Job Announcement: Program Manager

Greensboro Bound seeks a Program  Manager who will be responsible for the management and coordination of Greensboro Bound Literary Festival and other organizational programming. We are seeking a detail-oriented individual with outstanding planning and operational management skills, strong communications skills, and the willingness and ability to work effectively with board members, volunteers, sponsors/donors, and community partners.

For more information check out the full job ad:

Authors Engaging Students: The Fall 2019 Line up

Authors Engaging Students: The Fall 2019 Line up

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 for AES updates and hear what the kids say! For now, check out this list of amazing writers and their books. Request their books from your local indie bookstore.

Tanya Zabinski–Peace, Love, Action!: Everyday Acts of Goodness from A to Z

Alicia D. Williams–Genesis Begins Again

Jo  Watson Hackl–Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe 

Kelly Starling Lyons–Going Down Home With Daddyand the Jada Jones series

Amy Reed–The Boy and Girl Who Broke the World

Jeremy Whitley–Princelessgraphic novel series and Rainbow Britegraphic novel

Matt Myers–Hum and Swish

Chris Giarrusso–G-Manseries, The G-Man Super Journal: Awesome Origins

Corrie Wang–City of Beasts

Dhonielle Clayton–The Belles

Our Resident Artists for #GreensboroBound19

Our Resident Artists for #GreensboroBound19

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 spirit and energy of the festival. Festival participants will have the opportunity to witness the artists as they work and interact with them as they conduct their projects.

In coordination with local partners in the arts—Elsewhere and the Center for Visual Artists—Greensboro Bound has selected the artists in residence for the inaugural year of the program: Burlington-based artist Hannah Barnhardt, and Greensboro-based photographer RJ Hooker.

Hannah Barnhardt is a visual artist working in illustrations, sketches, watercolor, and photographs. Her ongoing reportage project is based in the creation of live drawings. “I collect a lot of material for illustrative work from observing the world and drawing scenes like a reporter,” says Barnhart. For the festival, Barnhardt will produce large-format work that creates a real-time response to panel presentations.

RJ Hooker is a photographer whose work blends a documentary approach with close portraiture. Says Hooker, “I’m interested in amassing and displaying a record of direct, black and white portraits that speak to the diversity and humanity of Greensboro.” Hooker intends to work with as many different participants in the festival as possible, from attendees to volunteers to presenters. For his project at Greensboro Bound, Hooker will work in monochrome film and develop exposures through a traditional darkroom process.

Festival participants will have the opportunity to witness Barnhardt and Hooker at work, converse with them about their projects, and become part of their art throughout the full day of programming on Saturday, May 18. The resident artists will be working throughout the festival footprint—look for them at Scuppernong Books, the Triad Stage Cabaret, the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, the Cultural Center, the Greensboro History Museum, and the Greensboro Central Library.

Jason Reynolds is Coming to Greensboro

Jason Reynolds is Coming to Greensboro

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, April 24, at 7 p.m. in the Union Square Auditorium (124 East Gate City Blvd. in Greensboro). The 35-year-old Washington-D.C. native is on a mission to “not write boring books” and to get “book haters,” especially “book-hating boys” to read. So, when Reynolds comes town, his publisher will donate more than 500 books to a local Title 1 school, and, of course, he’ll read.

If you know about the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement, you know his name. He has twelve books to date, and he writes everything from poetry and prose, to a Marvel comic novel Miles Morales: Spider-Man. But if you’re not checking for middle grade or YA lit, especially books that reflect black communities, you may not understand all the hype. Trust me: Reynolds is a big deal. New York Times bestselling author. NAACP Image Award winner. National Book Award finalist. And author of BuzzFeed’s Best YA Book of the Year for his new novel-in-verse, Long Way Down. The book—a gripping story of a 15-year-old who wants revenge for his brother’s death—mixes family, ghosts, and gun violence in the most surreal 60-second elevator ride you’ll ever take. For that book, Publisher’s Weekly calls him “an exceptionally perceptive chronicler of what it means to be a black teen in America.” I just call him “real.”

One minute, he’s got you low-key chuckling or laughing out loud, and the next, your stomach sits in tangles, and you wanna weep—because he feels you. He gets you. Reynolds’s stories look at you, lock eyes, and linger while you shift uncomfortably in your seat, sucker punched by whatever ugly-but-oh-so-real truth his characters’ lives reveal. Characters with rough edges and soft hearts. Kids who cuss and posture. Folk, often unseen and ignored, who act hard but love even harder.

