Stephen Graham Jones and Neil Gaiman during the Friday evening StoryFest keynote conversation/Fall 2023 Malloy Lecture in the Arts.

Three days, 20 programs, 50 authors. StoryFest 2023, The Westport Library’s sixth annual literary festival, was its biggest and most diverse yet, drawing authors from a wide variety of genres to provide something for any reader and every fan.

Hosted throughout the Library — most events were held in the Trefz Forum, while also utilizing Brooks Place, the Hub, and the Komansky Room — StoryFest featured a keynote conversation with acclaimed author Neil Gaiman; a series of panel conversations on Saturday ranging from inclusivity in children’s literature to women writing crime fiction to exploring humor in horror; intimate author talks; a live recording of Clay McLeod Chapman’s Fearmongers podcast; a staged reading of Eric LaRocca’s new psychological thriller; a Pink or Treat book reading and Halloween Parade with Pinkalicious author Victoria Kann; a TeachRock workshop; and a live score of the Spanish language Dracula by guitar virtuoso Gary Lucas.

“We had high hopes for this year’s StoryFest, and the actual event managed to exceed them,” said StoryFest co-founder and event organizer Alex Giannini. “It’s always pure magic to get this many amazing authors together in one place, and everyone who came out could not have been friendlier and more enthusiastic. We’re definitely going to take some time to enjoy this one, but I’m already excited for 2024.”

The running theme throughout the weekend was an appreciation for writers, readers, libraries, and community. As moderator Stephen Graham Jones said to the 350-plus patrons at the start of Friday evening’s keynote conversation with Gaiman, “Thank y’all for showing up tonight and supporting libraries. It’s so important.”

“Libraries are so special to me,” said Angie Kim, author of The New York Times best-seller Happiness Falls. “I’m an immigrant. I came from Korea to the U.S. as an 11-year-old, and public libraries were my haven. It’s where I hid out from the bullies in middle school and where I got help learning English. So, to have this sponsored by The Westport Library, which is so beautiful and so accessible, has been amazing.”

Kim was one of the many authors who stayed for the full StoryFest experience, visiting the Mercy Learning Center in Bridgeport during the day on Friday, attending Gaiman’s talk Friday night — one of nearly 30 authors who ringed the mezzanine for the keynote conversation — and appearing on two panels and signing books afterward on Saturday.

“This is my favorite event that I’ve done, and it’s even better this year,” said Black Sheep author and StoryFest veteran Rachel Harrison. “It’s just such a great crowd, a great environment. The programming is so thoughtful. There’s just something for everybody.”

Added A Likeable Woman author May Cobb: “This is absolutely one of my favorite festivals for books and storytelling. It’s just such an engaging, intimate experience, where you get to interact with readers and other writers. It feels like we’ve built a community … and I feel like I’m part of a family. It’s very special.”

Joining Kim at the Mercy Learning Center was Mitzy Sky. In addition, Tommy Greenwold, Dan Poblocki, Lorien Lawrence, and Janae Marks all gave talks on Friday at local Westport schools; and Patricia Dunn, John Palisano, and Wendy Walker traveled to Norwalk High School and P-Tech Norwalk.

“This has been an awesome experience,” said Sky, who first came to StoryFest as a fan and was making her first appearance as a panelist. “I’ve been here since 2017. It’s my favorite thing to do.”

In addition to the events and programs, StoryFest included a fully stocked bookstore with autographed titles from the participating authors, including 600 signed volumes from Gaiman, as well as posters and other memorabilia.

“The festival has been great,” said Sidik Fofana, author of Stories from the Tenants Downstairs. “It’s the perfect motivation to start writing, because I want to be invited again. What a great way to spend three days.”

Join TeachRock on the Sunday morning of StoryFest from 10 to 11 am for a workshop where students discover the magic of Möbius strips through the music of StoryFest keynote speaker Neil Gaiman! In this free one-hour workshop, students will craft and explore their own Möbius strips.


The workshop is geared for elementary school-age children on up to their adults, while younger children are enjoying the Pink or Treat Halloween Parade with Victoria Kann in the Trefz Forum. Other family members are welcome to join the workshop, but children are free to attend independently (instructor is a certified professional teacher). PLEASE NOTE: Children attending Pink or Treat MUST be accompanied by an adult.

