Imagine a literary carnival throughout the day with theatrical skits, poetry readings, children’s story time and local author book readings and book signings. Such is the Celebration of Words, to be held Aug. 17 at the Mandeville Barnes and Nobles, 34144 U.S. 190.
Behind the event are Pamela Ewan Lott and Eve Brower, two noteworthy personalities in the north shore’s literary community. Lott is co-founder and president of the Northshore Literary Society, a nonprofit formed in 2007. Brower is a board member and the society’s secretary.
The NLS formed to support literary endeavors through social and educational events. Writers are invited to attend the group’s lively bi-monthly soirees, and last year, the society created Celebration of Words, a unique venue held in cooperation with the Mandeville bookstore.
The second annual Celebration of Words will take place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. How they arrived at such an ambitious endeavor is a result of the duo’s varied backgrounds.
A New Orleans native, Lott settled in Mandeville in 2004 after retiring from a successful law career with the international law firm in Houston. Her first book, “Faith on Trail,” was published in 1999 and gained national press. Under the pen name Pamela Binning Ewan, she has published five books with B&H Publishing, earned several awards and is scheduled to release a new book, “An Accidental Life,” on Sept. 1. Lott was recognized as Literary Artist of the Year in 2009 at the St. Tammany Parish President’s Arts Awards.
Perhaps her writing talents are genetic, as she comes from a long line of talented writers. Her cousin James Lee Burke penned the novel “White Cove At Morning” and the Dave Robicheaux series. A photo on Lott’s website introduces a smiling Lott and the writing and movie credits of relatives, including Academy Award nominations.
Eve Brower moved from Chicago to Covington in 2007 and credits her move to the community’s rich literary culture. Growing up in Chicago, she was influenced by a home filled with artistic pursuits; her mother is still a voracious reader at the age of 99.
Brower’s interests never veered far from writing, having worked with public relations and advertising firms.
“I like the old fashioned art of crafting sentences, playing with syntax and construction, exploring language and the subtle differences in words,” she said. “But lately, I’ve come to love the economy and efficiency of poetry, creating meaning through the sounds of words, line breaks, implied comparisons and all the overt and covert devices that poetry can employ.”
Today, her literary works focus on lauded poetry and short stories. She was named the 2012 St. Tammany Parish Literary Artist of the Year. She is a member of the creative writing group the Inklings, and her work appears in their latest publication. Her contacts with the Inklings introduced her to NLS.
Brower enjoys another creative endeavor called Poets Alive, which she calls an avenue for poets to give literal voice to their works. The group has held readings in various locations including Christ wood and Barnes & Noble.
The group credits the late Anna Marie Captor, a manager at Barnes & Noble and an ambitious NLS board member, for bringing artistic events to the bookstore. It was at a Poets Alive presentation at the store that Brower remembers, “It occurred to me that we could build on that activity, start early in the morning and run mini-events all day long.” This was the inspiration for a Celebration of Words.
“We’re going to build on the best from last year’s event,” Brower said. “There will be no charge for the presentations, and this year we will include a free raffle for a Nook.”
Jennifer and Shawn Patterson of Creative Arts of St. Tammany will kick off the day with a real-life play for young children, including autographs from the actors.
The children also can enjoy story hour and meeting the actual authors who wrote the books.
Last year, many crowded around the authors, eager for autographs.
High school students who represented their schools in the recent Poetry Out Loud competition will recite their winning entries. The author’s circle will feature local authors in readings and book signings.
Up-and-coming writers will read short excerpts from their works-in-progress.
Author and storyteller Michelle Thirstiest will lead young children in a Pied Piper dance through the aisles, as she tells them the tales of “Juju the Good Voodoo Doll.” Later in the evening, Poet’s Alive authors will introduce their original works.
For details, visit www.northshoreliterarysociety.com.
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