Yesterday afternoon, I attended Wordup: Long Island Litfest at the Madison Theater at Molloy College with two author friends, Kimberly Amato and Lisa Diaz Meyer. This annual event, in its third year, featured popular Long Island authors and was kicked off with a choice of two free writing workshops. My friends and I selected the Storytelling Workshop presented by Tracey Segarra of the Now You’re Talking Show. After treating the attendees to one of her own stories, Segarra broke down the structure of a story and invited everyone to try two storytelling exercises. The first consisted of prompts to help generate ideas. The second was a group activity involving object description and active listening. Although the workshop was short, it was quite informative. Segarra also invited everyone to her May 6 event, The Tipping Point, at the Merrick Theater and Center for the Arts at which several authors and storytellers will share stories.
The main event of the Long Island Litfest commenced at 1 pm and ran to 4:30 pm. It consisted of two sessions of speakers followed by questions from the audience, book sales, and author signings. The Emcee and first speaker for the event was Barry Dougherty, author of How To Do It Standing Up, The Friars Club’s Guide To Being A Comic and other books on comedy. The first-session speakers included Caroline Leavitt, author of the novel Cruel Beautiful World and New York Times bestselling author of Is This Tomorrow, Pictures of You, and many other works; and Steven Gaines, co-founder and a past vice-chairman of the Hamptons International Film Festival and author of numerous books, including Philistines at the Hedgerow and his memoir, One of These Things First. The last two speakers of the session were Cathi Hanauer, New York Times bestselling author of three novels and editor of two anthologies, The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth about Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood and Marriage and the recent The Bitch Is Back: Older, Wiser, and (Getting) Happier; and Gail Sheehy, author of seventeen books, including internationally acclaimed best-seller Passages, named one of the ten most influential books of our times by the Library of Congress. Hanauer and Sheehy spoke alone, and then Hanauer interviewed Sheehy about her recent memoir, Daring: My Passages,.
Session two featured George Carlin’s daughter, Kelly Carlin, writer, actress, producer, monologist, and Internet radio host, and author of A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George ; Bill Scheft, Emmy-nominated and long-time staff writer for David Letterman and author of five humor novels, including his latest, Shrink Thyself; Alan Zweibel, an original Saturday Night Live writer, who has won multiple Emmy and Writers Guild of America awards for his work in television, which includes It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, Late Show With David Letterman, and Curb Your Enthusiasm and has also won a Tony Award and the Thurber Prize; and Dave Barry, Pulitzer-Prize winning humor writer whose columns and essays have appeared in hundreds of newspapers over the past 35 years who has also written a number of New York Times bestsellers including the recent, For this We Left Egypt, a parody of the Passover Haggadah, co-authored with Alan Zweibel (and Adam Mansbach). After Barry spoke, he and Zweibel opened the floor to questions.
Book sales for Litfest were handled by Turn of the Corkscrew bookstore. Other sponsors included The Madison Theater, Long Island Pulse, Now You’re Talking, and East End Fringe Festival. It was nice to be able to buy the presenters’ books and have them autographed on the spot. It was a very entertaining afternoon and an opportunity to listen to some great stories and storytellers.