Washington Island Literary Festival 2022: CROSSROADS

Celebrating our 10th year of bringing together readers and writers!

September 15, 16, and 17

In what ways do we find ourselves at crossroads?
What are the crossroads in our culture and in our country?
Do crossroads divide or unite?

Our cast of award-winning and acclaimed writers will address these questions, and more, over the three days of the Festival. Participants are invited to take part in all three days or may choose to attend just one or two days.

We are proud to have the following writers
join us for this year's Festival:

    • Cara Black, fiction, author of Murder at the Porte de Versailles


    • Andrew Graff, fiction, author of Raft of Stars


    • Lyanda Lynn Haupt, nonfiction, author of Rooted: Life at the Crossroads of Science, Nature, and Spirit


    • Michael Torres, poet, author of An Incomplete List of Names


    • Toya Wolfe, fiction, author of Last Summer on State Street


2022 Presenting Authors

Cara Black

Murder at the Porte
de Versailles

Andrew J. Graff

Raft of Stars

Lyanda Lynn Haupt

Rooted: Life at the Crossroads of Science, Nature, and Spirit


Michael Torres

An Incomplete
List of Names

Toya Wolfe

Last Summer
on State Street

Festival Schedule

  • Thursday, September 15: FREE Community Creative Lab

    Thursday's Creative Lab is free; no registration required.

    Noon - 1 pm: Lunch - bring your own

    1 - 3 pm: Creative lab facilitated by Paula Carter and Elizabeth Evans Sachs

    Trueblood Performing Arts Center: outside weather permitting

  • Friday, September 16: For Writers: Writing Workshops

    Friday's Workshops are $75 each.

    8:30 am - 3:00 pm: Registration/Pick Up Your Festival Packet

    10:00 am - noon: Workshops with Cara Black or Toya Wolfe - various locations

    1:30 - 3:30 pm: Workshops with Andrew Graff, Lyanda Lynn Haupt, or Michael Torres - various locations

    4:30 - 6 pm: Welcome Reception at the Farm Museum

    Please click here to register for Friday's Workshops, then click the registration button for the workshops you would like to attend.

  • Saturday, September 17: For Readers & Writers: Author Talks

    Saturday's program for readers and writers is $135 through July 6. After July 6, cost is $150.

    8 - 8:45 am: Registration/Coffee & Light Refreshments

    8:45 - 9 am: Welcome and Introductions

    9 - 10:15 am: Panel Discussion with all five authors

    10:30 - 11:15 am: Andrew Graff

    11:15 - 11:45 am: Book signing with Andrew Graff

    11:15 am - 12:45 pm: Lunch on your own

    1 - 1:45 pm: Lyanda Lynn Haupt

    1:45 - 2:30 pm: Toya Wolfe

    2:30 - 3 pm: Book signing with Lyanda Lynn Haupt and Toya Wolfe

    3 - 3:45 pm: Michael Torres

    4 - 4:45 pm: Cara Black

    4:45 - 5:15 pm: Book signing with Michael Torres and Cara Black

    All presentations will be held at the Trueblood Performing Arts Center, outside on the terrace weather permitting.

    Please click here to register for Saturday's program

    Stay tuned for information on evening social events as well as an update on a late ferry back to Northport.

Are you an Islander?

We are pleased to present a special rate of $90 to year-round Washington Island residents. Your residency status will need to be verified. To register as a full-time Island resident, please click the button below.

2022 Workshop Descriptions

Registration closes Thursday, September 15!

Workshops with Andrew J. Graff and Toya Wolfe are full. Other workshops are close to full. Register soon to reserve your spot!



- The Architects of Noir or the Characters We Love to Hate

with Cara Black


Friday, Sept 16, 10am - noon


Let's talk about creating compelling Villain/esses we love to hate, who touch us and stay in our psyche. Villains have many names: adversary, antagonist, villain, bully, menace, evil genius, and so on. As a reader I love books that have a character who plays the worthy adversary to the protagonist. If that adversary has redeeming qualities or reasons for going bad that I can identify with, the enjoyment I get from the book increases and pulls me in.  Join me in how to craft multi-dimensional villains who are the architects of your story.




Register for Villains/Villainesses


Your Story, Your Voice

Your Story, Your Voice with Toya Wolfe

Friday, Sept 16, 10am - noon

What's the story you've always wanted to tell? Where does it take place? Which voice would you use to tell it? In this workshop, you will test out your unique writer's voice and style. We will glance at a few writers who use the distinct voices of their small towns, boroughs, and reservations to tell stories.