In 2023, internationally renowned author Neil Gaiman ventured into the world of music with his first album Songs of Life. The album features tracks composed of music performed by Australia’s FourPlay String Quartet and poetry and prose performed by Gaiman. On a track titled Möbius Strip, Gaiman reflects on learning to create the loop from his grandfather, sharing directions for the listener to create their own. Gaiman told NPR, “That Möbius strip idea just took me back to the point where now I’m a grandfather and I have grandkids. And that’s the kind of thing that I love being able to do with them. ... It felt like a perfect metaphor for the shape of a life [where] you are always traveling this Möbius strip.”

Gaiman has been honored for his work with countless awards, including both the Newbery and Carnegie Medals. A prolific creator, some of his most notable works include the comic book series The Sandman and the novels Good Omens, Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book.


TeachRock was launched by Stevie Van Zandt with the founders board of Bono, Jackson Browne, Martin Scorsese, and Bruce Springsteen. The organization is dedicated to providing free, standards-aligned resources to help teachers, students, and families succeed for more than a decade.

TeachRock improves students’ lives by bringing the sound, stories, and science of music to all classrooms. From The Beatles to Beyoncé, from kindergarten to AP History, in the classroom or remotely, TeachRock offers meaningful lesson plans all at no cost to teachers, students, and families, inspiring deeper learning and understanding through the power of music.

StoryFest Saturday is shaping up to be a blockbuster, with Clay McLeod Chapman, Angie Kim, Gabino Iglesias, Caroline Kepnes, and Wendy Walker among the 40-plus authors slated to be at The Westport Library for the biggest day of the largest annual literary festival in Connecticut.

The day will feature a host of panel discussions starting at 10 am in the Library’s Trefz Forum. In addition, in Brooks Place on the Library’s main level, there will be picture book readings for children and teens starting at 10 am, author conversations running from 12 to 4 pm, and a special live taping of Chapman’s Fearmongers podcast at 5 pm featuring readings and insights from New York Times best-selling author Stephen Graham Jones and Josh Malerman, author of the Netflix sensation Birdbox.

“Saturday at StoryFest is a true celebration of authors, writing, and the creative process,” said Alex Giannini, The Westport Library’s associate director of programming and co-founder and organizer of StoryFest. “There’s something for every reader, with authors representing every genre. It’s a dream day for anyone and everyone who loves writing and literature, and it’s all happening at StoryFest!”

Saturday will close with a staged reading of Gentle Hacksaw, the new play from award-winning author and playwright Eric LaRocca.

Now in its sixth year, StoryFest is The Westport Library’s annual celebration of reading, writing, ideas, and community. This year’s festival runs Friday, October 20, through Sunday, October 22, and will feature a keynote conversation with renowned author Neil Gaiman on Friday and a writers’ workshop, Pinkalicious author Victoria Kann, and virtuoso guitarist Gary Lucas on Sunday.

Here's a closer look at the lineup for Saturday, October 21 (visit our Saturday event listing for descriptions of all eight panels; register for your free Saturday day pass here; and click here to purchase tickets for the staged reading of Gentle Hacksaw):

Book covers from the StoryFest 2023 authors

10-11:30 am



10-10:30 am: Tommy Greenwal

Reading from his new book, The Rescues Finding Home

10:30-11:00 am: Stephen G. Bowling

Reading from the Mom’s Choice Award-winning picture book, Grandma’s House is Haunted

11-11:30 am: Sivan Hong & Sally J. Pla

Reading from the best-selling Super Fun Day book series (Hong) and from The Fire, The Water, and Maudie McGinn (Pla) 


10 am-6 pm



10-11 am: Peek-a-Boo, I See You: Inclusivity in Children’s Literature

With Sally J. Pla, Sivan Hong, Dan Poblocki, Lorien Lawrence, Janae Marks. Moderated by Meagan Flynn. Sponsored by Black Rock Books.

