Author Dana Buckmir and her new book, Everything Will Be Okay

Dana Buckmir’s most recent memoir, Everything Will Be Okay, is a cautionary tale of online dating and domestic violence. On October 12, the Connecticut native will bring her story to The Westport Library for a conversation with Ann Rodwell-Lawton, associate director of the Domestic Violence Crisis Center.

The event, a collaboration between the Library, The Domestic Violence Crisis Center, and the Westport Domestic Violence Task Force, will be held in person, streamed live, and recorded.

“Domestic violence and abuse impacts thousands of people, especially women, each day, in every community,” said Kerri Gawreluk, programming associate at The Westport Library. “Dana’s ability to articulate her own personal story from a place of clarity, strength, and empowerment is truly inspiring, and we’re incredibly grateful to host her at the Library.”

In addition to her work as a memoirist, Buckmir serves as a writing coach and tutor. Her first book, Plenty of Laughs: One Woman’s Journey Navigating the Online Dating Waters, was a comical, first-person account of her experiences dating in the age of modern technology. 

“Storytelling brings people together to reflect on the human experience,” Buckmir said. “I'm looking forward to sharing my story in this beautiful space, with the goal of discussing domestic violence and reminding others that they're not alone.”

More information and registration for the event, whether in-person or via livestream, is available on The Westport Library website.

In September, The Westport Library staged the in-person return of StoryFest, and the excitement was palpable. Over two days — Friday evening and all day Saturday — roughly 800 participants poured into the Library to watch one of the 10 featured panels and converse with the 40-plus assembled authors, with many staying deep into the night on Friday and returning early Saturday morning.

StoryFest was held virtually in 2020 and as a hybrid event in 2021, due to the pandemic, before moving back to its in-person format this year. For those who couldn’t make it, all panels were recorded and are available here.

“StoryFest was amazing in 2020 and 2021, and we’re very proud of both those events,” said Alex Giannini, associate director of programming for The Westport Library and the organizer of StoryFest. “But there is something different about having everyone back in person, and we could feel that in the room. Fans queued up for book signings and had time to talk with the authors, and the authors loved being back together with each other to discuss their craft. The event was, without question, one of the highlights of our year.”

This year’s StoryFest kicked off Friday night with an often moving, often hilarious conversation between best-selling authors and longtime friends Isaac Fitzgerald (Dirtbag, Massachusetts) and Saeed Jones (How We Fight for Our Lives), both of whom stayed long past their scheduled time to sign autographs and interact with fans.

Saturday was a series of panels covering a range of topics, including an interactive program for kids and talks on activism, horror, dark fiction, working with editors, writing through the pandemic, and more. The day wrapped with a conversation with renowned fantasy writer Naomi Novik and a live recording of the Reading Glasses podcast with writer Mallory O’Meara and actress Brea Grant.

“I really love StoryFest because of the wide array of genres that are covered,” said O’Meara. “It’s so great to be in a place that’s passionate and thrilled about reading and writing. It’s just magic to me.”

Please watch the video below on this year’s event and visit the StoryFest landing page to learn more about StoryFest’s rich history in serving as a celebration of emerging authors, including Jason Reynolds, R.L. Stine, Nic Stone, Tiffany Jackson, and L.L. McKinney, as well as notable writers such as Mitch Albom and Michael Lewis.

Bob Stefanowski and Ned Lamont
L to R: Bob Stefanowski and Ned Lamont

The 2022 Connecticut gubernatorial candidates are coming to The Westport Library.

Republican challenger Bob Stefanowski and incumbent Governor Ned Lamont will be visiting the Library’s Trefz Forum for a pair of candidate forums, presented by the Library and the Y’s Men of Westport/Weston.

Stefanowski’s forum will take place on Thursday, September 15, at 10 am, with Lamont arriving on Monday, September 19, at 1 pm. The candidates will speak and take questions from attendees, with each event running approximately 45 minutes.

The Trefz Forum has a capacity of roughly 400, and the talks also will be live streamed, offering unlimited virtual viewers. Registration is requested for both events — and for both the in-person talk and the livestream.

Details and registration are available on The Westport Library website.

“We are delighted to have both Mr. Stefanowski and Governor Lamont at the Library to address our patrons and area residents,” said Bill Harmer, executive director of The Westport Library. “We believe strongly in our role as a hub for the community and as a place where everyone can learn, grow, and engage in lively and respectful debate. And afterward, we hope you stick around to take advantage of all the resources our Library has to offer.”  

