The Endangered Alphabets

The Endangered Alphabets Project, which was such a hit at the last two Burlington Book Festivals, returns in 2012 in new and expanded form.

Tim Brookes with one of his Endangered Alphabets wood carvings.

Here’s the plot: the world has only about 100 alphabets and fully a third are endangered—no longer taught in schools, no longer used for commerce or government, understood only by a few elders, restricted to a few monasteries or used only in ceremonial documents, magic spells, or secret love letters.

Artist/writer Tim Brookes has spent the past three years tracking down the few people who can still read and write in these vanishing scripts, then carving pieces of text in Vermont tiger maple to preserve these remarkable, beautiful, exotic letterings and draw attention to the need to preserve cultural identity.

One of Tim Brookes’ astonishing wood carvings.

This year he has created a series of remarkable monumental carvings for the Festival that will become part of the architecture of the Fletcher Free Library. They will be installed for the duration of the weekend.

The Endangered Alphabets Project, which had one of its first public exhibitions at the Festival, has since become a global cause celebre, appearing at Yale University, Cambridge (UK) University and Barcelona University with future appearances scheduled in Australia, Thailand, England, Ireland and at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Check out the videos below for more information the the Endangered Alphabets.

An introduction to the Endangered Alphabets:

Tim discusses Tifinagh, the astonishing writing used by the Berber people of North Africa:

Endangered Alphabets book trailer:

About Tim Brookes:

Endangered Alphabets founder and author Tim Brookes.

Tim Brookes is Director of the Professional Writing Program at Champlain College. He was a regular essayist on NPR for twenty years and is the author of twelve books, some of which he barely remembers writing. Now he comes to think of it, much of his life seems highly improbable, and though he mainly writes non-fiction, he suspects he may be the fictional invention of another writer altogether. His collected blatherings can be found at

Emily M. Danforth Videos

Author Emily M. Danforth

Emily M. Danforth’s debut novel, The Miseducation Of Cameron Post (HarperCollins 2012), has received starred reviews fromPublishers Weekly, Booklist, Kirkusand School Library Journal, and was featured in the LA Times, The Seattle Stranger, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, and NPR–whose reviewer called it “…a skillfully and beautifully written story that does what the best books do: It shows us ourselves in the lives of others.” Emily has an MFA in Fiction from the University of Montana and a Ph.D in English-Creative Writing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is an assistant professor of English-Creative Writing at Rhode Island College in Providence, and is also 1/3 of the editorial/publishing staff of The Cupboard, a quarterly prose chapbook eagerly awaiting your submissions.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth:

Meet author Emily M. Danforth:

More with Emily:

The Burlington Book Festival is proud to announce that Emily M. Danforth will be reading at this year’s festival as part of the “Women’s Work” reading series at Phoenix Books Burlington on Sunday, September 23rd. Emily will be reading at 2 PM.

Another Bill McKibben Rolling Stone Article

Once again, environmentalist and author Bill McKibben has been published in Rolling Stone. His newest article, entitled “The Arctic Ice Crisis,” discusses the rapid melting of glaciers in Greenland and its negative impact on the world’s climate and rising sea levels.

Click here to read the article, and don’t miss Bill at this year’s Burlington Book Festival on Saturday, September 22 at 11 AM in the Film House at Main Street Landing’s Performing Arts Center.

Author and Environmentalist Bill McKibben.

Bill McKibben is the author of a dozen books about the environment, beginning with The End of Nature in 1989, which is regarded as the first book for a general audience on climate change. He is a founder of the grassroots climate campaign, which has coordinated 15,000 rallies in 189 countries since 2009. Time Magazine called him ‘the planet’s best green journalist’ and the Boston Globe said in 2010 that he was ‘probably the country’s most important environmentalist.’ Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, he holds honorary degrees from a dozen colleges, including the Universities of Massachusetts and Maine, the State University of New York, and Whittier and Colgate Colleges. In 2011 he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and led the largest civil disobedience action in this country in 30 years.

Howard Frank Mosher

Author Howard Frank Mosher

Howard Frank Mosher is the author of ten novels and two works of nonfiction. He was honored with the New England Booksellers’ President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts and is the recipient of the Literature Award bestowed by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His novel A Stranger in the Kingdom won the New England Book Award for fiction and was later made into a movie, as were his novels Disappearances and Where the Rivers Flow NorthThe Great Northern Express, released this spring, is both a chronicle of his recent 100-city book tour across America and a reflection on his development as a writer.

Check out this video about Howard Frank Mosher’s cross-country book tour:

Howard giving a presentation about his car, the “Loser Cruiser”:

Indie filmmaker Jay Craven interviews Howard Frank Mosher:

We are happy to have Howard Frank Mosher at this year’s book festival. He will be presenting from 3-3:30 PM in the Film House at Main Street Landing’s Performing Arts Center.

Garret Keizer on The Colbert Report

Author Garret Keizer

Garret Keizer is a contributing editor for Harper’s Magazine and the author of seven books, the most recent of which are Privacy and The Unwanted Sound of Everything We Want.  His work has appeared in Mother JonesThe New Yorker, and The New York Times, in addition to The Best American PoetryThe Best American Essays, and The Best American Science and Nature Writing.


Check out Garret Keizer on The Colbert Report:


For more on Garret Keizer, click here to hear his recent interview on NPR.

Be sure to see Garret at this year’s Burlington Book Festival on Saturday, September 22 at 3 PM  in the Great Room at Main Street Landing’s Performing Arts Center.