Journalists to talk reporting in the age of Trump

Also at the inaugural Deep Water Festival, a free marathon reading of 'The Odyssey' by acclaimed authors, actors and artists

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  • Masha Gessen will appear on a panel of journalists with Nina Burleigh and Andrea Bernstein (Photo provided)

  • Emily Wilson will kick off readings of her new translation of “The Odyssey” (Photo provided)

— The river town of Narrowsburg, N.Y., plays host to the Deep Water Literary Fest, a three-day celebration of the written word taking place this weekend.

Narrowsburg will be transformed into a creative hub with book lovers, writers for the inaugural event, June 15-17, which incorporates four aspects of the arts through readings, theater, film, and the visual arts. It features some of America’s most exciting writers and artists.

Presented in association with the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance, the staging of the festival has been created by Aaron Hicklin, founder of the bookstore, One Grand Books in Narrowsburg.

Reporting in the age of TrumpA panel of writers will discuss the art of reporting in the age of Trump. They include:

Masha Gessen, a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of the 2017 National Book Award-winning "The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia," as well as "The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin," and "Brothers: The Road to An American Tragedy."

Nina Burleigh, a journalist for Newsweek and author of the forthcoming "Queens of Trumpland."

Andrea Bernstein is the Peabody Award-winning co-host of the Trump, Inc. Podcast and senior editor at WNYC radio.

Marathon OdysseyDeep Water's centerpiece is a marathon reading of “The Odyssey,” drawing on a new translation by Emily Wilson, who will kick off the first of 23 half-hour readings on Saturday morning. (In a separate event on Friday, Wilson will also talk about her process.) The relay-style readings will take place in venues around the town, from a 150-year-old Lutheran church, to a natural amphitheater overlooking the Big Eddy, the deepest point of the Delaware River.

“I can’t think of a more peaceful setting for people who enjoy books than this gorgeous town on the edge of the western Catskills, above the beautiful Delaware River," Hicklin said. "What better text to launch our festival than a fantastic tale about one man’s epic journey back to his island kingdom?”

Readers include local resident Mark Ruffalo ("Spotlight," "The Normal Heart," "The Avengers"), Becky Ann Baker (Loreen Horvath in "Girls"), Dylan Baker ("Homeland," "The Good Wife"), Booker Prize-winner Marlon James, as well as local theater company NACL, and legendary performance artist Penny Arcade, among many others. Actor and artist, Tilda Swinton, pre-recorded book ten, featuring the legendary sea nymph Circe.

In addition, a group of artists including Andrew Ondrejcak, Kameron Neal, Kristin Worrall, will build installations and create videos to accompany the readings.

Each participant will receive a “passport” listing each chapter of “The Odyssey,” for which they receive a souvenir stamp confirming attendance. Each reading will run for approximately 30 minutes, with attendees moving to a new venue each hour. The event is free.

"I want to make sure everyone can appreciate the rich heritage of storytelling, and the ways in which narrative dominates so much in our culture, not just books, but music, art, and film, too," said Hicklin. "Author events are great, but there are other ways to experience the power of stories. That’s partly why the event is hosted on a donation basis, with Penny Arcade being the ticket-only event of the extensive program.”

As further homage to Homer’s enduring work, four quotes from “The Odyssey” — "The Wine Dark Sea," "Sleep Delicious and Profound," "A Shuttle Made Of Gold," and "Who Moved My Bed" — will illuminate windows along Main Street. Designed in contrasting colors, the signs were created by the Brooklyn-based company Moon Sign under artistic direction by Catherine Chesters. The event will end with a dinner and celebration.

StorytellingAlso at the festival will be A.M. Homes to discuss her new collection of short stories, "Days of Awe." She is the author of the novels "This Book Will Save Your Life," "Music For Torching," "The End of Alice," "In a Country of Mothers," and "Jack."

Celebrating her 50th year on the stage, New York’s downtown legend Penny Arcade brings her hit show, "Longing Lasts Longer," to the festival.

The full schedule and reservations are available at Some venues have limited seating.

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