11 am-12 pm: Putting It Together: Ellen Datlow Presents…

With Cassandra Khaw, Josh Malerman, Stephen Graham Jones, Paul Tremblay, and Bracken McLeod. Moderated by Ellen Datlow.

12-1 pm: Killer Women: Writing Crime from a Female Point of View

With Manju Soni, Elise Hart Kipness, Emily Arsenault, Wendy Walker, and Lynne Constantine. Moderated by author and co-president of Sisters in Crime CT, Tessa Wegert. 

1-2 pm: On Leaving and Returning: Writing the Body Home 

With Mitzy Sky, Oliver Radclyffe, Namrata Patel, Sonya Huber, and Sidek Fofana. Moderated by the Director of the Connecticut Writing Project and Associate Professor of Literacy in Educational Studies and Human Development at Fairfield University Dr. Bryan Ripley Crandall.

2-3 pm: Community Into View: Writing Race, Culture and Identity 

With Stephen Graham Jones, Magogodi Makhene, LaQuette, Angie Kim, and Cassandra Khaw. Moderated by Connecticut Poet Laureate Antoinette Brim-Bell. Sponsored by Kindred Thoughts Bookstore in Bridgeport, Connecticut. 

3-4 pm: Scream with Me: Heartache, Humor, and Horror

With Clay McLeod Chapman, Gabino Iglesias, Eric LaRocca, Rachel Harrison, and Owen Egerton. Moderated by the former president of the Horror Writers Association, John Palisano. 

4-5 pm: The Incredibly True Adventures of… Twists and Turns on the Writer’s Path

With Lynne Constantine, Travis Myers, Dave Hill, Lizzie Stark, and Josh Malerman. Moderated by two-time Emmy Award-winning journalist Jay Schadler. 

5-6 pm: On the Edge of Our Seats: Writing Suspense and Anticipation
With Caroline Kepnes, Angie Kim, May Cobb, T.M. Dunn, and Gregory Galloway. Moderated by award-winning and bestselling author Gabino Iglesias. 


12-4 pm



Deep-dive, intimate conversations with StoryFest authors and artists, all moderated by Westport’s own Kerstin Warner Rao. 

12-12:30 pm: Rowan MacColl and Connor McCann on Comic Art

1-1:30 pm: Eric LaRocca and Owen Egerton on Writing for the Stage

2-2:30 pm: Gabino Iglesias and Ellen Datlow on Editing Anthologies

3:30-4 pm: Lizzie Stark and Cassadra Khaw on Game Writing


5-6 pm



Clay McLeod Chapman will stage a live recording of his Fearmongers podcast live with Josh Malerman and Stephen Graham Jones.


7-9 pm (Doors: 7 pm; Show: 8 pm)



From Eric LaRocca, the award-winning author of Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke, comes a startling new drama of religion, identity, and violence.


Related Stories:

Legendary Guitarist Gary Lucas Headlines StoryFest 2023 Sunday Finale with Live Guitar Score Accompanying George Melford’s Spanish ‘Dracula’

Pinkalicious Author Victoria Kann to Headline Kids’ Events at StoryFest 2023

Stephen Graham Jones, Eric LaRocca Added to Lineup for StoryFest 2023; Additional Registrations Opening Soon for Keynote Conversation with Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman to Headline StoryFest 2023 at The Westport Library, Serve as Guest Speaker for Fall 2023 Malloy Lecture in the Arts


Pictured at top of page (clockwise from top left): Angie Kim, Josh Malerman, Caroline Kepnes, and Gabino Iglesias

It’s Friday the 13th, just weeks before Halloween, and there’s no better place to celebrate than at The Westport Library — and with Fireside Mystery Theatre.

On October 13 in the Library’s Trefz Forum, Fireside Mystery Theatre, the award-winning audio theatre production company, will premiere Nightfall on the Nutmeg State, a set of original pieces written for The Westport Library.

Fireside Mystery Theatre performs unique shows reminiscent of the old-time radio mysteries of the 1930s. The troupe’s actors will read live on stage, in full costume, each standing in front of a mic and with scripts in hand. The live performance will be recorded and later featured on Fireside Mystery Theatre’s podcast feed, which has reached millions of listeners around the world — bridging the gap between the Golden Age of Radio and the podcast era.

