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.
Kingsolver was named one of the most important writers of the twentieth century by Writer’s Digest. In 2000 she received the National Humanities Medal.
Clint Smith is a writer, teacher, and Emerson Fellow at New America. He is the author of the poetry collection, Counting Descent, and the forthcoming nonfiction book How the Word Is Passed. Read more...
All 2020 Fitzgerald Festival Workshops will be conducted virtually on Saturday, October 3. The fee for each workshop will be $25 and registration will be limited.
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 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 2020 recipient is Barbara Kingsolver. The 2020 Festival will be held virtually, with events on September 24, October 2, and October 3.
On the evening of October 2 at 8 p.m., the Festival will co-sponsor with Politics & Prose Bookstore a reading by Barbara Kingsolver from her new book, How to Fly (in Ten Thousand Easy Lessons). The activities on October 3 include morning and afternoon writing workshops designed for both emerging and established fiction and non-fiction writers; a Master Class with Barbara Kingsolver; a talk on “F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Rockville” by historian Eileen McGuckian; and an Awards Ceremony featuring a reading by Barbara Kingsolver.
The 2020 Festival also sponsors 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 will be announced and awarded cash prizes at a virtual ceremony on the evening of September 24, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 124th birthday. That evening’s activities will also feature a conversation on “Gatsby Set Loose in the Public Domain: What’s Next?” with Kirk Curnutt, Executive Director of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society, James L. W. West III., General Editor Emeritus of The Cambridge Edition of the Works of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Jackson R. Bryer, President of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society.
2020 Keynote Speaker & Special Guest
Clint Smith is a writer, teacher, and Emerson Fellow at New America. He is the author of the poetry collection, Counting Descent, and the forthcoming nonfiction book How the Word Is Passed. His writing has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review and elsewhere. He received his B.A. from Davidson College and a Ph.D. from Harvard University.
September 17 Completed Event
6:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Book Club Discussion: Barbara Kingsolver's Unsheltered
Hosted by Montgomery County Public Libraries Twinbrook Branch.
September 24 Completed Event -Click on video replay below
6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Presentation of the Winner and Runners-Up in the F. Scott Fitzgerald Student Short Story
Davina T. Smith
Presentation of the Winner and Runners-Up in the F. Scott Fitzgerald Short Story Contest
7:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Panel Discussion: "Gatsby at Large in the Public Domain: What's Next?"
Jackson R. Bryer
James L. W. West III
8:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Barbara Kingsolver reading from her new book, How to Fly (in Ten Thousand Easy Lessons)
Co-sponsored with Politics & Prose Bookstore
Morning Workshops (For registered people)
Tara Campbell: "It's All About Us: Diversity in Speculative Fiction" (Fiction)
Margaret Talbot: "Making Memoir Matter" (Non-Fiction)
Mary Kay Zuravleff: "How Far Can One Word Take You?" (Fiction)
9:00 - 10:30 a.m.
Making Meaning: Your Words Matter
10:50 - 11:00 a.m. (NO registration needed)
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Roberta S. Mandrekas, President, F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference, Inc.
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m (NO registration needed)
Master Class on writing
1:00 - 1:30 p.m. (No registration needed)
1:30 - 3:00 p.m. (No registration needed)
Recognition of Montgomery County High School Fitzgerald Scholars
Davina T. Smith
Introduction of Barbara Kingsolver
Presentation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature
Roberta S. Mandrekas
Acceptance and Reading
3:30 - 5:00 p.m.
Afternoon Workshops (For registered people)
Caroline Bock: "Exploring Home" (Fiction)
Tope Folarin: "Creating a Template for Success: On the Importance of Structuring Narratives" (Fiction)
E. Ethelbert Miller: "Writing the Memoir During a Period of Climate Change and Personal Transformation" (Non-Fiction)
3:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Student Master Class with Barbara Kingsolver
3:30 - 5:00 p.m.
Creating More Inclusive Reading Experiences: Moving Toward Antiracism in the Classroom
3:15 - 4:15 p.m.
Illustrated Talk: "F. Scott Fitzgerald's Rockville: Rockville in the 1920s"