First Draft – FreeREGISTER
Registering at the First Draft level gives you access to the following festival events:
Book Fair, the Adirondack Writers Showcase, Learn it from a Local: Publishing + Marketing in the Adirondacks, Book Club Meet-Up, Meet the Experts, Attendee ‘Speed Dating’, Erasure + Nature Writing Workshop with Erin Dorney, and Friday Night’s (8/19) featured event: Ayad Akhtar + Willie Perdomo (hosted by Russell Banks + Chase Twitchell)
Events may sell out, so registration is necessary

Learn more about each event by clicking on its title.
All events take place Saturday, 8/20 unless otherwise noted.

Paperback | $25

— Paperback registration gives you access to all free events, plus:

Hardcover | $90

— Hardcover registration gives you access to all free events, plus:

Rare Book | $120

— Rare Book registration gives you access to all free events, plus:


Visiting Writers Cocktail Hour – ACW – FRI – 5-6:30pm (Rare Book only)
Meet our visiting authors and festival faculty and enjoy a drink before the reading.


New York State Writers Showcase – Pendragon Theatre – FRI – 7-8:30pm
See a featured reading and conversation with the 2021-2022 New York State Writer, Ayad Akhtar and 2021-2022 New York State Poet, Willie Perdomo. The pair will be introduced by Adirondack residents and renowned authors Russell Banks and Chase Twitchell.


Writing Workshops with Visiting Faculty – SAT – 10-Noon – (Hardcover & Rare Book only)

  • Fiction Writing with Gwen E. Kirby
  • Poetry Writing with Willie Perdomo
  • Creative Nonfiction Writing with Sue Halpern
  • Comedy Writing with Greg Barris

Take a two-hour writing intensive with a member of our visiting faculty.


“Quick Write” Competition – SAT – 10-4pm (Paperback, Hardcover, and Rare Book only)
Pick up the prompt from ACW and draft a piece of writing in any genre, under 500 words, for a chance to be the festival’s Quick Write champion. Winner gets 5 minutes on stage at the Lit + Comedy Showcase to read their winning piece.


Learn it from a Local: Publishing in North Country – SAT – 11-Noon
Get the scoop on publishing in regional magazines like Adirondack Explorer, Adirondack Life, and Adirondack Review.


Kickass Book Fair – Saranac Lake Free Library – SAT – 11-5pm
Shop for books from indie presses, regional authors, and festival guests.


Adirondack Writers Showcase – SAT – 1-3pm
Hear readings by authors living here in North Country, from faculty at regional universities to emerging authors.


Erasure + Nature Writing with Erin Dorney – SAT – 1-3pm
Explore blackout poetry, erasure techniques, using nature text and natural materials with poet and visual artist, Erin Dorney.


How to Pitch 101 – SAT – 1-2pm (Hardcover & Rare Book only)
Learn how to craft a pitch from the people who read them. Our guest publishing professionals will offer answers to questions about everything from query letters, agenting, and current trends in the publishing industry.


Manuscript Consultations with Agents + Editors – SAT – 2-4pm (Hardcover & Rare Book only)
Have a one-on-one meeting with a guest publishing professional about your work. This will require sending pages before the festival so that our guests have time to engage with your work before the meeting. Those registering at the Hardcover level will be sent a detailed timeline about how and when to send their work.


Book Club Meet-Up – SAT – 1-3pm
Connect with other book clubs and book clubs members to share resources, best practices, and favorite titles.


Meet the Experts – SAT – 1-3pm
Make sure your writing rings true by getting inside information and fact-checking from a series of professionals in fields like medicine, forestry, armed forces, emergency services, and more. You can even interview teenagers about life from the next generation’s perspective.


Silvia Vasquez-Lavado Keynote + Conversation – SAT – 4-5pm (Paperback, Hardcover & Rare Book only)
Enjoy a talk from special guest, Silvia Vasquez-Lavado. She’ll also give an interview and answer audience questions. the first Peruvian woman to climb Mt. Everest, and the first openly gay woman to climb The Seven Summits (the highest mountains on each of the 7 continents). Her debut memoir, In the Shadow of the Mountain tells the story of how an early life of abuse and addiction led her to discover hiking as a method of healing. 


Anne LaBastille Memorial Writing Residency MEET-UP – SAT – 5:00-6:30pm
Past residents of ACW’s Anne LaBastille Memorial Writing Residency can gather to reconnect, meet residents of other years, and catch-up about new writing projects.


Attendee Speed Dating – SAT – 5:30-6:30pm
Expand your literary community by getting to know other festival attendees in a quick and lively ‘speed-date’ scenario.


The Howl Story Slam – The Waterhole – SAT – 7:30 – 8:30pm (Paperback, Hardcover & Rare Book only)
Cap off the festival with a raucous installment of the Howl Story Slam (a partnership with North Country Public Radio). Opening with a short stand-up set by our guest comedian and event host, Greg Barris. Tell a short, true, unscripted story onstage and maybe you’ll walk away a winner.


Visiting Faculty + Special Guests

AYAD AKHTAR is an acclaimed novelist and playwright whose work explores the immigrant experience, Muslim American identity and the world of high finance. He is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Akhtar is the author of Homeland Elegies, which Dwight Garner of the New York Times called “A beautiful novel about an American son and his immigrant father that has echoes of The Great Gatsby and that circles, with pointed intellect, the possibilities and limitations of American life.” Ayad Akhtar currently serves as president of PEN America, one of the leading defenders of free speech both here and abroad.