Tickets are $20, and the event serves as the precursor to StoryFest, the Library’s annual literary festival, which runs October 20-22 featuring Neil Gaiman, Angie Kim, Gabino Iglesias, Caroline Kepnes, Eric LaRocca, Josh Malerman, and many more.

“We are so excited to be able to team with the brilliant minds at Fireside Mystery Theatre to bring this special production to the Library,” said Bill Harmer, Westport Library executive director. “They are the perfect partner for a library — delivering storytelling in its purest form, well-timed for Friday the 13th and a week ahead of StoryFest.”

Nightfall on the Nutmeg State is comprised of four unique stories, performed by an ensemble cast with live underscoring and three music performances. The stories are as follows:

  • Old Wolf Put: Long ago, wolves roamed the forests of Connecticut until, one fateful night, the last one was cornered in a dark and ominous cave.
  • The Grave of Midnight Mary: A coven of witches uncover the legend of Midnight Mary Hart, who was buried alive after a swoon (or so they say) and now haunts Evergreen Cemetery. 
  • Little Miss 1565: The true-life nightmare of the 1944 Hartford Circus Fire provides the backdrop for an unsettling, unsolved mystery.
  • The Confession of Amy Archer-Gilligan: The heart-stopping tale (and part of the inspiration behind the classic Arsenic and Old Lace) of a boarding home for the old and infirm and a killer hiding in plain sight. 

Fireside Mystery Theatre invites all to come to this special show: “Thrill to an evening of strange sights, sounds, and stories specially sourced from Connecticut's darkest local myths, mysteries, and legends. Fireside Mystery Theatre's cadre of actors, musicians, and technicians will amaze you as they conjure unforgettable stories etched in sound — where the real meets the fantastic and the ordinary joins the bizarre.”

“We relish in thrilling and chilling our audiences wherever we go,” said Fireside Mystery Theatre presenter and actor Ali Silva. “But we especially look forward to this privilege of hand-delivering to the fine folk of Connecticut a lovingly crafted evening of our peculiar brand of dark and delightful entertainment.”

Led by co-creators and producers Silva and Gustavo Rodriguez, Fireside Mystery Theatre has been lauded by numerous outlets for its inventive storytelling and throwback feel. That includes Popsugar, which called Fireside Mystery Theatre one of the “10 scary podcasts to listen to on a dark and stormy night,” and The New York Times, which cited Fireside Mystery Theatre as one of the top five podcasts to bring into your home when theaters went dark in 2020.

“The episodes feature sound effects, musical acts, and a fully improvised score to bring the nostalgia to its fullest,” noted The New York Times. “Each play also brings a laugh and a chill as the group’s specialty is the eerie and macabre.” 

For more on Fireside Mystery Theatre, visit its website at And click here to purchase tickets to the special event at the Library on Friday, October 13.


Event Information:

Fireside Mystery Theatre — LIVE at The Westport Library!

Friday, October 13

6:30-9 pm

Trefz Forum, The Westport Library

Purchase tickets


Recommended Reading from Fireside Mystery Theatre:

The Devil's Rooming House by M. William Phelps 

Clown: My Life in Tatters and Smiles by Emmett Kelly

Barnum's Own Story: The Autobiography of P. T. Barnum

The Circus Fire: A True Story of an American Tragedy by Stewart O’Nan

The Speculative Fiction of Mark Twain

Legendary Connecticut: Traditional Tales from the Nutmeg State by David E. Philips

This fall, comic art, deconstructed case-bound book boards, and visual mixed media all grace the walls of The Westport Library gallery spaces, collecting the unique works of local artists with national attention including Marc Zaref, Niki Ketchman, Rowan MacColl, and Connor McCann.

Connor McCann's instructive exhibition panel

Coinciding with the Neil Gaiman StoryFest Keynote Conversation and Fall 2023 Malloy Lecture in the Arts lecture (Friday, October 20) is the visual companion in the Sheffer Gallery, Panels & Gutters: The Comic Art of Rowan MacColl and Connor McCann.

