FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          CONTACT:  Liz Stein

MAY 27, 2020                                                                  Email:

The Second Annual 1455 Summer Literary Festival Announces its Incredible Program with Keynote Author Adrienne Miller, Edgar Award winner Angie Kim, and National Book Award finalist Karen Bender

This celebration of Writers, Readers, Creativity, and Community Runs from July 16-18, 2020

Teen Poetry Contest Winner Will Be Announced at Event

Winchester, VA — The non-profit literary arts organization, 1455 unveils its incredible lineup of authors, poets, educators, and creatives for its Second Annual Literary Festival. Moving to a virtual platform this event will take place from Thursday, July 16th – Saturday, July 18, and attendees will be able to participate with the speakers and join workshops virtually through Zoom and Facebook Live. 1455 will also be holding a Teen Poetry contest co-sponsored by Winchester’s Handley Regional Library. A $500 grand prize will be awarded to the winning poet, who will have the opportunity to read their work in a special online program.

This year’s festival will focus on the power of storytelling and the crucial role it plays not only in creative and academic fields, but the business and political arena. All programming is free, and boasts a diverse array of talent, including best-selling authors, local and award-winning writers, as well as authors whose first books were published in 2019. The festival will feature more than 50 participants, ranging from best-selling fiction and non-fiction authors, journalists, professors, as well as local artisans and leaders from the political, business, and academic fields. Highlights of this year’s participants include Edgar Award winner Angie Kim, National Book Award finalist Karen Bender, Jane Friedman, E. Ethelbert Miller, and keynote author Adrienne Miller.

Responding to current events by expanding rather than canceling this year’s festival is, according to 1455’s Executive Director Sean Murphy, entirely consistent with the organization’s mission. “We are committed to providing content that is inclusive, informative, and useful not only to writers, but readers. As such, we endeavor to make our events free to the public, and celebrating creativity and building community is our priority.”

“Our inaugural LitFest in 2019 was so incredibly well-received that, to be honest, we were a little worried about moving it to an online platform. But thankfully, those fears have proven to be unfounded,” stated 1455 Executive Director Sean Murphy. “We’ve heard nothing but enthusiastic and positive support from our panel members and attendees. We’re able to reach so many more people through our online platform, as well as engage authors and panel members from across the U.S. I’m thrilled to be able to fulfill our mission of appreciation of and passion for the literary arts and to bring that support to such a wide and diverse audience.”

1455 Second Annual Teen Poetry Contest will include a special Teen Poetry Reading, featuring Maia Siegel, who is co-judging the contest (along with writers on the 1455 Advisory Board). The deadline is July 1.

The award will be given to a single, previously unpublished poem (of any length and style) by any writer aged 13-19. The theme for this year’s contest is “Poetry in a Pandemic,” and the work should be a reflection on or reaction to the current COVID crisis. The winning author –and three finalists– will have an opportunity to read their poem during an online reception on July 17. The winning poem, and a selection of other submissions, will be featured on the 1455 site.

Having established a robust programming schedule, including its successful inaugural festival in 2019, 1455 is looking to expand this momentum. The 2020 festival will be a multi-day event focused on writers and writing: a festival of ideas and celebration of community. The program will include:

— A Keynote by Adrienne Miller

— Panels that will cover a diverse array of topics, themes, and issues

— FREE Workshops on multiple genres, including memoir, fiction, non-fiction, and publishing

— Poetry and Fiction Readings

— Community events including virtual happy hours

Several of the panels will feature faculty from local universities, including George Mason University, Marymount University, Hollins University, and Shenandoah University. The interactive panels include genres ranging from literary fiction, poetry, suspense fiction, historical fiction, journalism, international fiction, and children’s literature.

This event is sponsored in part with support from Shenandoah University, George Mason University, Hollins University, Marymount University, Handley Regional Library, Day Eight, and the 1455 Board. Additional sponsorships are available and all inquiries should be sent directly to Sean Murphy (

To register and for information about 1455, please visit our site.

ABOUT 1455

1455 is a nonprofit organization seeking to advance the appreciation of and passion for the literary arts through programs that support expression, education, and the sharing of writing and literature. It holds events throughout the year dedicated to supporting writers of all ages and skill levels. Its annual  Summer Literary Festival will be held Thursday July 16th—Saturday, July 18th, 2020. To learn more about 1455, please visit

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