THE 26th Annual 2022 FESTIVAL
“The best arguments in the world won't change a person's mind. The only thing that can do that is a good story.”― Richard Powers, The Overstory
The Festival seeks to honor the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald and those of prominent American literary artists and to support, encourage, and assist aspiring and emerging writers and students interested in the literary arts.
To see the short story (To the Measures Fall, from the October 18, 2010 Issue of the New Yorker) that Richard Powers read at the Festival click here. "First read-through: you are biking through the Cotswolds when you come across the thing. Spring of ’63. Twenty-one years old, in your junior year abroad at the University of York, after a spring term green with Chaucer, Milton,Byron, and Swinburne. (Remember Swinburne?) Year One of a life newly devoted to words. Your recent change, of course, has crushed your father. He long hoped that you would follow through on that Kennedy-inspired dream of community service. You, who might have become a first-rate social worker. You, who might have done good things for the species, or at least for the old neighborhood. But life will be books for you, from here on. Nothing has ever felt more preordained....."
“The best arguments in the world won't change a person's mind. The only thing that can do that is a good story.”
― Richard Powers, The Overstory
About the Festival
The F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Festival was established in 1996 to celebrate the centenary of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s birth, in Rockville, Maryland, the city where Fitzgerald, his wife, and his daughter are buried. The Festival seeks to honor the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald and those of prominent American literary artists and to support, encourage, and assist aspiring and emerging writers and students interested in the literary arts. Originally a one-day event, the Festival now includes programs on three or four days. The F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Festival is co-sponsored by the City of Rockville and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference, Inc.
The centerpiece of the Literary Festival is the presentation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Achievement in American Literature to a prominent American writer, who is present to give a reading and a master class. Over the years, many of the most distinguished American literary figures of the last half-century have been honored. The 2021 recipient was John Edgar Wideman. Major events of the 2021 Festival were held on September 17 , September 24, October 21. October 29, and October 30.
On September 17, from 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m., D. Quentin Miller led a discussion of Brothers & Keepers, a memoir written by John Edgar Wideman.
On the evening of September 24, (6 pm -8 pm) Fitzgerald’s 125th birthday, the Festival presented a showing of “Gatsby in Connecticut,” a documentary about Fitzgerald’s time in Westport, Connecticut, and how it influenced the writing of The Great Gatsby, which was followed by a discussion of the film with its producer Robert Williams and Fitzgerald scholar and participant in the film Walter Raubicheck.
On the evening of Oct. 24th, the winner and runners-up in both the adult and student Short Story Contest read from and comment on their stories.
On the evening of October 29 at 8 p.m., the Festival co-sponsored with The Writer’s Center in Bethesda an evening of “Readings in Tribute to John Edgar Wideman.” These activities included morning and afternoon writing workshops designed for both emerging and established fiction and non-fiction writers; a Master Class with John Edgar Wideman; and an Awards Ceremony featuring a reading by John Edgar Wideman.
The 2021 Festival also sponsored two short story contests: a Student Contest open to Montgomery County high school students and an Adult Contest open to residents of Maryland, DC, and Virginia. The winners and two runners-up in each contest were announced and awarded cash prizes at a virtual ceremony in October 2021.
Images from 2022
2022 Keynote Speaker
Alice McDermott has published eight novels and an essay collection, What About the Baby? Some Thoughts on the Art of Fiction. Her eighth novel, The Ninth Hour, was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Critics Circle Award and The 2017 Kirkus Prize for Fiction.