The First Two Pages: “Festival Finale” by Mary Dutta

In April 2015, B.K. Stevens debuted the blog series “The First Two Pages,” hosting craft essays by short story writers and novelists analyzing the openings of their own work. The series continued until just after her death in August 2017, and the full archive of those essays can be found at Bonnie’s website. In November 2017, the blog series relocated to my website, and the archive of this second stage of the series can be found here.

One of my favorite aspects of anthologies is discovering new writers—both those new to me and, in some cases, authors making their publishing debuts. So it’s a special thrill to welcome a writer today reflecting on her first-ever fiction publication: Mary Dutta, whose story “Festival Finale” appears in the anthology The Best Laid Plans, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk and officially launching today!

Mary is one of twenty-one authors in the collection, which covers a wide range of locales, including “a subway station in Norway, a ski resort in Vermont, a McMansion in the suburbs, or a trendy art gallery in Toronto.” For her story, Mary visits characters and settings that might be familiar to many readers here: a published author, an aspiring author, and a literary festival. In the essay here, Mary explains that the story was inspired in part by her own city’s literary festival—one I’ve attended myself! …and now seeing it in a whole new light.

Be sure and follow Mary on Twitter to find out about more stories ahead—and congratulations in the meantime on this first great success!

This is the second in a series of essays by contributors to The Best Laid Plans. Last week, the First Two Pages hosted Lisa de Nikolits, and next week we’ll welcome Chris Wheatley.

Please use the arrows and controls at the bottom of the embedded PDF to navigate through the essay. You can also download the essay to read off-line.


3 thoughts on “The First Two Pages: “Festival Finale” by Mary Dutta

  1. Pingback: The First Two Pages: “The True Cost of Liberty” by Chris Wheatley – Art Taylor

  2. Maggie King

    Mary, congrats on your debut! I just downloaded this anthology. Normally, I would have just added it to my TBR list, but it sounded so good I sprang for it right away. I well know the festival of which you speak. Best wishes for a sunny writing career.

  3. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thank you Art for providing this forum. Lisa and Mary’s posts were terrific and I’m delighted that Mary can now boast her first fiction publication credit.

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