The Beacon LitFest returns to the Howland Cultural Center for its second year with an impressive lineup of fiction writers, poets, memoirist and dramaturges.

Jennifer Egan, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A Visit From the Goon Squad, will headline the three-day festival, which runs from Friday, June 7 to Sunday, June 9.

Egan will be joined by Hudson Valley thriller writer Jodé Millman, author of the Queen City Thriller Series set in Poughkeepsie. Millman's most recent novel The Empty Kayak fictionalizes some of the events around the infamous Angelika Graswald case in which Graswald was accused of murdering her fiancé.

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Other featured writers include Amitava Kumar, Abigail Thomas, Timothy Liu, ​Edwin Torres, Tina Cane, and David Herskovits.

"We are so pleased to present such important and varied writers. We want the audience to be surprised and engaged and have planned the day with that in mind,” said Ruth Danon, co-curator of the event along with Shane Killoran and Dr. Hannah Brooks.

Beacon LitFest 2024 Schedule

Beacon LitFest begins on Friday with a kick-off party at the Howland Cultural Center from 7PM to 9PM.The opening night will include performances by The Core Improv group, who will riff on the work of local writers Caroline Eisner, Terry Nelson, Marjorie Lewit, and Magda Schonfeld. Food and drinks will be served

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Then on Saturday, Egan and the other featured writers be interviewed and take audience questions from 1PM to 6PM. Beacon LitFest co-curators also promise an immersive audience experience with dramatic performances of the featured authors' work.

A meet-and-greet cocktail party hosted by Stanza Books will follow the main event. Stanza will also be selling books from the featured writers.

The last day of the festival features workshops in memoir, hosted by Beacon resident and LitLit co-founder Donna Minkowitz; fiction, hosted by author Marissa Levien; and poetry, hosted by Celia Barbour.

Origins of the Beacon LitFest

The Beacon LitFest originally started across the river in Newburgh by Brooks and writer Danielle Trussoni as the Newburgh Literary Festival in 2019.

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After the pandemic shutdown in 2020 and Brooks' move to Beacon, she joined forces with Danon, an acclaimed poet, and Killoran, a producer/director and the founder of of Hit House Creative and Hit House Film, to launch the Beacon LitFest in 2023.

Lucy Sante Performance at June 20 Event

Jem Cohen
Jem Cohen

The Beacon LitFest will also host a special event on June 20 featuring Whiting Award-winning essayist and memoirist Lucy Sante.

Sante, a Kingston resident, is the author of the book Low Life, chronicling the slums, chaos, criminality and energy of 19th Century New York City. Her most recent work is the memoir I Heard Her Call My Name, which explores her coming out as transgender at the age of 67.

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She will showcase her photography at the event and will be joined by artist Richard Eagan.

The event will be held at the Towne Crier's main stage room and is free to Beacon LitFest ticket holders. Doors will open at 5:30 and the event will begin at 7PM.

Touring Beacon, New York

Beacon, New York has become a destination for both Hudson Valley residents and tourists. The choices for recreation, shopping, and dining are endless. The Beacon Flea Market along with boutique shops and tasty restaurants have made Beacon a great place to land for a weekend in the Hudson Valley. This is just a sample of what awaits you in this town along the Hudson River in Dutchess County.

Gallery Credit: Paty Quyn

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