by Ami Maxine Irmen
The thing is, I’ve been to festivals. I’ve been to conferences. I’ve been to AWPs everywhere from Seattle to Boston. And it’s all well and great – I’ve met some of my favorite writers and encountered new ones – I’ve been to workshops on just about everything under the sun.
But in all sincere honesty, nothing compares to UntitledTown (UT – yes, feel free to cringe at my groan worthy attempt at a title).
Maybe it’s my love of this city. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve called Green Bay home on and off since 2001. Maybe it’s because I see all the hard work that goes into pulling this festival off.
Or maybe it’s because the price is right. The UntitledTown Book and Author Festival has, for the last three years, offered an incredible festival without membership dues, without charging for events (aside from a few ticketed events/fundraisers), and (on the off chance that you don’t live here) in a city where you don’t have to spend more than your mortgage on a one-night hotel stay. For no charge, UntitledTown has brought authors from Margaret Atwood (and her amazing keynote involving finger puppets) to local high school student open mics – from a reading by Susan Orlean (who arrived in style) to workshops on how to write horror – from an evening with Walter Mosley to a the powerful refugee voices of ReSISTERS United.UntitledTown is where I first heard Ben Percy speak (and I’m still reeling from that voice), where I learned to fold and sew my own writing journals, and even where I witnessed a couple thousand kids go absolutely wild when R. L. Stine walked out on stage (see above). UntitledTown is where I got to engage in a workshop with the ridiculously talented poet Danez Smith – and where I got to listen to the always thought provoking poet Andrea Gibson read on the stage of the Tarlton Theatre (formerly the West, the very first queer space that young me ever stepped foot in). If you’ve been to other book festivals, you’ve probably noticed the difference, too – not just in price, but in the quality of speakers and the enormity of the events. And if you’ve only ever been to UntitledTown, or you haven’t made it out yet, I can honestly tell you there’s nothing else like it.
UntitledTown comes back for it’s fourth festival April 24-26, 2020, and it’s no surprise that this year’s theme is Community. Come see what all the Green Bay community has to offer!