The exhibition celebrates the form storytelling in comic art featuring MacColl's and McCann’s illustrations with added panels demonstrating their conceptual and technical process. MacColl and McCann are both recent graduates of Staples High School and the Rhode Island School of Design, navigating the art scene with great success.

Rowan MacColl's process panel for Panels & Gutters: The Comic Art of Rowan MacColl and Connor McCann

MacColl is a comic artist and illustrator whose work has been published in various anthologies and art fairs. MacColl’s latest graphic novel, Who Was Accused in the Salem Witch Trials?: Tituba will be published in September 2023 by Penguin Random House.

McCann is a cartoonist and designer. His critically acclaimed graphic novel God Bless The Machine was published and distributed internationally by Strangers Publishing in 2021, and the highly anticipated follow-up will be released this fall.

The opening reception and artist talk (Thursday, October 19, reception 6-7 pm, artist talk 7-8 pm) will have MacColl and McCann reuniting with their former art teacher, fellow artist, and Westport Artists Collective member Katherine Ross. The conversation will focus on MacColl and McCann’s transition from college to the art world, freelance commissions, the role of social media in art promotion, and their upcoming graphic novels.

Cascade 2023, by multidisciplinary artist Zaref, features a Jesup Gallery site-specific designed installation of recycled, deconstructed case-bound book boards.

“Cascade, along with its description of falling water, is a term in music referencing a progression of notes,” said Zaref. “I took advantage of an unusual feature—a partially open ceiling, a place to begin a cascade, the illusion of an unknown source of the piece—not unlike an underground stream or the mind of a musician.”

The South Gallery hosts Ketchman’s Resinations with mixed media resin 12" x 12" visual works. Over the years, Ketchman has exhibited extensively, including one-person museum exhibitions at the Katonah Museum, the New Britain Museum of American Art, and the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park. Reviews of her work have appeared in The New York Times, Art in America, Sculpture Magazine, and The Boston Globe, among others.

"I start each piece with a 12" x 12" stretched canvas. Then I either paint on the surface of the canvas or adhere a digital print of one of my photos that has often been manipulated in Photoshop,” said Ketchman.

“Once I have the initial image, I spread out many of my materials on a worktable in my studio: fabrics, beads, string, wire, metal ornaments, lace, etc. This is my palette. Once I am satisfied, I pour resin over the whole piece. The resin coating makes the whole piece feel more like an object than a painting or collage. With its shiny and indestructible surface, it is now a Resination."

The two former exhibitions celebrated with an opening reception and artist talk on August 29 moderated by Westport Artist Collective co-founder Miggs Burroughs.

All three exhibitions run through October 25.


Rounding out the art activity at The Westport Library is The Westport Artists Collective “Affordable Art Trunk Show and Sale” on Sunday, October 1, from 11 am to 4 pm in the lower parking lot adjacent to the Library and Jesup Green (Taylor Lot).

Around 40 members of the Artists Collective of Westport will be displaying their artwork out of the trunk of their cars — all for sale at affordable prices. The Artists Collective of Westport is a vibrant group of 150 creative individuals who have joined forces to discuss, create, and develop dynamic experiences for the Fairfield County community. The collective is open to all active artists in pursuit of expanding their careers and in developing a strong, diverse arts community.


Artists pictured at top of page, clockwise from top left: Niki Ketchman, Connor McCann, Rowan MacColl (self portrait), and Marc Zaref

Bruce Springsteen calls him “phenomenal.” Lou Reed said he could watch him “play for hours.” And Jeff Buckley exclaimed, “magical guitarness.”

Gary Lucas, one of the world’s foremost rock guitarists, hits StoryFest 2023 at The Westport Library on Sunday October, 22, from 2 to 4 pm in the Trefz Forum, accompanying George Melford’s 1931 Spanish-Language Dracula film with a live acoustic and electric guitar score.

Just a week before the ramp-up to Halloween 2023, the timely event is open to all ages and is free with registration.

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 will feature the sold-out keynote conversation featuring legendary writer Neil Gaiman, followed Saturday with panel discussions and author conversations, capped by a special reading of Eric LaRocca's new play, Gentle Hacksaw.

