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These events all took place in our Essex store.

Stephen Russell Payne: Cliff Walking (Essex)

Set on the rocky and at times unforgiving coast of Maine, Stephen Russell Payne's emotionally powerful debut novel, Cliff Walking, shares a poignant tale of loss and love that weaves together the lives of three desperate people who struggle mightily to find a way to save each other. Stephen Russell Payne has written for Vermont Life magazine, The Tufts Review, The Vermont Literary Review, Livin' the Vermont Way magazine, and Route 7-Vermont Literary Journal.

Dangerous Night of Writing (Essex)

Calling all young writers! Join us at the Cafe at Phoenix for a two-hour write-a-thon, with prizes given out at the end of the night. This event will be coordinated by Browns River Middle School librarian Joyce Babbitt, and is inspired by NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, which takes place during November). To learn more about the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program, visit, but don't worry: absolutely all young writers are welcome, whether you're participating in NaNoWriMo or not. See you there!

Full Circle: Medieval, Renaissance, Celtic, and Holiday Music (Essex)

Come enjoy live music while you shop, or while you relax in our cafe! Full Circle is a group of five women who play a mixture of medieval, Renaissance, Celtic, folk, and holiday music on recorders, tin whistle, harp, guitar, hammered dulcimer, percussion and voices. They have three recordings which will be offered for sale at the store before and after the concert.

EAL Holiday Art Show (Essex)

Please visit to enjoy over two dozen local artists' works of art. This show, an artist's choice exhibit, will run through the end of December.

All of the artwork is original work, and a variety of mediums are represented.

The featured artists are members of the Essex Art League, whose goal is to support the appreciation and creation of regional artwork. Members meet monthly to share ideas and information, create and implement programs, and participate in show venues.

Kristin Richland and Karen Witt: Art Exhibit (Essex)

Come on in to enjoy the imaginative art of Kristin Richland and Karen Witt.  We booksellers have been raving about their line-up of evocative and whimsical pieces.  Kristin Richland adds, "We're pretty pleased with how they look together, almost making a story line from day to night."

A Vermont native, in 1999 Kristin Richland received her BFA in Painting from the Maine College of Art.  While in Portland, she was represented by Filament Gallery, exhibiting small soft-sculptures and drawings.  Since 2006, she has taken part in the annual VT Crafts Council Open Studio tour, various small picture exhibits in Vermont, the 2008 Art Hop in Burlington, and a MECA Painter's show at the June Fitzpatrick gallery in Portland Maine.

"When I paint or draw," she says, "my goal is to create an environment that you want to step into, a quiet moment filled with a sense of expectancy.  Yet as most of my environments are either underwater or are obviously not peopled by humans, there is, for myself at least, a bittersweet sense of the unattainable."

Karen Witt is a self-taught artist, who has been drawing her entire life.  According to family legend, she was drawing before she could write.  "I love stories and I love to experiment with various art media," she says.  "I enjoy creating art with colored pencils, acrylics, oils, watercolors, soft pastels, oil pastels, and graphite.  I have an active imagination, and I believe that stories are all around us - if we just take the time to look and listen..."

(Image is "Frog in the Forest" by Kristin Richland.  Used with permission of the artist.)

Grand Opening Group Art Show: Karen Dawson, Rick Evans, Joshua Mower, Jonathan. E. Russell, Daphne Tanis (Essex)

Read our Curator's Essay on this exhibit at Vermont Art Zine!

Throughout the fall foliage season and the holidays, The Gallery at Phoenix Books will host an exhibit featuring the work of graphic artist Rick Evans, Cubist Jonathan Russell, Impressionist Daphne Tanis, 12-year-old photographer Joshua Mower, and Karen Dawson of Burlington's Lakeside Gallery. This exhibit marks the grand opening of The Gallery at Phoenix Books.  (The image at right is "Fire," by Jonathan E. Russell. Used with permission.)


Karen Dawson
Karen Dawson has been operating a visual art studio in Burlington's Lakeside Neighborhood for the last 18 years and has been an apprentice at a stained glass business for nine years. Her professional experience ranges from farming to real estate to teaching, but art is always at the root of her adventures. Since 1998, she has facilitated four classes a week at a local correctional center.
Visit Karen's website.


Richard Evans
A graphic designer by trade, Richard Evans was born in Massachusetts and escaped as soon as he could. He specializes in Page 100 Comics - black-and-white pen-and-ink drawings based on page 100 of (almost) any book.
Visit Richard's website.



