Book Lovers, This Event Is for You

The Delaware Festival of Words will be held at John Dickinson High School on Feb. 16.

Registration is open for Delaware’s biggest literary event of the year—the 17th annual Delaware Festival of Words, at John Dickinson High School in Wilmington on Feb. 16. The festival is presented by the Delaware Library Association to encourage a love of reading and writing in young adults by introducing them to diverse authors and ideas. It is free to middle and high school students, teachers and librarians, as well as public school librarians.

The program will feature a performance by The Peace Poets, a Bronx-based collective of artists who celebrate, examine and advocate for life through music and poetry, and a keynote address on “Love, Listening, and the Art of Storytelling” by Brendan Kiely, author of the New York Times bestselling “All American Boys” (with Jason Reynolds), “The Last True Love Story” and “The Gospel of Winter.” Kiely’s work has received a Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award, the Walter Dean Myers Award, the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award and was selected as one of the American Library Association’s Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults.

Two breakout sessions will give participants a choice of several workshops and presentations, including: “Writing Your Way Out of a Paper Bag,” a fun, interactive activity with Delaware-based author Lara Deloza; “See and Be Seen,” a conversation about fighting LGBTQ invisibility in life and books with acclaimed authors Adam Silvera and Maggie Thrash;  Reaching “THE END” (rr, “So you want to write a novel?”), in which debut authors Meghan Rogers (“Crossing the Line”), Julie Eshbaugh (“Ivory and Bone”) and Isabel Bandeira (“Bookishly Ever After”) share their insights and advice on developing a successful writing process, completing a first draft, and what it takes to ready a manuscript for publication; Finding the Magic in History, in which Ronald L. Smith, author of “HooDoo and The Mesmerist,” transports his readers to unfamiliar times and exciting places (also known as history!) and shares examples of clutching-the-edge-of-your-seat moments from some of his favorite historical novels and offer some tips on writing one of your own; Love, Literature, and Writing About Resistance in a Time of Need, follow-up conversation and Q&A with keynote author Brendan Kiely.; and Poetic Inspiration, a conversation about inspiration and the writing process with The Peace Poets—Abraham Valazquez, Frantz Jerome, Enmanuel Candelario, Frank Antonio López, and Luke Nephew. 

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The festival will take place after school, from 4–8:30 p.m., with free bus transportation provided from Sussex County, and a free meal for all participants. Red Clay Consolidated School District is also arranging transportation for any school with a group attending.

To register, volunteer, or find additional information, visit

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