Saturday, August 13, 2022

2022 Kickass Writers Festival set for Aug.19 & 20, Adirondack Explorer Editor James Odato signs on as panelist

Saranac Lake, NY—On August 19th & 20th, the Adirondack Center for Writing (ACW) will present the first annual Kickass Writers Festival, featuring writers, poets, comedians, mountaineers, and more. The festival will take place across various locations all over Saranac Lake and will include readings, workshops, talks, publishing programs, special performances, a book fair, speed dating, and more. The Kickass Writers Festival celebrates how writing and storytelling–in all of their forms–are essential to art, entertainment, and social change.


The two-day event will kick-off Friday, 8/19 at Pendragon Theater with the 2021-2022 New York State Poet, WILLIE PERDOMO. Perdomo will be joined by guest author and member of our visiting faculty, GWEN KIRBY, author of SHIT CASSANDRA SAW.


On Saturday, 8/20 ACW will present mountaineer, memoirist, entrepreneur, and humanitarian, SILVIA VASQUEZ-LAVADO, the first Peruvian woman to climb Mt. Everest, and the first openly gay woman to climb The Seven Summits (the highest mountains on each of the 7 continents). Her debut memoir, In the Shadow of the Mountain tells the story of how an early life of abuse and addiction led her to discover hiking as a method of healing. These pursuits transformed her life and empowered her to not only climb the world’s most challenging summits, but also to found the non-profit, Courageous Girls “...dedicated to healing and empowering survivors of violence and abuse through adventures in nature.” Her memoir is currently being adapted into a major motion picture starring Selena Gomez.


Saturday afternoon will include publishing panels, manuscript consultations, literary arts workshops, and a reading featuring North Country authors from all over the Adirondack region. Adirondack Explorer Editor James Odato will serve as a featured panelist for the festival’s segment called “Learn It from a Local: Publishing in the North Country.” In a journalism career rooted in watchdog reporting, James M. Odato has been cited as one of New York’s top news hounds covering state government, gambling, and abuse and waste of public money. As a staff reporter for five daily newspapers, including the Albany Times Union and Buffalo News, Odato has received more than 30 awards from the Associated Press, New York Publishers Association, New York Legislative Correspondents Association and other media organizations.

“Learn It from a Local: Publishing in the North Country” will take place from 11 am to noon at the ACW on Saturday, August 20. Attendees will have the opportunity to get the scoop on publishing in regional magazines like Adirondack Explorer, Adirondack Life, and Adirondack Review. Interested parties are encouraged to reserve their spots soon as classes are beginning to sell out. Click here for more information about the festival and to register online. 

James M. Odato, Adirondack Explorer Editor

The festival will close Saturday evening with an installment of North Country’s favorite storytelling event, The Howl Story Slam. Hosted by comedian GREG BARRIS, who will also open the show with a stand-up set, this event offers anyone the chance to tell a short, true, unscripted story live before an audience. The Adirondack Center for Writing is located at 15 Broadway in Saranac Lake. Call (518) 354-1261 for more information. 

ACW website photo.

Photo at top: ACW website photo.


Related Stories

Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *