Calling all writers: Revived Literary Festival taking submissions

The Marblehead Festival of Arts is bringing back its Literary Festival, originally known as Writers World, for the first time since 2019. The Festival’s writing contest is also returning, along with several speakers, panels and workshops. The Marblehead Current is a presenting media sponsor of the MFoA.

“Despite the limited resources and a small, all-volunteer committee, Marblehead’s Literary Festival can stand with the best of them in terms of programming and quality of speakers — all at no cost to attendees,” said Margo Steiner, who has been involved with the Festival since 1980. “We may not be the largest such festival in the country, but we like to think that our annual celebration of writers, readers and all things literary speaks to many within the community and beyond who still revere the written word and enjoy the opportunity to explore it.”

The writing contest has three categories: fiction, nonfiction and poetry. 

“In addition to adult entrants, the Literary Festival has encouraged and promoted young writers as well by offering awards in the same three categories for those 18 and under,” Steiner said. “I’ve always been overwhelmed by the number of entries we receive from young people. More importantly, however, I am continually stunned by the quality of their writing.”

A panel of judges includes authors Laurie Stolarz, Carla Panciera and Dawn Paul, along with Marblehead Current Board President and memoirist Virginia Buckingham and Current Consulting Editor Kris Olson. There are prizes in each category. 

Writing submissions should be sent by May 26 at midnight. Learn more at

The winners will read their works to the public on Tuesday July 4, at 11 a.m., at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead.

The Literary Festival also features several author talks. Children’s author Tui T. Sutherland will share tips on writing for kids; author Rich Rubino will discuss writing about politics; Harry Christensen and Richard Santeusanio will talk about their recent book, “Murder in Marblehead,” and novelist Elizabeth DeVeer will explore ways to get works published.

The Literary Festival will also have panel discussions on poetry and local news, as well as workshops on memoirs and creative writing.

The MFoA runs this summer Saturday, July 1 through Tuesday, July 4 at several venues around town. Learn more at

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Leigh Blander is an experienced TV, radio and print journalist who has written hundreds of stories for local newspapers, including the Marblehead Reporter. She also works as a PR specialist.

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