This afternoon, the APRIL Festival (it stands for Authors, Publishers, and Readers of Independent Literature) announced the schedule for their fifth annual celebration of small-press writing and reading, and it looks pretty goddamned spectacular. As previously announced, the writer-in-residence for this year’s APRIL is Jenny Zhang, a talented poet and wonderful essayist out of Brooklyn. Zhang’s star is on the rise, and her role as writer-in-residence will undoubtedly give the festival some national prominence.
The Festival has for the most part done away with its series of earlier “happy hour” readings at bars, instead opting for one firework-filled event per night. You can read the whole schedule here, but highlights include an opening night party with Zhang, Alejandro de Acosta, Sara Jaffe, and cartoonist Kelly Froh; a “fireside chat” from poet Cedar Sigo; a new edition of the popular APRIL game show “A Poet, a Playwright, a Novelist and a Drag Queen” hosted by — there’s no gentle way to put this — me, and featuring EJ Koh, Sara Porkalob, Brian McGuigan and Mal DeFleur; David Schmader hosting “a live video essay about writers on film"; and the usual enormous all-day book fair at the Hugo House.
In addition, there’s a big 5th anniversary bash featuring returning APRIL readers Ed Skoog, Elissa Ball, Maged Zaher, Robert Lashley, and Sarah Galvin and new APRIL readers Leena Joshi, Anastacia Renee Tolbert, Hannah Sanghee Park, Bernard Grant, and, as we announced yesterday, Jessica Mooney.
Plus, as the kids say, more!
This is a very interesting schedule; some of the frivolity of past APRIL Festivals isn’t readily apparent, and they’ve even teamed up with the Bagley Wright Lecture Series on Poetry for the Sigo reading, which is the kind of mainstream cultural acceptance that would have been unthinkable back in APRIL’s punky first year. This is exciting stuff; the festival is growing up and developing a sheen of respectability while still throwing a drag queen or two into the mix. It’s the same old APRIL Festival, just a little more, you know, APRIL-er.
This year’s APRIL Festival will run from Tuesday, March 15th to Sunday, March 20th this year. Start planning your schedule now.