In addition to Lucas's performance, Sunday will include a special children's event with Pinkalicious author Victoria Kann and PitchFest at StoryFest, a five-hour paid workshop (12-5 pm) from Bloom Writers' Studio that will provide aspiring authors with an opportunity to speak to literary agents about their book, as well as provide tips on how to find the right literary agent. The event, to be held in the Library's Komansky Room, will be hosted by local authors T.M. Dunn, Marcia Bradley, and Tessa Smith McGovern.

“StoryFest has always been a celebration of all forms and genres of storytelling," said StoryFest co-founder and Westport Library Associate Director of Programming and Events Alex Giannini. “In a year of impressive guests, including authors Neil Gaiman, Caroline Kepnes, and Stephen Graham Jones, I am honored to welcome guitarist Gary Lucas accompanying George Melford’s Spanish-Language Dracula, with what will undoubtedly be a jaw-dropping live guitar score for Halloween season for the StoryFest '23 finale.”

A GRAMMY-nominated songwriter, international recording artist, and (Connecticut connection) Yale graduate, Lucas is best-known for his collaborations with Captain Beefheart and later Jeff Buckley.

With avant composer/vocalist/bandleader Don Van Vilet (Captain Beefheart), Lucas realized his childhood dream of joining Beefheart’s band, recording the seminal Doc at the Radar Station (1980) and Ice Cream for Crow (1982). Esquire wrote of the song "Evening Bell”: "Gary Lucas apparently grew extra fingers in order to negotiate his way through it." These recordings put Lucas on the musical map as a force to be reckoned with and laid the groundwork for his subsequent career.

In 1989, Lucas formed his band Gods and Monsters in a nod to the film Bride of Frankenstein. In 1991, legendary music producer Hal Willner presented a Tim Buckley tribute concert at St. Anne’s Church in Brooklyn featuring the mesmerizing New York debut of Tim's son, Jeff Buckley. Lucas was among the New York music cognoscenti who helped discover Jeff Buckley and launch his career.

Jeff Buckley and Gary Lucas, Coney Island, 1992 (Photo by Chris Buck)

Buckley stayed in New York and joined Gods and Monsters. Lucas composed solo guitar instrumentals for "Rise Up to Be" and "And You Will," which later became the musical templates for "Grace" and "Mojo Pin." Lucas co-wrote these two lead-off tracks with Buckley for his widely popular, critically acclaimed, and heralded album, Grace.

Lucas’s collaborations have included Reed, Leonard Bernstein, John Cale, Patti Smith, Chris Cornell, Bryan Ferry, Nona Hendryx, Los Van Van, Bob Weir, Nick Cave, Thurston Moore, Lukas Ligeti, Martha Wainwright, and many others. Lucas has been dubbed "The Thinking Man's Guitar Hero" (The New Yorker), "The world's most popular avant-rock guitarist" (The Independent), "One of the 100 Greatest Living Guitarists" (Classic Rock), "Legendary leftfield guitarist" (The Guardian), "Guitarist of 1000 Ideas" (The New York Times), "a true axe God" (Melody Maker), and "One of the five best guitarists in the world" (by the national Czech newspaper Lidove Noviny). And British world music magazine fRoots recently described Lucas as "without question, the most innovative and challenging guitarist playing today."

Gary Lucas in action in London at the Jeff Buckley Tribute Upstairs at the Ritzy Brixton 9/10/17
photo by Michael Arkk

Noting that he was thrilled to be pairing with the innovative Verso Studios, Lucas said, “Dracula, King of the Undead and the ne plus ultra in vampires as first immortalized by Bram Stoker in 1897, is one of the most enduring legends in all of horror history, with countless spin-offs both filmic and otherwise.

“For my money, though, no cinematic version quite beats the legendary Spanish-language Dracula, filmed in 1931 at night at Universal Studios in Hollywood on the same sets as Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, which was being filmed during the day—but with a different, all-Latin cast, and an English director. The camera moves more fluidly, the editing rhythms are faster, and the costumes are wilder. 'La Sangre es la Vida, Signor Renfield!'”

This marks the second film accompanied by live score to be featured at Verso Studios at The Westport Library this year, with Psychedelic Cinema’s South: Sir Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance Expedition debuting to a packed and excited audience.

