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Authors to take center stage on the Green

WESTFIELD – From history and fiction to memoirs and dark fantasy, the WhipCity Wordsmiths Book Show on the Green promises something for everyone on May 23.

“Area residents will have the wonderful opportunity to engage with the authors and purchase their books,” said Cheryl Crowe, a board member of ArtWorks of Westfield. “There will be authors of all ages and backgrounds of writing, something for everyone.”

The book show is planned from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. with a rain date of June 6.

ArtWorks of Westfield members are hosting the show which is being coordinated by Susan Buffum, who serves as the organization’s literary liaison and is a board member. Buffum and her daughter, Kelly Buffum, are cofounders of the WhipCity Wordsmiths, a social and support group for writers.

“This is the first stand-alone show for the authors, giving them a day to shine in our community,” said Crowe.

Since the summer of 2017, members of the WhipCity Wordsmiths group have gathered as an informal group.

“The group is welcoming to all writers and supportive of all members,” said Buffum, noting she suggested this literary event earlier this year during an ArtWorks of Westfield strategic planning meeting.

“The literary presence in Westfield has grown significantly since the first Articulture event in 2016 when we had six authors,” said Buffum, adding by 2020 there were 21 authors onboard for Articulture including authors from Hampshire and Franklin counties.

“COVID derailed the event,” said Buffum. “Several of the Hampshire and Franklin County authors and publishers will join us at the May 23 event.”

As part of the festivities, ArtWorks members will also have a tent set up with details about membership, and encourage community members to share ideas on cultural arts events they would like to see.

“We will also seek donations for the Westfield Is Fantastic mural project as well as share other planned 2021 events,” said Buffum.

Buffum said that all health department and CDC rules regarding the COVID-19 pandemic will be observed to ensure the safety of everyone attending the free event.

“I feel that local authors should have a connection to the community in which they live and work,” said Buffum. “Reading is still a means to escape from the rigors and stresses of day-to-day life. To be able to suspend belief, to be able to step into another world created in the imagination of an author/writer and experience a story is magical.”

Buffum shares some insight about the authors who are set to participate in the book show including:

  • Katherine Anderson, author and publisher (Otherwords Press), publishes “all things dark, mysterious, and historically significant,” said Buffum.
  • Rhonda Boulette, author and illustrator, writes and illustrates children’s books under Flitten Fairytales and is working on an adult memoir.
  • Kelly Buffum, author, writes paranormal and fantasy novels and short stories.
  • Mimi Caban is the author of “Binge Visioning Techniques” and is working on other projects.
  • Glen Ebisch is a “prolific author,” notes Buffum, adding he has written “multiple mystery series.”
  • Judith Foard-Giucastro has written fiction, a holiday memoir, and just published a new memoir.
  • Richard Wayne Horton is the current Beat Poet Laureate of Massachusetts and a Pushcart nominee, notes Buffum. “He tells enigmatic, often dream-like stories that deliver some form of direct experience to the listener,” said Buffum, adding he has several books in print.
  • Wallace Johnson is the author of six books published under New Mystic Publishing.
  • Grace Kuhn will be promoting her mystery novel “Knox Hollow-Mystery on Mayflower.” “Grace is a newer member of the WhipCity Wordsmiths and has been speaking about writing at local schools, inspiring young writers,” said Buffum.
  • Ryan McCarthy has written and illustrated a series of manga books. “He’s a talented cartoonist who will do commissioned work upon request,” said Buffum. “Ryan is an industry in and of himself with a variety of add-ons that can be purchased to go with his book series.”
  • Elizabeth MacDuffie is the founding editor of the Meat for Tea: The Valley Review magazine. “Meat for Tea publishes the work of the artists, writers, and musicians living in western Massachusetts and beyond,” said Buffum, adding that MacDuffie is also a poet and author of short stories.
  • Tenzi Moscato writes dark fantasy. “Her ‘The Blood Prophecy’ series is currently rocking the vampire genre with its unique take on ancient vampires residing among us in the contemporary world of today,” said Buffum.
  • Paul Richmond is a poet and publisher (Human Error Publishing), and was named Beat Poet Laureate of Massachusetts from 2017-2019, and National Beat Poet Laureate of USA from 2019-2021. “Paul is a Pushcart Prize nominee,” said Buffum, adding, “He is a political poet with a great sense of humor. His deadpan delivery is killer.”
  • Ayden Rogalski is Westfield’s youngest published author, notes Buffum. “Ayden is 12 and began writing when he was much younger,” she said. “Ayden loves history, his hometown, and homesteading and has written books on these subjects.” Buffum also noted that he has branched out into writing fiction with his book “The Monster in my Basement.”
  • Robert W. Thompson is a children’s author and illustrator. He has written and illustrated many children’s books and a middle grade novel, “Tracks.” “He’s a marvelous storyteller,” said Buffum.
  • Luis Manuel Torres has written short stories and had his work published in anthologies. He writes fantasy and has a short story collection called Midnight Animals that was published in 2020.
  • Jeff VanOudenhove is currently working on new novels in his recently published dark fantasy series which includes “Dark Place” and “Dark Lane.”
  • Melissa Volker’s debut novel in 2010 received accolades from MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellow Award poet Alice Fulton, notes Buffum. “Since then she has written a handful of novels and short story collections that include literary fiction, surreal/magical YA fiction, and reflections on the writing process,” said Buffum.
  • Buffum will showcase her writings that include ghost stories, paranormal, fantasy, contemporary cross genre novels and short stories. She is also an artist in pen and ink and colored pencil.

“Storytelling has been around since people began communicating in oral languages with one another,” said Buffum. “We all tell stories every day when we talk with family and friends.”

Buffum noted that authors have the ability to tell fictional stories to entertain and enlighten others.

“Part of the mission of the WhipCity Wordsmiths is to encourage and support young writers on their journey toward being published,” said Buffum. “Anyone who wants to write is welcome to join the WhipCity Wordsmiths.”

For more information on the group, send an email to [email protected] or visit the blog – and download an application form. The group also has a Facebook page and currently meets monthly over the Zoom platform.

“Western Massachusetts has a rich history of being the home of talented writers and that is still true today,” said Buffum. “The WhipCity Wordsmiths group collaborates with ArtWorks of Westfield to showcase the literary talent in Westfield and surrounding communities.”

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