Joshua Mower
Joshua Mower is 12 years old and in the 7th grade at Essex Middle School. His artful eye and passion for photography is apparent all throughout his first second installation at Phoenix Books. Joshua exhibits a true natural talent and keen eye for capturing the moment. He instinctively gravitates toward the natural world in his subject matter, but has also shown emerging interest in architectural details and Americana.



Jonathan E. Russell
Jonathan E. Russell uses abstraction and focus to encourage people to look again at the natural world. He works in acrylic on canvas, primarily using Cubist techniques. He is perhaps best known for his Mother Nature series, in which he integrates the female form into landscapes. Jonathan grew up in the Philadelphia area. He has lived and worked all over the US, but finds himself most at home in his new digs in Bolton, VT.
Visit Jonathan's website.
Visit Jonathan on Facebook.


Daphne Tanis
Daphne Tanis was born and raised in Vermont and as a child she learned to paint snow scenes with her mother. As a young painter she yearned to paint in the style of the Impressionist Claude Monet. Today, she still paints using a loose brush with a pallet that includes a lots of blues and purples.

Group Art Show: Paige Dunbar, Rick Evans, Eric Fitzgerald, Brittany Foster, and Donna McDermid (Essex)

Throughout the end of the winter, The Gallery at Phoenix Books will host a group art show featuring the work of Brittany Foster, fiber artist Donna McDermid, photographers Paige Dunbar and Eric Fitzgerald, and graphic artist Rick Evans. 

Paige Dunbar
Paige Dunbar is a junior at Essex High School. Due to her love of photography, she took a photo class last year. Her work has been on display at another local venue, the Dark Room Gallery in Essex Junction. Under the supervision of Ken Signorello, she framed her own pictures with uv antireflection glass. Paige’s artwork focuses on the natural world in her community and travels. She also has a line of greeting cards available.


Richard Evans
A graphic designer by trade, Richard Evans was born in Massachusetts and escaped as soon as he could. He specializes in Page 100 Comics - black-and-white pen-and-ink drawings based on page 100 of (almost) any book.
Visit Richard's website.
Visit Richard's blog.
View Richard's sequential art.


Eric Fitzgerald
Eric Fitzgerald is a fifth generation Vermonter, father of two wonderful daughters and works in marketing and advertising. He enjoys snowboarding, surfing, hiking, exercise and a good book. He has many interests, and photography is one of his cornerstones. He enjoys shooting landscapes and natural beauty. His mission is to hike all of the mountains in Vermont and photograph their allure. "Hiking has set me free from daily grind and has challenged my photography," he says.  "Exploring the backcountry of Vermont has helped me discover a good photo is something I physically challenge myself to obtain. Exploring these mountains has also made me realize how much I have missed and take for granted living here."


Brittany Foster
Brittany Foster is a senior at Hazen Union High School in Hardwick Vermont.  "I've been drawing and painting since I can remember," she says. Her preferred mediums include acrylic and water color paints, pencil, and pastels. Many of her pieces are inspired by wildlife and the natural world. 

Donna McDermid
Born in Canada, Donna McDermid moved to Vermont 11 years ago. It is here that she was introduced to the fascinating world of wool and felting. Always an avid crafter and artist, "It is through the manipulation of raw fibers," she says, "that I am able to 'sculpt' and 'paint' and thereby bring to life the world around me, both real and imagined." Donna is a  member of the Essex Art League.

Newt Night (Essex)

Spotted SalamanderWe invite budding scientists, concerned citizens, and naturalists-at-heart to learn about Vermont's Amphibian Monitoring Program. This is a perfect opportunity to get hands-on experience, become educated about Vermont's amphibian population, and learn how to assist in their protection/preservation.

Space is limited; please contact Rachel at or 872-7111 to reserve a spot. This demonstration involves delicate critters, so is best for ages 5 and older.

Adult Eastern Newt

Newt Night will be hosted by the North Branch Nature Center of Montpelier, as part of Citizen Science, a partnership between scientists and the broader community. Citizen Science allows the every-day person to participate in exciting research projects, and to experience the natural world in a new way. It allows the scientist to enlist a small or, in some cases, a large army of volunteers to help collect data that wouldn't be possible without the help of the community.

Last spring, an Amphibian Monitoring Program volunteer found a Jefferson Salamander hybrid in Essex.  It was the first of that species ever found in the town! Neato mosquito!!


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