L to R: Stephen Graham Jones, Neil Gaiman, and Eric LaRocca
Two past favorites are returning in new roles at StoryFest 2023, with Stephen Graham Jones secured as the moderator for the keynote conversation with Neil Gaiman on Friday, October 20, and Eric LaRocca capping a full day of events on Saturday, October 21, with a staged reading of his new play, Gentle Hacksaw.
Both are ticketed events, with additional seats becoming available for the Friday conversation with Gaiman — the acclaimed author of American Gods, Coraline, and The Sandman Series, among many others — on Tuesday, August 22, at 10 am. Tickets will be available at that time on the keynote conversation registration page.
The conversation between Gaiman and Graham Jones is free to the public as part of the Fall 2023 Malloy Lecture in the Arts. Seats are limited for what will be a sold-out crowd of 400-plus.
Tickets for the staged reading of Gentle Hacksaw are $20 and are available for purchase now. Doors open at 7 pm for a reception, where guests can meet the StoryFest authors; small bites will be provided and there will be a cash bar. The performance starts at 8 pm and will be followed by a conversation with the playwright and cast moderated by best-selling author Clay Mcleod Chapman.
Now in its sixth year, StoryFest is the largest literary festival in Connecticut and one of the biggest annual literary festivals in the Northeast. This year’s edition will be held October 20-22. Friday night is the keynote conversation. Saturday features a series of panel discussions and conversations, with the full lineup to be announced in late summer/early fall. Sunday includes a writers’ workshop, a special children’s event, and additional programming, also to be announced soon.
In addition to Chapman, Gaiman, Graham Jones, and LaRocca, confirmed authors for StoryFest 2023 include Angie Kim, Gabino Iglesias, Caroline Kepnes, and Josh Malerman.
“StoryFest is my favorite event we put on all year,” said Westport Library Associate Director of Programming and StoryFest co-founder Alex Giannini. “Neil Gaiman alone is worth the price of admission, but adding in the bonus of Stephen Graham Jones as moderator — what a night it's going to be! Stephen is one of the most unique and compelling voices in fiction today, and he and Gaiman on stage together will be StoryFest magic.
“On top of it all, having the opportunity to close what will be a knockout Saturday with Eric LaRocca’s play is a treat for everyone who makes it out for this year’s StoryFest.”
Graham Jones and LaRocca both are StoryFest veterans who appeared at last year’s edition as panelists.
Graham Jones is a professor at the University of Colorado and a New York Times best-selling author of some 30 novels and collections, including Mongrels, The Only Good Indians, My Heart is a Chainsaw, and Earthdivers.
Among his many honors include the Texas Institute of Letters Award for Fiction, the LA Times Ray Bradbury Prize, the Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award, the Independent Publishers Award for Multicultural Fiction, the Western Literature Association’s Distinguished Achievement Award, the American Library Association’s RUSA Award and Alex Award, the 2023 American Indian Festival of Words Writers Award, the Locus Award, four Bram Stoker Awards, three Shirley Jackson Awards, and six This is Horror Awards. In addition, he’s been a finalist for the World Fantasy Award and the British Fantasy Award.
LaRocca is the Splatterpunk Award-winning and the Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke and The Trees Grew Because I Bled There, a collection of short stories released in March.
Gentle Hacksaw is “a startling new drama of religion, identity, and violence about two high-profile gay men who become embroiled in a verbal cat-and-mouse game of utter cruelty when an unpleasant bargain goes awry. As social graces are discarded and basic human decency is abandoned, both men discover shocking truths about themselves and one another that will forever transform them.”
For more information on this year’s StoryFest, as well as past editions, visit westportlibrary.org/storyfest.