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Jack Kerouac
Jack Kerouac

LOWELL — The Jack Kerouac Estate and the Kerouac @ 100 Committee has announced the lineup of events for the writer’s centennial celebration starting in March.

The celebration of the Beat Generation novelist, poet and artist, born and raised in Lowell, will include art exhibits, performances, panels and tours.

Jim Sampas, literary executor of the Kerouac estate, said March 12 will be the 100th anniversary of the birth of Lowell’s “favorite native son,” and “folks the world over are weighing in on the enduring legacy of his work.”

“There will be readings, film screenings and musical performances, all paying tribute to one of the most important authors of our time, and the versatility and openness of Kerouac’s work,” Sampas said.

The centennial festivities will also include the exhibition of a portion of the original 120-foot scroll of Kerouac’s novel, “On the Road,” on loan from the Jim Irsay Collection at Lowell National Historic Park’s Boott Cotton Mills Gallery, from March 18 to April 29.

The exhibit will include a 24-foot portion of the scroll along with archival books, writings, personal objects and photographs including never-before-seen images of Kerouac taken by fellow Beat Generation writer Allen Ginsberg.

“The ‘On the Road’ scroll manuscript is one of the most important and fascinating manuscripts in American literary history,” said Michael Millner, director of the UMass Lowell Kerouac Center. “American literature and American culture more broadly were never the same after ‘On the Road,’ and this is a rare opportunity to experience the manuscript. It is certainly an experience.”

The celebration will also include the two-day Town and the City Festival on April 8 and 9, featuring musical performances and other cultural events at venues across Downtown Lowell.

Artists at the festival, named for Kerouac’s novel of the same title, will include the Adam Ezra Group, Tanya Donelly & Parkington Sisters, Robyn Hitchcock, Will Dailey, Alisa Amador, Aaron & The Lord, Robin Lane, RoseR, Colleen Green, Lowell Chamber Orchestra, Naomi Westwater, Arthur Terembula, Tell, The Old Rochelle, TVO, Free Soil Arts Collective and the Cambodian American Literary Association, among others.

The April 8 and 9 weekend will also feature the first ever Town and The City Festival Record Show from 12 to 5 p.m. at Mill No. 5. Attendees will be able to shop for vinyl and other collectibles from over 30 vendors as well as enjoy live music.

“Music was important to Jack Kerouac as Jack was to countless music makers,” said Chris Porter, president of the Jack Kerouac Foundation board of directors and producer of the festival. “Both Willie Loco Alexander, who released his well-known song ‘Kerouac’ in the 1970s, and Frank Morey have been significantly touched by Jack’s writings and their respective performances will be perfect finales to a special day of talk, poetry and song celebrating Kerouac’s 100th birthday.”

In addition, visitors will be able to enjoy the debut of banners and flags hung from light poles featuring quotes from Kerouac’s work; an app-based scavenger hunt by Adventure Lab; historical markers, a little library and chalk walk by DIY Lowell; the launch of the “Kerouac and Me” podcast; and the publication of unreleased works by Kerouac by Sal Paradise Press, the content development arm of the Kerouac Estate.

Admission is free for all events except for performances that are part of the Town and the City Festival. The full list of events is below.

  • Friday, March 4 through Sunday, May 1: “Reflections from the Road” art exhibit, Arts League of Lowell Gallery, 307 Market St. This exhibit features work by regional artists inspired by specific passages of Kerouac’s writing.
  • Friday, March 11: Kerouac Night of 100 Poems: Blues and Haikus, Pollard Memorial Library, 6 to 9 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 12: Kerouac Sites of Lowell Tour, 1 to 3 p.m. Guided bus tour of the Jack Kerouac sites of Lowell.
  • Saturday, March 12: Kerouac biographers panel featuring Dennis McNally and Holly George Warren, moderated by Todd Tietchen, 4 p.m., Academic Arts Center, 240 Central St.
  • Saturday, March 12: Poetry reading with Anne Waldman, Scarlett Sabet and Paul Marion, 7 p.m. Academic Arts Center, 240 Central St.
  • Saturday, March 12: Music by Frank Morey and Willie Loco Alexander. 9 p.m., Warp and Weft, 197 Market St. 21+
  • Sunday, March 13: Kerouac Sites of Nashua Tour, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Guided bus tour of Jack Kerouac sites of Nashua, New Hampshire. Tour starts and ends in Lowell.
  • Sunday, March 13: Film screening, “Jack Kerouac’s Road: A Franco-American Odyssey,” 2 p.m., Luna Theater at Mill No. 5, 520 Jackson St. This 1987 Canadian Film Board documentary-drama includes reenactments, archival film and photographs and interviews with French-Canadian and American writers and artists of the 1980s, including Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
  • Tuesday, March 15: Virtual bilingual panel, “Tribute to Jack Kerouac: 100 Years, Still Alive,” 6 p.m. Moderated by cultural journalist Tanya Beaumont with panelists Hermenegilde Chiasson, director of the film “Le Grand Jack;” Susan Pinette, director of Franco-American studies at the Canadian-American Center and professor of modern languages at the University of Maine; Jean-Christophe Cloutier, author of “La Vie est d’Hommage” and associate professor of English and comparative literature at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Friday, March 18 through Friday, April 29: “Visions of Kerouac” exhibit, Lowell National Historic Park Boot Cotton Mills Gallery, 115 John St. Exhibit is open from 12 to 5 p.m. daily.
  • Saturday, March 19: “An Evening with David Amram,” Luna Theater at Mill No. 5, 520 Jackson St. Composer and jazz musician David Amran will discuss his days spent with Kerouac and show the film “Pull My Daisy.”
  • April 8-9: The Town and the City Festival. Various locations throughout downtown Lowell. For more information and full lineup, visit
  • Oct. 6-10: Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival, location and times to be determined. The festival will feature tours of Lowell sites significant to Kerouac’s life, panel discussions, readings, jazz and folk music, films, open mic events, poetry competitions and book signings.

For more information on the centennial celebrations, visit

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