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Writers' Block Festival Moves To Louisville's Portland Neighborhood

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An annual festival of writing and writers in Louisville moves westward this weekend.

The Tim Faulkner Gallery in Louisville's Portland neighborhood on Saturday hosts the fifth annual Writers’ Block Festival, which wraps up with an unconventional writers' competition.

Past festivals have been held at various sites in the Nulu neighborhood, but this year's event will all be under one roof. The organizers hope that the location will facilitate more spontaneous interaction between participants.

Panel discussions on topics including “writing as witness” and the “writer’s day job” will be offered, alongside workshops taught by published authors. The festival will also host a print and resource fair featuring small presses, literary journals, university creative writing programs and other organizations that teach and support writing.

The event is produced by Louisville Literary Arts, an organization that also produces the InKY Reading Series at the Bard’s Town. Board President Kimberly Crum said they’re making an effort to widen their reach.

“Our effort right now as an organization is to try to not just expect people to come to us to hear what writers write, but we’re trying to bring writing to the people,” Crum said.

Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Adam Johnson, author of "The Orphan Master's Son" is the keynote speaker. His most recent book is a collection of short stories, "Fortune Smiles."

The official "afterparty" is the Literary Death Match, a touring show that features local writers in a live competition. This is the first time the Literary Death Match has come to Kentucky. Four writers have seven minutes or less to wow the panel of three celebrity judges, who then respond out loud. The two finalists face off in a non-literary finale — sometimes it's charades or something else equally goofy — for the crown.

"It's a raucous, spirited literary event," Crum said.

The competitors include Kentucky-based writers Hannah Pittard, Gabe Tomlin, Ryan Ridge and Will Lavender. Judges for this edition are local businessman Gill Holland (who is a member of Louisville Public Media's Board of Directors), poet and critic Erin Keane, (a former WFPL reporter) and author Crystal Wilkinson.

More information on the Writer's Block festival is available here, and complete info on the Literary Death Match is here.

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