“This is another example of the quality talks the Y’s Men bring to its membership and now, with The Westport Library, to the community as well,” Y’s Men President Baxter Urist said.

Attendees must arrive 15 minutes prior to each session and are invited to submit brief written questions for the candidates to address.

The 2022 gubernatorial election and statewide and local elections will be held Tuesday, November 8.

Stephen Wilkes (Photo credit: Chris Janjic)

With his work over the past 40 years, Stephen Wilkes has established himself as one of our most iconic photographers, his pieces displayed throughout the United States and around the world.

Now, he is coming to The Westport Library.

Wilkes, who lives and maintains a studio in Westport, will unveil his new exhibit, “Stephen Wilkes: Visualizing Time,” at The Library with a special event held Thursday, September 8, in conversation with fine art and editorial photographer Stacy Bass, a fellow Westporter and former president of the Library’s board of trustees. The event arrives on the eve of StoryFest, leading into Connecticut’s largest literary festival with a celebration of art and the indelible artist who created it.

“Stephen is a Westport treasure, an artist of great renown and incomparable talent,” said Bill Harmer, executive director of The Westport Library. “We are honored to host him and Stacy for an event celebrating his life and work and to have his exhibit displayed in our galleries. And for this to debut right before StoryFest is most fitting — reaffirming our commitment to celebrating community and the arts in all their forms.”

This exhibit, which will be featured in all three of the Library’s galleries, explores how Wilkes’ visualization of the concept of time has evolved from the earlier days of his career through his latest, celebrated series, “Day to Night” and “Tapestries.”

The September 8 program will be preceded by a reception with the photographer at 6:15 pm, followed by a Q&A in the Trefz Forum. The exhibit will run in the Library from September 8 through November 29.

“Visualizing Time is a personal journey through my five decades as a photographer,” Wilkes said. “There is a single thread that connects all of my work throughout these periods, a fascination with depicting time and memory in all its forms. From my early work documenting Ellis Island, capturing the spirit and energy in its abandoned ruins, to ‘Day to Night,’ where I seamlessly compress the best moments of a single day into one photograph, and ‘Tapestries,’ where I explore fractions of time, capturing the way we perceive a specific place.

“Each of these bodies of work tell personal stories, witness history, and capture the emotion I feel in what I am bearing witness to.”

For more on Wilkes and his career, please visit For more on Bass and her work shooting architecture, interiors, landscapes, and gardens, visit

And for more on art at The Westport Library, please visit our gallery webpage.

Yosemite, by Stephen Wilkes
Stephen Wilkes feature on Good Morning America

Clockwise from left: Stepping Out on Faith by Charles Joyner; Muhammad Ali, Jake’s Diner, Athens, Ohio by Richard Frank; Tipetano by Fred Otnes; The Chambers Encyclopaedia by Fred Otnes; October by Fred Otnes

Those strolling The Westport Library this month will notice a new collection of artwork gracing the walls, with five remarkable new pieces gifted to the Library’s collection.

The latest acquisitions include two collage paintings and one collage illustration by the revered Fred Otnes, donated by the Robert K. Otnes Trust; a piece donated by renowned artist Charles Joyner; and an iconic image of the famed boxer Muhammad Ali donated by photographer Richard Frank.

The two paintings by Fred Otnes and the Joyner piece are all hanging in the Library’s mezzanine, with the Otnes illustration appearing in one of the conference rooms. The Ali image is located prominently in the first-floor stairwell.

“Westport has a long and rich tradition of fostering artists and honoring their work,” said Westport Library Exhibit Curator Carole Erger-Fass. “We are very proud to be part of that tradition and incredibly fortunate to receive so many amazing pieces to add to our collection. We thank all our generous donors, and we invite all our patrons to visit and see them in person.”

All three artists have connections to Westport, many dating back years.

Otnes was born and lived in the Midwest before moving to Westport in 1953 while working with the prestigious Rahl Studios in New York. Here, he found community with area’s many illustrators and remained in the area for most of his life, passing away in Westport in 2015 at the age of 89.