Register for Your Story, Your Voice

Three Universals of Storytelling

Three Universals of Storytelling with Andrew J. Graff

Friday, Sept 16, 1:30 - 3:30pm

Inspired by an essay called "The Nature and Aim of Fiction" by Flannery O'Connor, this workshop provides an opportunity to discuss and practice Graff's own take on three critical qualities of narrative writing, lending clarity and momentum to your own manuscript or story ideas. Workshop applicable to both fiction and creative nonfiction writing.


Register for Three Universals of Storytelling

To I or Not to I: Writing the Personal Pronoun in Creative Nonfiction

Nonfiction Writing with Lyanda Lynn Haupt

Friday, Sept 16, 1:30 - 3:30pm

It's a common assumption that personal essay, memoir, or general creative nonfiction somehow requires the use of the first person—the "perpendicular pronoun" as my erudite father-in-law (and accomplished writer) puts it. But there are other ways to make a piece of writing deeply personal. When is it most powerful to go with the first person? When not? This session will look at ways to discern the answer to these questions and tactics for bringing the writer's presence into a piece no matter what pronoun is used. 


Register for To I or Not to I

Working Through Cliché

Working Through Cliché with Michael Torres


Friday, Sept 16, 1:30 - 3:30pm


I believe we're facing crossroads all the time-literal, emotional, existential-and more often than not, we find great difficulty in expressing what it feels like when we're at these junctures of our lives. At first, it might be easier to lean on cliché-those broad, catch-all phrases-but they can never, genuinely, capture what it is we're going through. In this generative workshop, we'll turn cliché in our favor and discuss how we can use it as an entryway into a truer, more complicated space for language and emotion. We'll also take a look at ideas from writers George Saunders, Morgan Parker, Matthew Zapruder, and more, to help us understand the importance of moving beyond the cliché and our initial writing impulses. I'll provide writing prompts and poems as prompts so that by the end of our time together you'll have the beginning drafts of several different poems.




Register for Working Through Cliché


For other registration options, please call 920-868-1457 or email info@writeondoorcounty.org.

If you prefer not to take your car on the ferry, you can visit Washington Island Virtual Bulletin Board for help with transportation on the Island.

2022 Books

November 2001: in the wake of 9/11, Paris is living in a state of fear. For Aimée Leduc, November is bittersweet: the anniversary of her father's death and her daughter's third birthday fall on the same day. A gathering for family and friends is disrupted when a bomb goes off at the police laboratory--and Boris Viard, the partner of Aimée's friend Michou, is found unconscious at the scene of the crime with traces of explosives under his fingernails. As Aimée scours the streets of the 15th arrondissement trying to learn the truth, she has to ask herself if she should succumb to pressure from Chloe's biological father and move them out to his farm in Brittany. But could Aimée Leduc ever leave Paris?

It's the summer of 1994 in Claypot, Wisconsin, and the lives of ten-year-old Fischer "Fish" Branson and Dale "Bread" Breadwin are shaped by the two fathers they don't talk about.

One night, tired of seeing his best friend bruised and terrorized by his no-good dad, Fish takes action. A gunshot rings out and the two boys flee the scene, believing themselves murderers. They head for the woods, where they find their way onto a raft, but the natural terrors of Ironsforge gorge threaten to overwhelm them.

Four adults track them into the forest, each one on a journey of his or her own. Fish's mother Miranda, a wise woman full of fierce faith; his granddad, Teddy, who knows the woods like the back of his hand; Tiffany, a purple-haired gas station attendant and poet looking for connection; and Sheriff Cal, who's having doubts about a life in law enforcement.

The adults track the boys toward the novel's heart-pounding climax on the edge of the gorge and a conclusion that beautifully makes manifest the grace these characters find in the wilderness and one another. This timeless story of loss, hope, and adventure runs like the river itself amid the vividly rendered landscape of the Upper Midwest.

In Rootedcutting-edge science supports a truth that poets, artists, mystics, and earth-based cultures across the world have proclaimed over millennia: life on this planet is radically interconnected. Our bodies, thoughts, minds, and spirits are affected by the whole of nature, and they affect this whole in return. In this time of crisis, how can we best live upon our imperiled, beloved earth?

Award-winning writer Lyanda Lynn Haupt’s highly personal new book is a brilliant invitation to live with the earth in both simple and profound ways—from walking barefoot in the woods and reimagining our relationship with animals and trees, to examining the very language we use to describe and think about nature. She invokes rootedness as a way of being in concert with the wilderness—and wildness—that sustains humans and all of life.