For the full lineup and more information on StoryFest 2023, visit the StoryFest website.

StoryFest Sunday ends with a show-stopping performance by world-class guitar hero and Grammy-nominated songwriter Gary Lucas! With the film running on our giant videowall behind him, Gary will perform the entire score of the classic Spanish version of the Universal Dracula film live on stage. You can't miss this one!


Click here for more on the StoryFest 203, the largest literary festival in Connecticut and one of the biggest in the Northeast.

Check out a sample below!

An international recording artist and a soundtrack composer for film and television, Gary Lucas is on the move in 2023.

The former Captain Beefheart guitarist has recorded more than 50 acclaimed albums to date in his own right in a variety of genres — jazz, rock, classical, folk, blues, avant-garde, and world music—and has performed in more than 40 countries — including the UK, Canada, Australia, all over Eastern and Western Europe, Scandinavia, Israel, South Korea, Serbia, China, Russia, Brazil, Cuba, Colombia, Costa Rica, Taiwan, Morocco, India, and elsewhere.

Gary has received several Lifetime Achievement awards for his songwriting with Jeff Buckley (he co-wrote Jeff's anthems Grace and Mojo Pin) and many honors — including performing solo before the General Assembly of the UN to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

He has performed and collaborated with a who's who of musical luminaries, including Leonard Bernstein, Lou Reed, John Cale, Patti Smith, Chris Cornell, Bryan Ferry, Nona Hendryx, Los Van Van, Bob Weir, Nick Cave, Thurston Moore, Lukas Ligeti, Martha Wainwright, Camille O'Sullivan, Steve Kilbey, and many others, and he has given Masterclasses in guitar and songwriting at Yale University (his alma mater), Columbia University, Rutgers University, the Amsterdam Musik Conservatorium, the Henri Dutilleux Conservatoire in Paris, The New School, and other academic institutions.

Gary has been dubbed "The Thinking Man's Guitar Hero" by The New Yorker, "The world's most popular avant-rock guitarist" by The Independent (UK), "One of the 100 Greatest Living Guitarists" (Classic Rock), "Legendary Leftfield guitarist" by The Guardian (UK), "Guitarist of 1000 Ideas" by The New York Times, "a true axe God" by Melody Maker, and "one of the five best guitarists in the world" by the national Czech newspaper Lidove Noviny.

The British world music magazine fRoots recently described him as "without question, the most innovative and challenging guitarist playing today." Rolling Stone's David Fricke wrote: "Gary Lucas is one of the best and most original guitarists in America...a modern guitar miracle." Best-selling author/producer Dan Levitin (This Is Your Brain On Music) recently cited Gary as "the greatest living electric guitarist." He was also dubbed "one of the world's greatest guitar players" by HITS Magazine.

Pete Frame, music journalist, founder/editor of legendary UK music magazine ZigZag, and author/creator of five volumes of Rock Family Trees said of Gary, "Can there be another musician as adventurous, ingenious, accomplished, diverse, intrepid, hard-working and well-travelled as Gary Lucas?" On Sept. 15, 2021, Rolling Stone published their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time which included Lucas and Buckley’s anthem "Grace" — the title track of Jeff Buckley's 2 million-selling 1994 album.

Quotable quotes about Gary Lucas:

"You're a phenomenal guitarist" —Bruce Springsteen

"Man can play guitar!" —Captain Beefheart

"I could listen to you play for hours, Gary...beyond cool" —Lou Reed

"An incredible guitarist" —Nick Cave

"Man, you were really wailing!" —Leonard Bernstein

"Magical guitarness...I carry Gary in my fingers" —Jeff Buckley

"One of the best and most original guitarists in America...a modern guitar miracle" —Rolling Stone

"The Thinking Man's Guitar Hero…an A-list musician" —The New Yorker

"One of the 100 Greatest Living Guitarists" —Classic Rock Magazine

"One of the world's greatest guitarists" —HITS Magazine

"Legendary left-field guitarist" —The Guardian

"Gary Lucas plays guitar like Salvador Dali paints...guitarist with a global beat." —New York Times

"Can there be another musician as adventurous, ingenious, accomplished, diverse, intrepid, hard-working and well-travelled as Gary Lucas?" —Pete Frame, music journalist, founder/editor of legendary UK music magazine ZigZag, and author/creator of 5 volumes of "Rock Family Trees"

Victoria Kann reading from her book on stage at The Westport Library's Trefz Forum.

