Behind the Scenes with Writers on a New England Stage

When it came time to launch our 10 year celebration of Writers on a New England Stage, I thought about how much this series has meant to me—as a writer, a reader, a woman, a U.S. citizen, a resident of the Seacoast. Never did I imagine that here I would get up close and personal with my literary heroes from Margaret Atwood to John Irving; with esteemed historians from Doris Kearns Goodwin to David McCullough; with great journalists from Anna Quindlen to Tom Brokaw; with favorite novelists from Dan Brown to Carl Hiassen. The list goes on—during the past decade, WNES has welcomed more than 63 renowned writers and thinkers to the stage of The Historic Theater on Chestnut Street.

How did The Music Hall score such a robust and star-studded literary series? Credit the vision of Executive Director and WNES Executive Producer Patricia Lynch, who forged a partnership with New Hampshire Public Radio and created a multi-layered evening of inquiry and entertainment that includes author readings; a customized playlist performed by WNES house band Dreadnaught; and insightful interviews with NHPR interviewer Virginia Prescott. As the series grew, Margaret Talcott came on as Producer—and today, as WNES turns 10, it is on the literary map. 

To initiate WNES 10-year anniversary, I reached out to Patricia, Margaret, and Virginia for their behind-the-scenes thoughts on the series and what it means to them. Their blog posts that follow are reflective, humorous, and always illuminating—and reveal some of the dedication and hard work that goes into producing this seminal series. Enjoy! And don’t miss the current WNES season of brilliant authors. The next 10 years are going to be amazing.