Friday, March 31, 2017

Want to know a fantastic book festival to go to? Long Island's Word Up Lit Festival is amazing and award-winning author, journalist and founder Claudia Gryvatz Copquin is here to talk about it

The phenomenal Claudia Copquin runs the Word Up Festival

I was so happy to be here!

There are tons of book festivals, but what I loved about Word Up was that it was all in one huge auditorium, so whether your were Gail Sheedy or Dave Barry, Barry Dougherty, Alan Zweibel, Cathi Hanauer, or me...we all had the same huge audience. How great is that? I fell in love with Claudia Gryvatz Copquin, an award-winning journalist, author and book lover, who was on top of  every detail, even with her arm in a sling, and she's here to talk to us about the fest.

What gave you the idea for Word Up? How difficult was it to bring it together? 
As an avid reader, I’ve been to literary festivals and book fairs and was always questioning why we didn’t have these on Long Island.  We have great indie bookstores and libraries, so I know there are other readers here, as well as people who want to meet authors and see them reading their works on a stage.  Also, a few of my writer friends and I had begun touring around Long Island, Manhattan and even Brooklyn, reading our personal essays under the name, “Living, Out Loud: Writers Riff on Love, Sweat & Fears.”  Those readings were very well received, so that was the impetus for creating a larger forum and a broader event, which became Word Up: Long Island LitFest.  The first year we were strictly a non-fiction event, but we have since opened it up to fiction, so our audiences could enjoy seeing writers like you!  In terms of difficulty, I have an amazing and giving Advisory Board on hand. But this is really a labor of love so I enjoy the whole challenge of putting together a festival each year. 
I was amazed at the crowd, and the warmth and the camaraderie of everyone. How did that come about so easily? 
That’s organic. The audience is well read and cultured and interested in ideas and so they really appreciate this unique event on Long Island.  I think the vibe also comes from our motto:  This is a day to disconnect from gadgets and connect with each other via the written and spoken word. 
What is the best experience you've had from Word Up? 

There are so many!  Of course, it’s a thrill for me to meet authors and get to schmooze with them all day behind-the-scenes.  These are my heroes, so what a perk!  But I also really value audience input. People stop me in the lobby at LitFest and tell me face-to-face what a great time they are having, and how fantastic it is to have this event going on and how great the authors are – that immediate feedback is priceless, and is what keeps me going!
Can I ask what was the worst? 

Sure.  I think the worst was our first year. Dick Cavett was our keynote and we had Susan Isaacs, Arlene Alda, Henry Alford, Julie Klam and other incredibly talented writers, and it took place at the end of May.  Well, we were in a historic castle on the North Shore of Long Island and the air conditioner broke.  There was about 120% humidity that day and the venue didn’t have enough fans on hand so you can imagine the angst…..
What's obsessing you now and why? 

Do you mean in general or in regards to Long Island LitFest? In general, I’m obsessed with the news. Where are we heading …??   In regards to LitFest, I’m obsessed with starting the process all over again of booking best-selling authors for LitFest 2018! 
What question didn't I ask that I should have!  

Well, I want to include that in addition to our signature event, a full day of author readings, book signings and workshops, we also host single-author events throughout the year under “Long Island LitFest Presents…”  In November we hosted Wally Lamb and in December Alice Hoffman.  We are hosting Anna Quindlen on June 8 at Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington and there will be more as the year progresses so I invite your readers to subscribe to our website for up-to-date info on these great events.  

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