No matter the struggle, Reynolds will cut to the pain, but he’ll also unveil some joy. He unapologetically wraps his pen around black people and communities. Then, he holds us in respect and love. His stories whisper to those who feel invisible, “I see you. No, for real. I see you.” Each book is a beautifully crafted love letter to black youth. To black boys. To black girls. To black childhoods and to those who know the gift of community. For that alone, he has this reader’s gratitude and heart.

Yeah, Jason Reynolds is a big deal y’all. But news flash: he thinks you are too. So to book haters and booklovers alike, don’t miss out. He’s looking for you.

You can learn more about Jason at, and you can follow him on Twitter @JasonReynolds83.

Catching Up with GB18 Authors

Catching Up with GB18 Authors

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 ever-expanding literary landscape.

We like to celebrate the success of our Festival authors and cheer as their books make their way into the wider world reaching broader audiences, sometimes changing shape to become songs, movies, or television shows.

In the week before we announce our 2019 line-up, we thought we’d share a partial list of some of the successes of 2018 Greensboro Bound authors over the last year.

Nikki Giovanni has not slowed down, even at 76. Read this interview with her from earlier this year in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Eddie Huffman, author of John Prine: In Spite of Himself, is working on a new book about Doc Watson.

Emilia Philips’ new collection, Hemlock, was recently published by Diode Editions.

Jim Minick has an essay titled How to Make Cornbread, or Thoughts on Being an Appalachian from Pennsylvania Who Calls Virginia Home but Now Lives in Georgia in Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy from West Virginia University Press.

Wayne Johns released his debut collection of poetry, Antipsalms, from Unicorn Press.

Hal Crowther’s Freedom Fighters and Hell Raisers was published by Blair. You can read the Publishers Weekly interview with Hal here.

Jessica Jacobs‘ collection, Take Me With You, Wherever You’re Going, was published by Four Way Books.

To Those Who Were Our First Gods, by Nickole Brown, was a Rattle Chapbook Series Selection.

Ashley Lumpkin published I Hate You All Equally: A Collection of Conversations and the Bull City Slam Team was a semifinalist at the National Poetry Slam.

Steve Mitchell has been book-busking in small towns with guitarist Ben Singer and recording Cloud Diary with live music. Cloud Diary was shortlisted for the Sir Walter Raleigh Award.

Beth Macy previewed Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America at last year’s festival before it was published. Her book has gone on to be a New York Times Bestseller, The New York Times Top 5 Books of the Year, on the Chicago Tribune and Washington Post Best Books of the Year lists, and it’s been optioned for film.

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, one of our UNDOCUPoets, published a new collection, Dulce, with Northwestern University Press and has recently completed his memoir, Children of the Land

Stacy McAnulty’s SUN! One in a Billion was named a Junior Library Guild Selection.

Dan Pink’s book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing became a New York Times and Washington Post bestseller.

Carmen Maria Machado’s work was featured in Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018, Best American Essay 2018, and Best American Short Story 2018. Her debut memoir, In the Dream House, will be published by Graywolf in October. Her short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties was optioned for television by FX.


Prelude To A Festival

Prelude To A Festival

“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 North Carolina Writers’ Network event.

I’m thrilled to meet you, and I’m glad you’re #GreensboroBound.

The T.S. Eliot quote above is considered to be one of the most beautiful sentences in the English language. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. At least, that’s what the Internet says. The Internet is known to be wrong, on occasion.

The sentiment expressed in the sentence, however, beautifully captures the muffled fury of A Prelude to a Festival: the four months prior to Greensboro Bound where our organizing machines quietly churn to deliver what will become four days of free programming during May 16-19, 2019.

Things may look still to you, but I assure you, things are anything but.

To plan a literary festival is a frenzy, at times. A joy! A clumsy dance! After all, we’re writers. We don’t know much about dancing.

To make a festival happen, it requires a troupe of donors, volunteers, community partners (like UNCG University Libraries), the City of Greensboro, lovers of cheese straws (more on that in a minute), an independent bookstore (Scuppernong Books), authors and readers who are enthusiastic to attend.

To make a festival happen takes blind faith, dumb luck, and nine months of honest work.

In the Beginning…

The very first Greensboro Bound meeting occurred in late 2017 over cheese straws and wine. A group of dedicated folks gathered and issued two very important edicts:

• Greensboro was getting a literary festival, dammit!
• Cheese Straws would henceforth be the official food of said festival.

