From Laura Hope-Gill, founder and director:

Maintaining a commitment to multicultural programming, the 11th Asheville Wordfest invites audiences and participants to venture deeply into spaces of tension and complexity in search of possibility with readings and workshops featuring poets, authors, artists, storytellers, and community facilitators.

This year’s theme is “Healing the Soul of Appalachia,” a theme proposed by H. Byron Ballard when I posted an invitation in Color of Asheville on Facebook inviting our community to design Wordfest. Within thirty minutes, the entire festival was outlined by local thought and spirit leaders: Byron Ballard, Marlisa Mills, First Nations Woman Sharon Oxendie, DeBorah Shelton Ogiste, Lisa Soledad Almaraz, as well as those from down-mountain: John Evans of Duke Integrative Medicine, Darrell Stover of NC State. It was as though we were all in the same headspace at the same time. Each leader sent me their description, and without any tweaking or revision from me they all resonate, like one song from many voices.

I think that is the key to Sustainability: this ability to accept we are a community with a vast, whole voice capable of singing our survival. But it only works if we listen.

Headlined by North Carolina’s Poet Laureate, Jaki Shelton Green, Wordfest’s faculty this year guide us to write, to enter our interiors and emerge with some new story. Who knows where that simple act will lead? It is the microcosm of the great transformation resilience requires. Practicing it in a small, supportive group gives us grounding for doing it in other settings.

Please become a sponsor to keep this festival economically equitable.

Generously Sponsored by:

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Learn about our Sponsors!

Explore ASHEVILLE is bringing Jaki Shelton Green to Asheville Wordfest and hosting Saturday April 13’s Mainstage Reading at YMI Cultural Center. It is with great pleasure that we partner with Explore ASHEVILLE in this project because storytelling is at Wordfest’s heart, and the story of the YMI Cultural Center is the heart of Asheville’s story. If you don’t know the history of the YMI, you don’t know the rich and difficult history of Asheville. Don’t miss the powerful reading by North Carolina’s first African-American Poet Laureate . Thank you, Explore ASHEVILLE for making it possible.

FLAT IRON WRITERS ROOM generously sponsors Asheville Wordfest. Learn about this educational and creative network of teachers and writers here.

WORD Storytelling is produced by David Joe Miller who tirelessly produces monthly (sometimes weekly)_ top-quality workshops, presentations, and performances by our nation’s best storytellers, many of whom live here in the Appalachians. Learn more about storytelling events happening here.