RUSSELL BANKS is the internationally acclaimed author of twenty-one works of fiction and non-fiction, including the novels Continental Drift, Rule of the Bone, The Book of Jamaica, Cloudsplitter, Lost Memory of Skin, and most recently, A Permanent Member of the Family, short stories, and Voyager: Travel Writings. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages. Two of his novels, Affliction and The Sweet Hereafter, were made into award-winning feature films. His essays and reviews have been published in major magazines, and he has written screenplays and poetry.

GREG BARRIS is an American Comedy Scene Darling who served as a staple in New York’s downtown stand-up scene for years and has opened for comics like Tig Notaro. A frequent Time Out New York Critic’s Pick, much loved by BrooklynVegan and hailed as “Excellent” by The New Yorker, Greg created and hosted the 20 year long-running comedy variety show “Heart of Darkness”. Greg and guitarist / visual artist Dima Drjuchin (Corrupt Autopilot) teamed up to form the Wigmaker’s Son. Together they created a Zappa-meets-Lonely Island pop fantasy comedy album, ‘Greatest Tits’ which also featured friend Reggie Watts. Greg released his debut stand-up album ‘Shame Wave’ on aspecialthing Records and will be releasing a new comedy album on the label in the near future. Greg now lives L.A. where you can find him on stages across the city and beyond.

ERIN DORNEY is an artist, writer, and former librarian based in the Adirondack Park. Her recent literary artwork and installations include: The Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Hennepin Theatre Trust, the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, and Susquehanna Art Museum. Dorney has been in-residence at Soaring Gardens Artists’ Retreat (Laceyville, PA), Hewnoaks (Lovell, ME), Tofte Lake Center (Ely, MN), Anne LaBastille Memorial Writers Residency (Twitchell Lake, NY), and Spruceton Inn (West Kill, NY). Her full-length collection “I Am Not Famous Anymore: Poems after Shia LaBeouf” was published by Mason Jar Press in 2018. She is the co-founder of Fear No Lit. www.erindorney.com


SUE HALPERN lives in the Green Mountains of Vermont where she writes books and articles, consorts with her husband, the writer and activist Bill McKibben, looks forward to visits from their wonderful daughter Sophie, plays with their remarkably enthusiastic dog, and introduces Middlebury College students to digital audio storytelling. She is a Guggenheim Fellow and Rhodes Scholar with a doctorate from Oxford, the author of a book that was made into an Emmy-nominated film as well as six others that weren’t, one-half of a therapy dog team, a scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College, and a major supporter of the ice cream industry.

GWEN E. KIRBY’S debut collection Shit Cassandra Saw is available from Penguin Books wherever books are sold. She hails from San Diego and is a proud graduate of Carleton College. She has an MFA from Johns Hopkins University and a PhD from the University of Cincinnati. Currently, she is the Associate Director of Programs and Finance for the Sewanee Writers’ Conference at the University of the South, where she also teaches creative writing. Kirby’s stories appear or are forthcoming in One Story, Tin HouseGuernica, Mississippi ReviewNinth LetterBlackbirdSmokeLong Quarterly, and elsewhere. Guest editor Aimee Bender selected her story “Shit Cassandra Saw . . .” for Best Small Fictions 2018 and it also appears in the 2018 Wigleaf Top 50. Her story “Midwestern Girl Is Tired of Appearing in Your Short Stories” won the 2017 DISQUIET Literary Prize for Fiction.

WILLIE PERDOMO is a prize-winning poet and children’s book author who examines and celebrates the Nuyorican and Afro-Latino experience, primarily in his home neighborhood of Spanish Harlem. His poetry collections include Where a Nickel Costs a Dime (1996), a finalist for the Poetry Society of America Norma Farber First Book Award; Smoking Lovely (2004, revised 2021), winner of the PEN/Open Book Award; The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon (2014), a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, and The Crazy Bunch (2019), which chronicles a weekend in the life of a group of East Harlem friends in the 1990s. Perdomo is also the co-editor of a recent anthology, Latínext (2020), a celebration of work by emerging Latinx poets who represent an array of nationalities, genders, sexualities, races, and writing styles. A core faculty member at VONA/Voices of our Nation Writing Workshop, he teaches at Phillips Exeter Academy.

CHASE TWICHELL work has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Artists Foundation, and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Her work received a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The Snow Watcher won the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America. She was awarded a Smart Family Foundation Award in 2004 for poems published in The Yale Review. In 2010, she received an honorary doctorate from St. Lawrence University. Her most recent book, Horses Where the Answers Should Have Been: New and Selected Poems, won both the Kingsley Tufts Award from Claremont Graduate University and the Balcones Poetry Prize. A new book, Things as It Is, was published by Copper Canyon in the fall of 2018.

SILVIA VASQUEZ-LAVADO was born and raised in Lima, Peru as a child she endured a period of sexual violence that would haunt her for much of her adult life. Nearly 30 years later, while attending a meditation retreat in Peru, she had a vision of reconnecting to her inner child and the two of them walking in a valley surrounded by mountains. This propelled her to journey through the Himalayas and reach the base of Mount Everest. It was a revelation –“The shadow of the mountain was the only thing big enough to swallow my shadow.” Silvia developed a sense of resilience, strength, compassion – and finally rediscovered her courage.


Refund Policy: Paperback, Hardcover, and Rare Book registration levels are eligible for full refunds up until August 1. After August 1, any refunds will be issued a 50% reimbursements. After August 15th, all registrations are final (no refunds)