AU Press Releases

Annual Literary Festival offers variety of activities

Alfred University (AU) will host its annual Literary Festival Thursday, March 20-Saturday, March 22 at various locations around campus. This year’s festival will feature readings, book signings, a choral concert, and an open mic night activity. All events will be open to the public free of charge.

The festival kicks off March 20 with a reading by Fiction Writer Leah Stewart in Scholes Library from 5:30-7:30 p.m. A reception and book signing will follow. Stewart is the author of the novels “Body of a Girl,” “The Myth of You and Me,” “Husband and Wife,” and “The History of Us.” A recipient of the NEA Literature Fellowship, she directs and teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Cincinnati. 

The festival  continues Friday with a reading by Playwright and Poet Dan O’Brien, also in Scholes Library from 5:30-7:30 p.m. A reception and book signing will again follow.

O’Brien’s play, “The Body of an American,” had its European premiere in January 2014 at the Gate Theater, London, and was awarded the inaugural Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama, the PEN Center USA Award for Drama, and the L. Arnold Weissberger Award.

Previous plays by O’Brien have premiered at Second Stage Theater, Ensemble Studio Theater, Williamstown Theater Festival, Geva Theater Center, and Actors’ Theater of Louisville.

His debut poetry collection, “War Reporter,” won the 2013 Fenton Aldeburgh Prize and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, both in the United Kingdom. O’Brien lives in Los Angeles.

Also on Friday, March 21 there will be an open mic night at the Gothic Chapel from 8-10. Students, faculty, staff, and community members are invited to share their poetry, short fiction and nonfiction, and musical talents.

The Alfred Literary Festival will host a roundtable discussion and book signing by Stewart and O’Brien on Saturday, March 22 from 2-4 p.m. in the Alumni Lounge, Powell Campus Center. Students, faculty, staff, and community members are encouraged to drop and ask questions, chat informally, or get books signed.

The festival will conclude Saturday evening with a choral concert fundraiser for the Alfred Box of Books Library. The AU Chamber Singers, under the direction of Luanne Crosby, professor of voice and chorus, will present “Ballads and Blarney,” an evening of Irish songs and ballads, food and drink from the Emerald Isle from 6:30-9 in Susan Howell Hall. Tickets will be available in Powell Campus Center or the Box of Books the week of March 17; $20/person; $140/table of eight. For more information, contact Crosby at or Martha Lash at