LOCATION

The festival’s official bookseller, The Ivy Bookshop welcomes a full complement of local and national bestselling authors as well as student writers from ten Baltimore-area schools.

The Ivy Bookshop Stage




Sign up for the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts e-newsletter to keep up-to-date on Baltimore Book Festival announcements.

Stage: Sondheim Fountain, Next to the Baltimore Visitor Center, 401 Light Street, Baltimore, MD 21202



Friday, September 28




6PM

Maya Alexandri presents The Plague Cycle

Maya Alexandri’s new novel, The Plague Cycle, delivers a cycle of linked short stories that unfold during a devastating world-wide epidemic, as experienced by aid workers in an unnamed African country. A stunning fast-paced work that encompasses despair and hope and, above all, resilience, these stories are, in the words of Jessica Anya Blau, “like modern day fairy tales.” Alexandri is the author of a novel, The Celebration Husband, and numerous short stories.  Her story, “Ann Noni Mini,” was nominated for a 2018 Pushcart Prize. 

Event Details



Saturday, September 29




12PM

David Zurawik

Join Baltimore Sun’s TV/media critic, David Zurawik, for a vital hour of cultural conversation. David’s sharp focus on the media—warts and all—is regularly featured on national TV networks, such as CNN and FOX, as well as on his popular blog “Z on TV.”  His columns have appeared in The Sun since 1989 and are now syndicated, appearing in the LA Times and other newspapers. When he’s not writing, he’s serving as a communications and media studies assistant professor at Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.

Event Details

1PM

Ed Doyle-Gillespie and Friends

Ed Doyle-Gillespie
Ed Doyle-Gillespie is a man of many roles – poet, history teacher, and Baltimore City police officer. During this hour, he’ll share the stage with a number of his favorite writers in Baltimore. Doyle-Gillespie teaches ethics, community policing, and various other subjects at Baltimore’s police academy. His poetry has been published in journals in the US, UK and Finland, and he’s the author of two collections Masala Tea and Oranges and On the Later Addition of Sancho Panza.

Jenny O’Grady
Native of the Eastern Shore, Jenny O’Grady writes and makes book sculptures in Baltimore. She is editor of UMBC Magazine. She taught book arts and electronic publishing as an adjunct professor in the University of Baltimore’s Creative Writing and Publishing Arts MFA program (2008-2012), where she earned her MFA in 2006. Previously, she worked as a community newspaper reporter, following in the footsteps of her mother, and also at a culinary school.

She is editor of a quarterly ekphrasis journal called The Light Ekphrastic. Since February 2010, TLE has paired writers and visual artists from all over the world to create new works online.The Baker Artist Awards named Jenny a 2013 b-Grant winner for her book arts.

Shirley Brewer
Shirley J. Brewer graduated from careers in bartending, palm-reading and speech therapy. She serves as poet-in-residence at Carver Center for the Arts & Technology in Baltimore. Her poems garnish BarrowStreet, Poetry East, Slant, Gargoyle, Comstock Review, and many other journals. Shirley’s poetry chapbooks include A Little Breast Music, 2008, Passager Books and After Words, 2013, Apprentice House. In 2017, Main Street Rag released her first full-length collection of poems, Bistro in Another Realm. Shirley was awarded the first Creativity Award for Excellence in Plorking (Play + Work) from the University of Baltimore, where she earned her Master’s degree in Creative Writing/Publishing Arts. Her definition of shame is a bare wrist.

Event Details

2PM

Ben Fountain presents Beautiful Country Burn Again: Democracy, Rebellion, and Revolution in Conversation with Eileen Rivers

New York Times best-selling author Ben Fountain will read from his newest book, Beautiful Country Burn Again, which is a work of sweeping reportage. In a sequence of essays set in 2016, he recounts a surreal year of politics, moving from caucuses to conventions to the aftershocks of the stunning election.  Fusing history and the present day, Fountain argues that the United States may require a “burning” of the old order as we attempt to remake ourselves. An award-winning fiction writer, Fountain’s work includes the best-selling Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.

Event Details

3:30PM

Michael Downs presents The Strange and True Story of Horace Wells, Surgeon Dentist

In his newest novel, The Strange and True Story of Horace Wells, Surgeon Dentist, Michael Downs imagines the motivations and mysteries behind the true story of Horace Wells, the dentist who first used laughing gas as a surgical anesthetic. Wells’ discovery would change the world, reshaping medicine and humanity’s relationship with pain. And it would change his own life, too. A former newspaper reporter, Downs is an associate professor of English at Towson University. Among his awards are fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Maryland State Arts Council, and the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance. He lives and writes in Baltimore.

