NARROWSBURG – Narrowsburg will be transformed into a creative hub this weekend when book lovers, writers and those curious about a new and engaging literary festival converge on the river town for the Deep Water Literary Fest. The three-day celebration of the written word will be held June 15-17.

The event incorporates four aspects of the arts through readings, theater, film and visual art and features some of America’s most exciting writers and artists. The centerpiece of the festival is a marathon reading of “The Odyssey,” drawing on a new translation by Emily Wilson, who will kick off the first of 23 half-hour readings, the morning of June 16. The relay style readings will take place in venues around the town, from a 150-year old Lutheran church, to a natural amphitheatre overlooking the deepest point of the Delaware River.

In a separate event on June 15, Wilson will also talk about her process.

“I can’t think of a more peaceful setting for people who enjoy books than this gorgeous town on the edge of the western Catskills, above the beautiful Delaware River,” said Aaron Hicklin, founder of the bookstore One Grand Books, who is staging the festival in association with the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance. “My shop is premised on inviting luminaries to choose books they’d take to their metaphorical desert island, so what better text to launch our festival than a fantastic tale about one man’s epic journey back to his island kingdom.”

For “The Odyssey” marathon, attendees are taken on a journey through the Sullivan Catskills town, where readings and performances take place both indoors and outdoors, each receiving a “passport” listing each chapter of “The Odyssey”for which they receive a stamp confirming attendance, making for a souvenir memento. Each reading from “The Odyssey” will run for approximately 30 minutes, with attendees moving to a new venue each hour. The event is free to attend, so audiences can pick and choose which books they want to experience, or embrace the entire marathon.

“I want to make sure everyone can appreciate the rich heritage of storytelling,” Hicklin said, “and the ways in which narrative dominates so much in our culture, not just books, but music, art and film, too. Author events are great, but there are other ways to experience the power of stories. That’s partly why the event is hosted on a donation basis, with Penny Arcade being the ticket-only event of the extensive program.”

The stellar list of readers for this event includes: local resident, activist and actor Mark Ruffalo (“Spotlight,” “The Normal Heart,” “The Avengers”), actress Becky Ann Baker (Loreen Horvath in “Girls”), actor Dylan Baker (“Homeland,” “The Good Wife”), Booker Prize-winner Marlon James, as well as local theatre company NACL, and legendary performance artist Penny Arcade, among many others. Actor and artist, Tilda Swinton, pre-recorded book 10, featuring the legendary sea nymph Circe. “In addition, a group of artists including Andrew Ondrejcak, Kameron Neal, Kristin Worrall, will be building installations and creating videos to accompany the readings,” Hicklin said.

As further homage to Homer’s enduring work, four quotes from “The Odyssey” – ‘The Wine Dark Sea’; ‘Sleep Delicious & Profound’; ‘A Shuttle Made Of Gold’; ‘Who Moved My Bed’ – will illuminate windows along Main Street.

The event will conclude with a dinner and celebration.

Focus on women writers

The event will focus on a host of women writers including a discussion on the art of reporting in the age of Trump led by journalist Andrea Bernstein, featuring Masha Gessen and Nina Burleigh. Gessen is a New Yorker staff writer and author of the 2017 National Book Award-winning “The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia.” Burleigh, aNewsweek Journalist, is author of the forthcoming “Queens of Trumpland.”

Novelist A.M. Homes will discuss her new collection of short stories, “Days of Awe.”

See the complete list at