PORTLAND — The Maine Festival of the Book returns Friday, April 1, with a weekend of readings, panel discussions, presentations, workshops, activities, parties and performances.

Sarah Cecil, executive director of Maine Reads, the nonprofit organization presenting the event, said the fifth festival has activities for all readers of all ages.

“There are more programs than we’ve had in the past few years,” she said.

At 7:30 p.m. on Friday, participants are invited to join Stewart O’Nan and Julia Glass at Hannaford Hall in Abromson Center at the University of Southern Maine. The event is $10 and proceeds will benefit Maine Reads.

On Saturday, April 2, the free events start at 9 a.m. Concurrent programs will run from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Abromson Center and more than 50 authors will be present.

Cecil said the programs and discussions will range from intense to more relaxed, will include workshops on how to get published and will feature authors who specialize in memoir, mystery, poetry, gardening and fly fishing.

There will be a Poetry Party at 7 p.m. Saturday at Local Sprouts, 649 Congress St.

In conjunction with the Maine Festival of the Book, there will be a Book Arts Bazaar at the Wishcamper Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, presented by the Kate Cheney Chappell ’83 Center for Book Arts at USM. At 7 p.m., Portland Stage Company, 25A Forest Ave., will present “Longfellow’s Shorts,” featuring dramatic readings from a new novel by Ron Currie Jr.

Cecil said participants will have the opportunity to experience a range of events throughout the weekend.

“There is a convenience to the weekend,” she said. “There are a lot of opportunities and a wide range of really interesting programs. We want this to be more than a day of readings. We want this to be different.”

For a list of the events visit mainereads.org or call 871-9100.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @amy_k_anderson.

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