(Perhaps the reader is unfamiliar with the Southern Cheese Straw. Again, the Internet offers its wisdom.)

A nonprofit, Greensboro Literary Organization (GLO) was formed. In less than nine months, we raised more than $120,000 and gathered together 80 authors, 5000 readers, and a few llamas for the May festival. Just so you know, a llama pooped in the library, much to the delight of the children. Every author received homemade Cheese Straws.

At Greensboro Bound, we take our edicts very seriously.

In the Fall of 2018, we curated a series, Immigration Stories, partially funded by support from the NC Humanities Council.  Another Greensboro Bound series, This Is Your Country On Drugs, featured Beth Macy, who also spoke during the 2018 festival. Greensboro Bound’s Authors Engaging Students program put authors in front of almost 6000 public school students in Guilford County, and we donated 500 books to classrooms and elementary school libraries. 

Listen, we weren’t kidding when we first huddled over cheese straws and declared that we wanted to organize literary stuff.

And now…

#GreensboroBound19 is happening. The official author reveal will drop during the first week in March. What I can share now: Zadie Smith is scheduled to deliver the Saturday night Keynote Address. Her presence at the festival is in partnership with the University of North Carolina Greensboro Libraries. Fred Chappell will perform with puppets, and young readers will enjoy interactive programming with Children and Young Adult authors.

As we enter our sophomore festival year, it’s time to introduce the motley assortment of writers and community-based individuals behind Greensboro Bound.

Author Hospitality and Green Room
• Ashley Sharkey | Greensboro Literary Organization Board
•Dabney Sanders | Greensboro Literary Organization Board | Project Manager at Downtown Greenway (Dabney is the maker of cheese straws, by the way.)

Author Engagement and Adult Programming Committee
• Dr. Gale Greenlee | Scholar on Black and Latinx girlhood and social change in Kids/YA literature
• Steve Mitchell | Author | Bookseller & Co-owner of Scuppernong Books
• Julia Ridley Smith | Author | University of North Carolina – Greensboro

Children and YA Programming Committee
• Cathy Bentsen | Retired Media Specialist with the Guilford County Public Schools
• Steve Colyer | Greensboro Literary Organization Board Member
• Dr. Gale Greenlee | Scholar on Black and Latinx girlhood and social change in Kids/YA literature
• Shannon Purdy Jones | Mom to Penny and Dominique | Bookseller at Scuppernong Books

Fundraising and Donation Relations
• Ashley Sharkey | Greensboro Literary Organization Board Member
• Cheryl Kersky | Experienced Fundraiser
• Dabney Sanders | Greensboro Literary Organization Board | Project Manager at Downtown Greenway
• Ellen Fisher | Children’s Author | Greensboro Bound’s Author Engaging Students Program
• Steve Colyer | Greensboro Literary Organization Board Member

Location Committee
• Glenn Perkins | Curator of Community History | Greensboro History Museum
• Andrew Saulters | Author | Owner & Publisher at Unicorn Press
• Marcia Woodward | Volunteer Extraordinaire for all sorts of Greensboro events

Vendor Liaison
• Wilson Lester | Greensboro Literary Organization Board Member | Executive Director of the Greensboro Community Development Fund

Volunteer Coordinator
• Paula Pierce | Board of Directors of Downtown Greensboro Incorporated

Prelude to Magic

I recall a subtle moment during last year’s festival. It was Saturday night when it felt too late to be called evening, but it wasn’t quite ready to become morning. The air, humid. A drizzle had colored the streets with a metallic sheen. A festival author stood on a Greensboro sidewalk and open her arms wide before she bellowed:

“I declare this city to be something grand!”

She put her arms down, hugged me, then said, “I love Greensboro!”
Her enthusiasm captured what many at Greensboro Bound felt during the festival weekend: the air seemed somehow changed, like the presence of writers had altered the cosmic alignment of downtown.

The volunteers listed above, as well as many others not yet named, will again turn downtown into something otherworldly during that third weekend in May. We hope to organize four days full of literary wonderment and awe. We hope that you, the reader, will be part of the magic.

Here’s to all the cheese straws we could possible eat between now and then.

See you soon.

Here’s some authors and audience members from last year: Carmen Maria Machado, Dan Pink, Nikki Giovanni, Lee Smith, audience members and lunchtime opera.