By Janelle Fisher
City Pages Editor
In 2017, UntitledTown hosted its first weekend-long book and author festival, drawing in readers and writers alike for panel discussion, author readings, book signings and workshops.
That weekend-long festival was thwarted by the pandemic, but UntitledTown organizers have found a way to keep the spirit of the organization alive.
“UntitledTown was originally a separate 501c3 organization that was started several years ago and ended up having a big book and author festival over a weekend,” Sherrill Revolinski, board president for the Friends of the Brown County Library, said. “When the fourth year was going to happen, COVID hit and kind of put everything on hold…. In part of a discussion of the synergies of the Brown County Library and the volunteers that were running UntitledTown, we made the decision to fold UntitledTown, the actual 501c3, into the Friends of the Brown County Library.”
With that change, Revolinski said, also came a change in the programming offered by UntitledTown.
“We kind of took a step back,” she said. “Trying to do a weekend-long book and author festival takes a lot of resources. Coming out of COVID and reconfiguring UntitledTown a bit, it just made more sense to do smaller events… Maybe eventually we’ll be able to lead up to a full weekend again — that’s the ultimate goal — but we are planning to have at least one event every month.”
Sept. 16, UntitledTown put on a workshop focused on memoir writing and journaling.
In the upcoming months, Revolinski said UntitledTown plans to hold workshops/events focused on obituary and grief writing, fiction writing and poetry.
Revolinski said that in addition to those monthly workshops, UntitledTown organizers are also working on events with the Brown County Library — some of which tie back to the early days of UntitledTown.
“We’re really focusing on workshops and local authors and then authors that are universally recognized,” she said. “R. L. Stein, if you’re familiar with his works — he’s the author of Goosebumps — he’s coming to Pop Con, which is a program the library puts on, but it’s sponsored by the Friends and we’re actually sponsoring him coming in, so that’s going to be really exciting. He was actually at one of the original UntitledTown events, maybe the second year… So we’re bringing him back, free, which is kind of one of our key points.”
Keeping writing and reading free and accessible is one of the main goals of UntitledTown.
“That’s really what the focus of UntitledTown is — trying to bring back that universal ability for anyone to come to an event and for anyone to be a part of an event,” she said. “Anybody can read. Everybody likes to reed — at least I think they do, or if they don’t, they should. We’re really trying to keep things affordable for everyone in our community.”
Revolinski said that UntitledTown events aren’t just for writers, but anyone who enjoys any aspect of the world of books.
“We’re not just focusing on people that want to write,” she said. “We’re focusing on anybody that wants to be involved in literature — anybody that likes to read, that likes to write, that likes to hear about how authors come up with a storyline.”
If you’re interested in getting involved with UntitledTown, Revolinski said there are always opportunities to volunteer and play a role in planning events.
“We’re always looking for committee members,” she said. “We have a committee group of about seven or eight people that are really kind of spearheading the conversations about who to bring in and what kind of workshops to have. We’re always looking for volunteers for that.”
To learn more about UntitledTown, its events, and how to get involved, contact the Friends of the Brown County Library at [email protected].