Pinkalicious author Victoria Kann in the Library's Trefz Forum last year.

Victoria Kann is returning to the Library to headline the kids’ component of StoryFest 2023 with a Pink or Treat Halloween book reading and parade.

The famed Westporter and Pinkalicious author will read from her book, Pink or Treat, on Sunday, October 22, starting at 10 am. That will be followed by a Pinkalicious Halloween Parade featuring fun giveaways. Kids and their adults are encouraged to dress up and take part in the parade.

The event is free with registration, and there is also an option to purchase a signed copy of Pink or Treat for $15 — as well as signed copies of many other Kann favorites.

The sixth edition of StoryFest, the largest literary festival in Connecticut, runs October 20-22 and features writers of all forms and from all genres. Best-selling author Neil Gaiman kicks off StoryFest 2023 on Friday evening, October 20, in conversation with Stephen Graham Jones. Saturday features a host of author conversations and panel discussions, closing with a staged reading of Eric LaRocca’s new play, Gentle Hacksaw, with additional events to be announced for Sunday.

In addition to the Pink or Treat Halloween Parade, kids’ events at StoryFest will include a picture book reading on the Library steps on Saturday, October 21, starting at 10 am, with assembled picture book authors, and a Monster Lab where kids can make their own 3D Monster Figurine or a Halloween mask. The Moster Lab event runs from 2 to 4 pm, also on Saturday, in the Hub on the Library’s main level.

“Victoria Kann is a Westport treasure and a friend to kids everywhere,” said Mary Parmelee, Westport Library director or youth services. “All of which makes her the perfect guest for our StoryFest children’s celebration. We encourage kids and their caretakers from Fairfield County and beyond to come out for this special event, as well as to join us on Saturday for the picture book reading and the Monster Lab. They’ll be the ideal complement to a can’t-miss sixth edition of StoryFest.”

An award-winning author and illustrator, Kann co-authored and illustrated Pinkalicious and Purplicious as well as the play, Pinkalicious the Musical. She also wrote and illustrated Goldilicious, Silverlicious, Emeraldalicious, Aqualicious, and Peterrific, and many other titles, and is the co-executive producer of Pinkalicious & Peterrific on PBS Kids.

Young readers will Pink or Treat with Victoria Kann!

It’s StoryFest ... and almost Halloween! What better way to start your spooky holiday than with a Pinkalicious Halloween Parade! Pinkalicious author Victoria Kann will read from her book, Pink or Treat, and we’ll have fun giveaways.

Kids are encouraged to come in costume and join the parade.

The event is free to attend. REGISTER YOUR FAMILY HERE. At checkout, there is also an opportunity to purchase signed copies of Pink or Treat and other Pinkalicious books.

Children of  all ages, join us in the Hub, on the Library's main level, for monster crafts, in conjunction with StoryFest 2023. Make a 3D Monster Figurine or a Halloween mask to take home.

It is sure to be a spooktacular time!

The Library is pleased to be able to offer free programs and events through the generous donations of patrons like you. Please consider giving to the Library so that we can continue to offer events like this one. Your donation is tax deductible. Donate now!

In conjunction with StoryFest 2023, join us in Brooks Place for readings from notable children's and young adult authors:

10-10:30 am: Tommy Greenwald
Reading from his new book, The Rescues Finding Home

10:30-11:00 am: Stephen G.  Bowling
Reading from the Mom’s Choice Award-winning picture book, Grandma’s House is Haunted

11:00-11:30 am: Sivan Hong & Sally J. Pla
Reading from the best-selling Super Fun Day book series (Hong) and from The Fire, The Water, and Maudie McGinn (Pla)

The Library is pleased to be able to offer free programs and events through the generous donations of patrons like you. Please consider giving to the Library so that we can continue to offer events like this one. Your donation is tax deductible. Donate now!

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

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