downtown Greensboro.
In short, Greensboro Bound is the result of more than 200 volunteers, writers, sponsors and funders coming together to bring the joy of meeting authors, learning, and reading to the community.
Greensboro Bound programs are a result of more than 200 volunteers complemented by a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, the Greensboro Literary Organization.
The mission of Greensboro Literary Organization is:
- To bring readers and writers together throughout the year
- Get authors in front of students and books to those students
- Coordinate Greensboro Bound: A Literary Festival
- Promote inclusivity.
The most significant project of the Greensboro Literary Organization is our annual street festival in May, Greensboro Bound: A Literary Festival. The mission of our festival follows.
Greensboro Bound: A Literary Festival celebrates diverse voices from around the world, honors North Carolina’s long and varied literary traditions, and welcomes an inclusive community of readers from Greensboro and beyond.
Greensboro Bound: A Literary Festival will bring outstanding writers of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, young-adult and children’s books to our community and into our schools. It will encourage committed readers to further engage with literature and spark new enthusiasm for reading among beginners. By promoting reading and civil public discussion, the Festival will bridge social and cultural divides across our city and region. Greensboro Bound will foster an understanding of writing as a process that allows free expression, deepens critical thought, and helps sustain a culture of inquiry and delight that is open to all
President – Brian E. Lampkin; Co-Owner, Scuppernong Books
Secretary – Stephen W. Colyer
Treasurer – Helen A. Smits, Sales Representative, Southern Territory Associates
Board Advisor – Lindsey Cockburn, Student
Director – Vicki Coleman, Dean, Bluford Library, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
Director – Wayne Johns, Faculty, Greensboro College
Director – Paula Pierce
Director – Dabney Sanders, Project Manager, Downtown Greenway, Action Greensboro
Director – Ashley Sharkey, Mt. Pisgah Weekday School
Director – Andrew Saulters, Unicorn Press
See how Greensboro Bound benefits the Greater Greensboro Community and how your support makes a difference!
Check the latest news
We are in our third year of our AES Program, and we are delighted and grateful for the authors who have agreed to go into our local schools and work with students. Greensboro Bound donates copies of the authors’ books to the schools’ library. Stay tuned...
In its second year, Greensboro Bound has launched a Resident Artists program designed to bring together literature and visual arts. Greensboro Bound’s resident artists will circulate among festival participants on Saturday, May 18, creating work that reflects the...
written by Gale Greenlee The countdown continues to Greensboro Bound, May 16-19. And this week, we’re hosting someone special. Jason Reynolds, author of the YA novel, When I Was the Greatest and the middle grade series Ghost, will take the mic Wednesday,...
Here at Greensboro Bound, we take pleasure in bringing you, not only authors you've read and loved, but writers you will love WHEN you read. Sometimes, we showcase emerging or underrepresented authors because we want to encourage a sense of adventure and an...
"At the still point, there the dance is." —T. S. Eliot I haven’t introduced myself yet. I’m Deonna Kelli Sayed, the Festival Coordinator for Greensboro Bound. You may have seen me around downtown, or at the 2018 TEDx Greensboro, or behind the registration desk at a...
First Draft is a Greensboro Bound Open Mic that features diverse "curated readers" with an opportunity for others to read works-in-progress. Perfection is not required or even preferred. The goal is to bring writers together who otherwise might not be in the same...
Newcomers School Presentation Sunday, November 4, 3pm Scuppernong Books In 2017, students from the Doris Henderson Newcomers School created two volumes of poetry, stories, and artwork to document their immigrant experience. These...
Community Conversation with Local Refugees and Immigrants Sunday, November 25 at 4pm Congregational United Church of Christ Refugees and Immigrants in our community tell their own stories of why and how they came to America and their experience of our...
May-Lee Chai Useful Phrases for Immigrants: Stories Thursday, November 1 at 7pm Scuppernong Books With luminous prose and sharp-eyed observations, Chai reveals her characters’ hopes and fears, and our own: a grieving historian seeking solace...