A native North Carolinian, Joyner came to Westport in 1964 at 16 years old as part of the American Friends Service Committee’s “Southern Negro Student Program,” a Quaker initiative that placed southern Black students in the north to complete high school and live with host families. Joyner graduated from Staples High in 1966. From March through June of this year, the exhibit, “Charles Joyner: Stepping Out on Faith,” funded in part by CT Humanities and the Drew Friedman Foundation, was housed in the Library’s Sheffer Gallery. The artist donated the title artwork from that event. 

Frank, meantime, has lived in Westport for more than 30 years with his wife Leona, a painter and art teacher. In addition to his many notable works, he documented the Library’s transformation project, which was completed in 2019 and culminated in an exhibit when the Library reopened called “Transformation: The Workers.” His Ali image is one of his most famous works, taken at Jake’s Diner in Athens, Ohio, in 1969.

“I was having a cup of coffee at 11 pm, and to my surprise Muhammad Ali walked in, surrounded by an entourage of students,” Frank recalled. “Although I was awed by his presence, I summoned up the nerve and asked him if he would mind taking his picture. I quickly decided that the best vantage point would be from behind the counter and managed to keep the camera steady enough to capture this moment.”

For more on the Library’s art collection and upcoming events, visit our Art at the Library webpage.

L to R: StoryFest 2022 headliners Isaac Fitzgerald and Saeed Jones

StoryFest is returning to The Westport Library, live and in person, September 9-10, featuring a dazzling array of authors of all genres and for all ages.

Headlining this year’s festival are Isaac Fitzgerald, the IACP winner and How to Be a Pirate author whose debut memoir, Dirtbag, Massachusetts, is currently #2 on The New York Times best-seller list; and Saeed Jones, who was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry in 2014 and won the Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction in 2019 for his memoir, How We Fight for Our Lives. A conversation between the two will be the featured Friday evening session.

A celebration of reading, writing, ideas, and community, StoryFest was organized in 2018 to draw together many of the region’s most accomplished, exciting, and up-and-coming authors in Westport for a two-day celebration of all things literary. It has since grown into a national event, attracting authors from across the U.S.

This year will make the first fully in-person festival since 2019, with StoryFest having gone virtual in 2020 and staged as a hybrid event a year ago.

“What a joy to be attending the largest literary festival in Connecticut,” said Fitzgerald. “[Saeed and I] both love libraries so, so much — which means the two of us reconnecting onstage at The Westport Library is going to be all the more special. Come party with us, Connecticut!”

StoryFest will wrap up Saturday evening with a special appearance by James Beard Book Award-winning author Mallory O’Meara and filmmaker/actress Brea Grant, the duo behind the popular Reading Glasses podcast, who will host a special live event that will double as an episode of their show. The Westport Library’s own Verso Studios will support the effort, which will feature StoryFest participants Sarah Gailey, Paul Tremblay, Stephen Graham Jones, Alexis Henderson, and Clay McLeod Chapman.

Other notable authors scheduled to appear at this year’s two-day event include May Cobb, Rachel Harrison, Gabino Iglesias, Alma Katsu, Eric LaRocca, Ellen Datlow, John Langan, Bracken MacLeod, Seanan McGuire, Gwendolyn Kiste, Hugh Ryan, Mondiant Dogon, Gus Moreno, Lorien Lawrence, Alexis Henderson, Isabel Canas, LaQuette, Julia Phillips, Greg Galloway, Coco Ma, Amanda Parrish Morgan, and Kate Racculia.

“StoryFest is unquestionably one of the highlights of our year and one of the crown jewels of the New England literary experience,” said Westport Library Executive Director Bill Harmer. “It is an opportunity for us to welcome back old friends and fan favorites, all while showcasing some of the country’s brightest rising talents. We couldn’t be more excited to celebrate five years of this remarkable event with readers from across New England and the tri-state area and to welcome everyone to explore all our space has to offer.”

Past StoryFest participants include New York Times best-selling authors Mitch Albom and Michael Lewis; National Book Award finalist Jason Reynolds; Pinkalicious author/illustrator Victoria Kann; Goosebumps author R.L. Stine; young adult superstars Nic Stone, Tiffany Jackson, and L.L. McKinney; and Emmy Award winner Sheila Nevins.

For a complete list of the events, panels, and authors participating in this year’s StoryFest, please visit the StoryFest 2022 homepage. And for a history of the event, check out our StoryFest landing page.


For more information on StoryFest 2022, contact Westport Library Marketing and Communications Director E.J. Crawford at

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