Event Details

5PM

Mason Jar Press Presents

Mason Jar Press is dedicated to finding new and exciting work by writers who push the bounds of literary norms. This year, The Ivy Stage is excited for Mason Jar to present:

Erin Dorney, I Am Not Famous Anymore: Poems After Shia LaBeouf  
Erin Dorney’s writing has been featured in numerous digital and printed literary publications, such as Juked, Hobart, Paper Darts, The Found Poetry Review, The Pinch, Painted Bride Quarterly, and Birdfeast. Her newest collection of poetry, I Am Not Famous Anymore: Poems After Shia LaBeouf, has been published by Mason Jar Press. Erin is the recipient of numerous grants and writer-in-residency awards and was  the first Modern Worker: Writer in Residence at Modern Art in Lancaster, PA.

Erin is one half of FEAR NO LIT, curator of the "From the Desk of..." series at Real Pants, former poetry editor for Third Point Press, founder emeritus of The Triangle, and a former assistant professor and outreach librarian. Since 2014 she has been a volunteer with VIDA: Women in Literary Arts.

celeste doaks, Not Without Our Laughter: Poems of Humor, Joy & Sexuality
Poet and journalist celeste doaks is the author of Cornrows and Cornfields, Wrecking Ball Press, UK, March 2015. She’s the editor (and contributor in) of the poetry anthology Not Without Our Laughter: Poems of Humor, Joy, & Sexuality, Mason Jar Press, May 2017. Cornrows was listed as one of the “Ten Best Books of 2015” by Beltway Quarterly Poetry. Her poem “For the Chef at Helios…” received a 2015 Pushcart Prize nomination.
celeste’s multiple accolades include a 2017 Rubys Grant in Literary Arts and a Lucille Clifton Scholarship to attend Squaw Valley Writers Workshop. Her journalism has appeared in the Huffington Post, Village Voice, Time Out New York, and QBR (Quarterly Black Book Review).Her poems have been published in multiple on-line and print publications, such as the Chicago Quarterly Review, Asheville Poetry Review, Bayou Magazine and Beltway Poetry Quarterly. She holds an MFA from North Carolina State University and is the 2017-2018 Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Delaware.

Anthony Moll, Out of Step
Anthony Moll is a Baltimore-based writer and educator. He writes about Queer life and occasionally reviews books for both national and local publications. His creative work has appeared in Gertrude Journal, Assaracus, jubilat and more. Anthony holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts and has taught writing at both public and private universities.

Anthony is the winner of the 2017 Non/Fiction Collection Prize from The Journal and Ohio State University Press for his memoir Out of Step. His 2015 chapbook, a collection of poems entitled Go to the Ant, O Sluggard, is available now from Akinoga Press.

Victoria Zelvin, Broken Metropolis: Queer Tales of a City That Never Was
Victoria Zelvin is a writer living and working in Washington D.C. Her speculative short fiction has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Shoreline of Infinity, and numerous anthologies including Broken Metropolis: Queer Tales of a City That Never Was from Mason Jar Press, Love Hurts from Meerkat Press, Love and Bubbles from Jaylee James, and others. She is a graduate of Roanoke College's inaugural Creative Writing program and lives with two cats who have taken over her social media. Her work can be found at: victoriazelvin.com.

Event Details



Sunday, September 30




12PM

Marty Azola presents Rebuilding Baltimore

The Azola family has spent the last fifty years renovating some of Baltimore’s most historically important structures, from17th century log cabins to multi-storied skyscrapers. These include the Pimlico Race Track Clubhouse, the Bromo-Seltzer Building, the Ivy Hotel and many others. Each represents an important time and place, in our city’s history. Marty Azola’s new book, Rebuilding Baltimore, is a remarkable exploration of this historic preservation. Several important chapters of Baltimore’s history are told through twenty-six diverse projects.

Event Details

1:30PM

Dan Fesperman presents Safe Houses

In this gripping new work of suspense from the author of The Double Game, a young woman discovers a nefarious truth at the heart of the CIA’s operations in postwar Berlin and goes on a run for her life. Years later she’s gruesomely murdered along with her husband, and her daughter begins to chase down these startling secrets from her past. Dan Fesperman is a former reporter for The Baltimore Sun and the author of several thrillers. His travels as a writer have taken him to 30 countries and three war zones, which he draws on for his intensely engaging novels. 

Event Details

3PM

The University Writers Program

Baltimore is a city filled with remarkable universities and colleges, most of which include a vibrant creative writing program. We’re lucky to have these hubs of creativity in our community. The University Writers’ Program, now in its fourth year, brings together student writers from ten area schools – Coppin, Goucher, Johns Hopkins, Loyola, MICA, Morgan, Stevenson, Towson, the University of Baltimore, and UMBC. The next generation of poets, fiction writers and memoirists awaits you!

Event Details



View Full Bookfest Schedule


Volunteer Information

Thank You, Sponsors!