Dan’s Papers Literary Festival 2018: What to Expect at Thursday’s Big Event

2018 Dan's Papers Literary Festival participants Dan Rattiner, Roger Rosenblatt, Joy Behar, Steve Israel
(Clockwise L-R) Dan Rattiner, Roger Rosenblatt, Joy Behar, Steve Israel, Photos: Barbara Lassen, ©PATRICKMCMULLAN.COM

Who will win First Prize of the 2018 Dan’s Papers $10,000 Literary Prize for Nonfiction? Beginning at 4 p.m. on Thursday, August 23, those in attendance at the Dan’s Papers Literary Festival at Guild Hall’s John Drew Theater in East Hampton (158 Main Street) will learn not only the winner, but the runners-up and the judge’s favorites—a total of 12 cash, plaque and trophy winners.

Authors have spent all spring and summer (through August 8) entering this competition, created from an idea by Dan’s Hamptons Media chairman Richard Burns and Dan’s Papers founder Dan Rattiner (me).

Alec Baldwin, one of the supporters of the event, has said this about the competition: “I think if anyone can bring together some of the greatest writers around today on behalf of recognizing new, emerging writers and thus ‘restock the pond,’ to the benefit of all, that would be Dan Rattiner. Rattiner’s contributions to the art of writing and the craft of journalism are legendary.”

During the past six years, the keynote speech at this event has been delivered by the great literary lions and masters of the written word. These have included Tom Wolfe, Robert Caro, Carl Bernstein, Jules Feiffer, E. L. Doctorow, Dava Sobel, Walter Issacson, Gail Sheehy and others.

This year’s keynote speech will be delivered by Roger Rosenblatt, one of America’s great essayists, humorists, memoirists and novelists. He is the bestselling author of five New York Times Notable Books of the Year. He has also won an Emmy, the Robert F. Kennedy Book Prize, two George Foster Peabody Awards, the George Polk award and the Kenyon Review Award for lifetime literary achievement. He’s a long time essayist for Time Magazine.

His PBS News Hour commentary won him an Emmy. Among his award-winning books are Thomas Murphy, The Book of Love, Making Toast, Beet, Kayak Morning and nearly a dozen others. Perhaps his most well known are Lapham Rising, Unless It Moves the Human Heart, Children of War and Rules for Aging. He held the Briggs-Copeland appointment in the teaching of writing at Harvard and is currently the Distinguished Professor of English and Writing at Stony Brook University.

Rosenblatt’s most recent effort is Word for Word, a discussion of the glorious impossibilities of being a writer. He is also a remarkable speaker and can be heard on a podcast here: wshu.org/pos/partner-podcasts#stream/1

The highlight of the afternoon of course is the announcement of the winner of the First Prize who will be brought to the stage to accept a trophy and $5,000 in cash. A second First Prize is offered for the best essay written by an Emerging Young Writer (under 25).

The winning essays are read from the stage. In the past our readers have included Emmy-winner Pia Lindstrom, Academy Award-winners Mercedes Ruehl and Melissa Leo, and three-time Emmy winner and TV host Dick Cavett.

This year, the winner’s essay will be read by Joy Behar, comedian, Emmy Award winner, and co-host of The View, one of the most successful shows on television today.

Behar is also the author of the recently published book The Great Gasbag: An A-Z Study Guide to Surviving Trump World where she expounds on her belief that President Trump is destroying the country. She has acted in many films and TV shows, including Hiding Out, Cookie, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Love Is All There Is, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command and Crisis in Six Scenes, in which she appeared in three episodes.

She’s won an Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host and won the Glaad Media Award for Excellence in Media.

In addition to the awards and these distinguished guests, Behar and former U.S. Congressman Steve Israel—whose latest book, Big Guns, brings the firearms debate to the fictional Hamptons town of Asabogue—join a Fake News vs. Fiction: Can Satire and Serious Writing Survive? panel discussion that cuts to the heart of media and politics and what the future holds for freedom of the press.

Pianist Richard Devens will play a beautiful tribute to Chopin.

After the events onstage, there’s a free garden cocktail party catered by Union Cantina and the annual Literary Luminaries Book Signing, offering a rare chance to meet and get books signed by Behar, Rosenblatt, Israel, Daniel Simone and DanRattiner.

Following all of this, VIPs will join an intimate once-in-a-lifetime dinner with fabulous food and conversation with Dan’s Papers Founder Dan Rattiner and other writers at Serafina in East Hampton. Guests of this dinner will also reserved premium seating for the ceremony, admittance to the Literary Luminaries Book Signing (with a copy of each book) and a VIP gift bag.

The Dan’s Literary Festival is free of charge to attend.

Tickets for the Literary Luminaries book signing and VIP dinner at Serafina in East Hampton are extremely limited and are available now at DansLitPrize.com.

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