Authors Engaging Students introduces thousands of kids to reading and writing
We worry that children can’t see futures for themselves, that they can’t imagine a change in their circumstances. But … aspiration is born the moment a child can imagine something to be true for him or herself. [Meeting] authors in the flesh helps kids see how the power of words and story – including their own – works in this world. It opens the imagination. What if? What if that could be me?”
Possibilities – that’s what we want for our children. When authors discuss their lives and books, students hear stories of perseverance, creativity and opportunity. They hear of the 20 rejections an author received before their first book was published. They see the first story an author had “published” in third grade. Children’s lives are opened to new worlds when they meet the people that create unique characters and places. As a second grade girl at Ceasar Cone Elementary announced: “Before today I never knew I could be an author. Now I know I can be an author, too!”
Greensboro Bound (GB) believes in getting authors in front of students. Authors Engaging Students (AES) makes that happen. Many school’s library media specialists have no time or money to schedule an author visit. AES recruits authors, makes travel arrangements and hosts the authors. Greensboro Bound pays the author fees and donates 10 copies of the authors’ books for each school visit.
In calendar 2018, AES’ first full year, 13 authors made 28 presentations reaching 5585 students, with 61% of the students coming from Title 1 schools. More than 500 books were donated to schools.
The 2019 AES goal is to reach 10,500 students by end-of-calendar year. AES grew 179% year-over-year (January – to June 2018 vs. January to June 2019). Twenty of 32 schools were Title 1 and 77% of the students were from Title 1 schools. More than 1000 books have been given to schools.
|Calendar Year||Author Visits||# of Students||Title 1 Schools||Books Given|
|2018 1st Half||13||1510||12||250|
|2018 2nd Half||15||4075||7||250|
|2019 First Half||30||4206||19||1000|
|2019 2nd Half Goal||TBD /18 in planning||6295||50% Title 1 students||500+|
Authors Engaging Students also sponsors the Guilford County Schools “Poet Laureate Program.” This 15-year-old program is led by Jennifer Worrells, Media Specialist at Grimsley High School. Some 150 students from 17 high schools received personalized feedback from a published poet on their writing.
All of the AES activity is part of a broader effort to bring students and writers together, as we hold our annual Festival in May. 2019 was our first year with an explicit focus on Children’s/Young Adult authors. During the May Festival, 18 presentations were targeted to children/young adults, with 20 authors presenting. Already, Alan Gratz is planning to come in May 2020!
Our plan is to continue to grow AES, and by 2021, include an event that brings students on school field trips to see and meet authors.
Year-round talks, workshops, discussions offered free of charge to the community
Our programs have included workshops, author presentations, and explorations of topics that provide the opportunity to “think globally and act locally.”
Authors John Hart, Wiley Cash, Kate Moore, and the children’s writers, Miranda and Baptiste Paul, (and a host of others) have been part of our year-round programs.
A partnership with the North Carolina Humanities Council lead to an 8-part series in autumn 2018, “Immigration Stories,” which explored the life of immigrants to the Triad from an array of perspectives.
2019 promises “Writers as Witness.” Presented via a partnership with PEN America and scuppernong Books, this five-part series explores the role of local journalists in today’s world.
Look at our Upcoming Events, News, Blog or our Facebook presence to get current offerings!
The Greensboro Bound Literary Festival in May attracts international authors for engaging events
Over the two festivals to-date, 177 authors have graced Greensboro, including Nikki Giovanni, Zadie Smith, Daniel Pink, Ani DiFranco,, Pulitzer and/or National Book Award Finalists (Carmen Maria Macado, Kevin Powers, and Rebecca Makkai), as well as beloved North Carolina authors, Lee Smith, Fred Chappell, and John Shelton Reed.
An array of Children’s/Young Adult (C/YA) authors bring stories and experiences to children and adults alike. 2018 saw twenty C/YA writers make 18 presentations.
Themes are explored: e.g. contemporary Appalachian writing, the LGBTQ experience, speculative fiction, the life of immigrants, social justice in today’s world.
Finally, we complement all of these marvelous presentations with puppet shows, operas for children, costume parades, artists and musical presentations.
Greensboro, North Carolina, various venues