“With her deep Intuition and expansive attention as our guides, Lyanda Lynn Haupt’s gorgeous words create a  path to the place where science and spirit meet. It’s a barefoot path that wanders through solitudes and into community with frogs, moose, orca and our own wildness.”Robin Wall Kimmererauthor of Braiding Sweetgrass

An astonishing debut collection looking back on a community of Mexican American boys as they grapple with assimilation versus the impulse to create a world of their own.

Who do we belong to? This is the question Michael Torres ponders as he explores the roles that names, hometown, language, and others' perceptions each play on our understanding of ourselves in An Incomplete List of Names. More than a boyhood ballad or a coming-of-age story, this collection illuminates the artist's struggle to make sense of the disparate identities others have forced upon him.

His description of his childhood is both idyllic and nightmarish, sometimes veering between the two extremes, sometimes a surreal combination of both at once. He calls himself "the Pachuco's grandson" or REMEK or Michael, depending on the context, and others follow his lead. He worries about losing his identification card, lest someone mistake his brown skin for evidence of a crime he never committed. He wonders what his students-imprisoned men who remind him of his high school friends and his own brother-make of him. He wonders how often his neighbors think about where he came from, if they ever do imagine where he came from.

When Torres returns to his hometown to find the layers of spray-painted evidence he and his boyhood friends left behind to prove their existence have been washed away by well-meaning municipal workers, he wonders how to collect a list of names that could match the eloquent truths those bubbled letters once secured.

Felicia "Fe Fe" Stevens is living with her vigilantly loving mother and older teenaged brother, whom she adores, in building 4950 of Chicago's Robert Taylor Homes. It's the summer of 1999, and her high-rise is next in line to be torn down by the Chicago Housing Authority. She, with the devout Precious Brown and Stacia Buchanan, daughter of a Gangster Disciple Queen-Pin, form a tentative trio and, for a brief moment, carve out for themselves a simple life of Double Dutch and innocence. But when Fe Fe welcomes a mysterious new friend, Tonya, into their fold, the dynamics shift, upending the lives of all four girls.

As their beloved neighborhood falls down around them, so too do their friendships and the structures of the four girls' families. Fe Fe must make the painful decision of whom she can trust and whom she must let go. Decades later, as she remembers that fateful summer-just before her home was demolished, her life uprooted, and community forever changed-Fe Fe tries to make sense of the grief and fraught bonds that still haunt her and attempts to reclaim the love that never left.

Profound, reverent, and uplifting, Last Summer on State Street explores the risk of connection against the backdrop of racist institutions, the restorative power of knowing and claiming one's own past, and those defining relationships which form the heartbeat of our lives. Interweaving moments of reckoning and sustaining grace, debut author Toya Wolfe has crafted an era-defining story of finding a home - both in one's history and in one's self.

About the Washington Island Literary Festival

The Washington Island Literary Festival is a moveable feast of writing, reading, discussion, and thought about the written word. Writers' workshops, author panels and presentations, readings and parties are scheduled at various quaint, historic and beautiful venues around the Island.

Participants have a unique opportunity to share time with prominent authors and dedicated readers in the intimate, friendly setting of Washington Island, a half-hour by ferry from the Door County mainland, in September's color and warmth.

If you aren't an Island resident, we recommend you secure your housing as soon as possible! Visit Destination Door County for a listing of accommodations. (Narrow your search to Washington Island.) Coming for Saturday only? There will be at least one late ferry Saturday night to Northport.

Thank you to our partners and sponsors

Fair Isle Books
FE_B_1_IG copy - Four Elements Lodging (1)

Connect and Celebrate with Literature:
What Past Participants Love

Marion Boyer

The venues chosen for all the events were just perfect. The barn was magical with its lights and chickens and beautifully laid tables. The banquet was wonderful, the food extraordinary.  I appreciated being able to give my workshop on the veranda of such a lovely hotel!  The auditorium was perfect for the panel and readings. It was lit so well and the sound systems were flawless.  Believe me, as planning chair I appreciate these things. 

Paula Carter

An intimate engagement with world-renowned writers. 

Sandra Lindow

Intelligent and challenging workshops in an absolutely gorgeous setting.

Libby Sachs

Washington Island is a perfect place to read and write and therefore a perfect place to immerse one's self in the spoken and written word.