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Literary Festival returns to TCC

Tidewater Community College’s Literary Festival returns after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic. This April, the college brings the 19th annual festival back on April 4-6 on TCC’s Chesapeake Campus, 1428 Cedar Road.

All events are free and open to all.

Lit Fest at a Glance:

April 4 – 12:30 p.m.
Best-selling author Lauren Blackwood
Black Box Theatre in the Chesapeake Campus Academic Building

April 6 – Noon – 2 p.m.
The Great Book Giveaway
Chesapeake Campus Academic Building – Atrium

April 6 – 12:30 p.m.
Channel Marker student writer recognition event
Chesapeake Campus Academic Building – Atrium

The celebration includes a keynote event with author Lauren Blackwood on April 4 at 12:30 p.m. in the Black Box Theatre in the Chesapeake Academic Building. Blackwood is a Jamaican American living in Virginia who writes romance-heavy fantasy for most ages. When not writing, she’s a musician and a tiramisu connoisseur.

Blackwood will talk about her writing including her debut young adult fantasy, “Within These Wicked Walls,” which was a New York Times bestseller and a Reese’s Book Club fall 2021 young adult pick. Her first novel is often referred to as an Ethiopian-inspired debut fantasy retelling of Jane Eyre. Blackwood recently released her second work, “Wildblood: A Novel.”

Literary Fest continues with the Great Book Giveaway on April 6 from noon to 2 p.m. in the Atrium of the Chesapeake Academic Building. Come and find some titles to take home and enjoy. Hundreds of books will be on display including nonfiction, fiction, textbooks, cookbooks and children’s books.

The Great Book Giveaway also includes a raffle of “The Princess Bride – S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure” by William Goldman. Donated by English Professor Doug Thiele, this 25th-anniversary edition includes the first chapter of the long-lost sequel, “Buttercup’s Baby.”

The college will also recognize student authors during the Channel Marker recognition event on April 6 at 12:30 p.m. in the Atrium of the Chesapeake Academic Building. Top student writers will read from their works in Channel Marker, TCC’s student literary publication.

For more information about Lit Fest 2023, please contact Dean Marcee Andersen at

Literary Festival to be a celebration of written and spoken words

Tidewater Community College’s 18th annual Literary Festival reflects the theme “A Celebration of Written and Spoken Words” with keynote speaker Zelda Lockhart, author, expressive arts therapist and teacher.

Zelda Lockhart
Zelda Lockhart

The week-long festival from April 1-4 features Lockhart on April 4 at 12:30 p.m. at the Portsmouth Campus Student Center.

Events are free and open to the public.

Lockhart, a former English instructor at the college’s Portsmouth Campus, is a registered expressive arts consultant and educator. Her latest book, “The Soul of the Full-Length Manuscript,” invites you to take the “stuff” that makes a mess of your life and use it productively.

Lockhart is director of Her Story Garden Studios, which inspires black women to self-define, heal and liberate through the literary arts.

Luisa Igloria
Luisa Igloria

Luisa Igloria

 April 1 at 12:30 p.m., Black Box Theater, Chesapeake Academic Building

The professor of creative writing and English at Old Dominion University is the author of 14 books of poetry and four chapbooks. Igloria has received various national and international literary awards, and her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals including New England Review; The North American Review; PRISM International (Canada); and The Asian Pacific American Journal.


Jon Pineda
Jon Pineda

Jon Pineda

April 2 at 12:30 p.m. at the Virginia Beach Campus, Joint-Use Library, 2nd Floor

The poet, memoirist and novelist won the Crab Orchard Award Series in Poetry Open Competition for his first book, “Birthmark.” His other collections include “The Translator’s Diary,” winner of the Green Rose Prize, and “Little Anodynes,” winner of the 2016 Library of Virginia Literary Award for poetry.

Pineda’s honors and awards include a Virginia Commission for the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship. Currently, he teaches creative writing at the College of William and Mary.

Jesse Saperstein
Jesse Saperstein

Jesse Saperstein

April 3 at 12:30 p.m. – Norfolk Campus Student Center, 5th Floor

Jesse Saperstein is the author of the best-selling memoir “Atypical: Life with Asperger’s in 20 1/3 Chapters,” published in 2010. Saperstein strives to put a face on Asperger’s syndrome to make his readers laugh, empathize and better understand what it means to see the world through the prism of autism.

