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Author of ‘The Woman’s Hour’ headlines Literary Festival

Elaine Weiss, author of an acclaimed novel about women's fight for the right to vote, will headline the Newburyport Literary Festival on April 26-27.

Weiss will discuss her book, "The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote," in a conversation with author Linda Hirshman during the opening ceremony at 6 p.m. Friday, April 26, at the Firehouse Center for the Arts in Market Square.

The theme of the free 14th annual festival is "Open a Book, Open Your World," and the two-day event will feature such authors as Russell Banks, Eric Jay Dolin, Joyce Maynard, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Andre Dubus III and Hank Phillippi Ryan, as well as numerous poets, screenwriters, nature writers and journalists, reading from and discussing their work.

Weiss is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Philadelphia Inquirer. She also has been a frequent correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor.

According to her biography, her long-form writing garnered a Pushcart Prize Editor's Choice award, and she is a MacDowell Colony Fellow. Her first book, "Fruits of Victory: The Woman's Land Army in the Great War" was excerpted in Smithsonian Magazine online and featured on C-Span and public radio stations nationwide.

Her latest book, "The Woman's Hour," tells the story of women's long crusade for the right to vote, and the forces of history, culture and politics that made the quest so difficulty - including the racism that came close to defeating the cause.

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, a new author on the schedule this year, has received praise for his first book, "Friday Black," a collection of short stories that tackles important instances of racism and cultural unrest.

A graduate of SUNY Albany who received his master of fine arts from Syracuse University, Adjei-Brenyah was the 2016-17 Olive B. O'Connor fellow in fiction at Colgate University.

According to his biography, his work has appeared or scheduled for inclusion in numerous publications, including Guernica, Compose: A Journal of Simply Good Writing, Printer's Row, Gravel and The Breakwater Review, where he was selected by ZZ Packer as the winner of the second annual Breakwater Review Fiction Contest.

Russell Banks, a native of Newton who great up in New Hampshire and eastern Massachusetts, is the author of 18 works of fiction, including the novels "Continental Drift," ''Rule of the Bone," ''The Book of Jamaica" and "Lost Memory of Skin." Two of his novels - "The Sweet Hereafter" and "Affliction" - were adapted into award-winning films.

The festival will also feature Andre Dubus III, a local mainstay, whose new book, "Gone So Long," has earned many awards and rave reviews.

Another Massachusetts-based writer, Hank Phillippi Ryan, an investigative reporter for WHDH-TV in Boston, is a national best-selling author of 10 mysteries, winning awards for her literary endeavors as well as 34 Emmys and dozens of other journalism honors.

The Friday night opening ceremony at the Firehouse will be followed by dinner with the authors at 7:30 p.m. at the Masonic Center, 31 Green St. Tickets for that event are $50 and available online at newburyportliteraryfestival.org.

Throughout the month, the Literary Festival sponsors Books on the Loose in which free books are distributed in public places of authors who will be taking part in the festival. The aim of festival organizers is to promote the Literary Festival and to introduce readers to authors who will appear in the two-day event.

A full schedule of speakers, readings and discussions will fill the day on Saturday, April 27, followed by the festival's closing ceremony at 7 p.m., with a panel of representatives from local books clubs who will discuss their clubs and favorite books they have read over the years.

For a complete schedule of events and list of authors, poets and other participants, go to newburyportliteraryfestival.org, or search for Newburyport Literary Festival on Facebook. Follow on Twitter @NBPTLitFest.

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