Diagnosed with the mild form of autism at 14, Saperstein struggled with many of the hallmark challenges of the condition, from social awkwardness and self-doubt to extreme difficulty in dealing with change and managing emotions. Saperstein shares his unique perspective on topics such as overcoming bullying, finding purpose and strength, coping with compulsions and making peace with ritualistic obsessions.

TCC presents “An Evening of Lit Art,” April 4-7

If you love a zany story told on stage, then Tidewater Community College’s “An Evening of Lit Art” is for you!

The presentation is a collaboration of the college’s Creative Writing Club, Literary Festival and Theatre Arts department. Students will present their original poems, stories and other writings and perform in Hilliard Booth’s one-act play, “The Red Lamp.” TCC Professor Matthew Gorris will direct the production.

Performances will be held April 4-7 at 7:30 p.m., in the Black Box Theatre in the Academic Building on the Chesapeake Campus, 1428 Cedar Road.

“The Red Lamp” revolves around a hungry tramp who breaks into a house and recognizes a lamp that supposedly brings good luck when lit. A son befriends the tramp, who leaves when the boy’s aunt returns. The boy agrees to light the lamp after his aunt leaves the house as a signal for the tramp to return. A daughter also agrees to use the same signal to let her lover know her aunt, who disapproves of the match, has left the house. The aunt also lights the lamp to signal a neighbor to prepare tea. Ensuing complications are fast, furious and unexpected.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students, seniors and military-related patrons. Payment is by cash or checks at the door. The box office opens 45 minutes prior to show time.

Tickets can also be purchased with a credit card at the business office in the Pass Building on the Chesapeake Campus Monday and Tuesday between 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. and Wednesday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

For more information, call 757-822-5219 or email

Also, mark your calendars for TCC’s Shakespeare in the Grove’s presentation of “Othello,” on June 20-24 at 8 p.m., weather permitting.

See and hear the sounds of TCC’s Literary Festival from April 2-5

Celebrated performer Charlotte Blake Alston, internationally renowned for her oral storytelling ability that enhances traditional and contemporary stories from African and African-American cultural traditions, will be the keynote speaker for Tidewater Community College’s 17th annual Literary Festival that runs from April 2-5.

The master storyteller, narrator and librettist will deliver her animated presentation at 12:30 p.m., on April 2 at the Virginia Beach Student Center, room K-320.

“Discovering Identity” is the theme for the annual literary festival. All events are free and open to the public.

Philadelphia’s Alston often combines the sounds of traditional instruments, such as the djembe, mbira, shekere or the 21-stringed kora, with her own melodic voice to engage her audience. She has appeared at Carnegie Hall, the Smithsonian Institution, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Storytelling Festival and the National Black Storytelling Festival.

Others reading at the festival are:

Eric Hause

April 3 at 12:30 p.m., Norfolk Campus Student Center, 5th Floor

Norfolk’s own Hause has been an LGBTQ advocate since 1989. He has been involved with Hampton Roads Pride, Hampton Roads Business Outreach, the LGBT Life Center and Outer Banks Pridefest. He and husband Andrew Roberts publish and Outlife757 magazine, Coastal Virginia’s LGBTQ media, as well as the Coastal Virginia Gay Wedding Showcase.

Kevin So

April 4 at 12:30 p.m., Chesapeake Campus Academic Building, Black Box Theatre

Dubbed the Chinese-American Bruce Springsteen, the singer has produced 13 independently released CDs, including “Leaving the Lights On,” which confronts identity, relationships, history, family and racism. So launched his career in the early ’90s when he appeared on Fox TV’s “Big Break.”

Drew Anderson

April 5 at 12:30 p.m., Portsmouth Campus Student Center, Multipurpose Room 128

The New Orleans-bred and Washington, D.C.-based hip-hop artist, slam poet, producer, screenwriter and veteran middle and high school teacher connects with audiences thanks to his knack for satire. Anderson published his first collection of poetry in 2001, “Droopy: Dat Boy’s A Fool,” through his company Broke Baller Enterprises.

TCC faculty members and students will also read from their original works on the following dates and times:

April 3

Chesapeake Campus Student Center, room 4311 – 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

Norfolk Campus Student Center, 5th floor – 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

Portsmouth Campus Student Center – 12:30-1:30 p.m.

April 4

Virginia Beach Campus Student Center – 12:30-1:30 p.m.

For more information, call TCC’s Information Center at 757-822-1122. For maps and directions, visit