Library friends to host inaugural Festival of the Book
by Anna Oakes
Sponsored by the Friends of the Watauga County Public Library, the festival takes place at Meadowbrook Inn in Blowing Rock Friday and Saturday, Aug. 3 and 4, and includes author discussion panels on various topics, book readings and signings, exhibitors, a writing workshop, a Civil War Symposium and a dinner with best-selling authors.
“We have so many really fine authors,” said Suzanne Thompson, chair of the festival and a Friends of the Watauga Library board member. “I think it's a really unique experience to have them all under one roof.”
Known for its used book sales at Boone Mall, the Friends of the Watauga County Public Library decided on the High Country Festival of the Book as a new community event and library fundraiser.
“We thought we would do something a little bit more exciting,” Thompson said.
Among the authors coming to town are award-winning, Oprah Book Club author Robert Morgan; New York Times best-selling mystery writer Rita Mae Brown, critically acclaimed memoirist Wade Rouse; James Dickey Review General Editor Casey Clabough; and culinary writer Sheri Castle.
Free events begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Meadowbrook's Four Seasons Ballroom, check out numerous exhibitors, including authors, publishers, booksellers and others. Panel discussions and author readings and book signings also begin at 9 a.m. Saturday.
A number of events may appeal to children, including a “Make Your Own Book” craft activity on the patio from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., readings by children's author Jonathan Graves, a presentation by children's book illustrator Gail Haley and an Emerging Authors presentation by Watauga Public Library's Youth Services at 2:30 p.m.
“To start kids early on buying books and having them signed by the author is pretty special,” Thompson said.
Special events on Friday and Saturday of the festival will require tickets and serve as fundraisers for the Watauga Public Library.
The Civil War Symposium takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. The symposium features presentations by experts in history, anthropology, journalism and historical collections. The $50 ticket includes lunch, and information packet and an invitation to the exhibitors' sneak preview from 4 to 7 p.m.
Rouse will lead a memoir writing workshop called “Finding Your Fears and Finding Your Voice” from 1 to 3:30 p.m. on Friday. The registration fee is $30.
On Saturday, dine with best-selling authors at the Movable Author Feast from 6 to 9 p.m. Authors will move from table to table throughout the meal, giving guests the opportunity to speak with and have their books signed by the authors. Tickets are $100, of which $70 is tax deductible. Ticket sales for the Movable Author Feast end on Monday, July 30.
For more information about the festival or to buy tickets, call (828) 264-8784 or visit http://www.highcountryfestivalofthebook.com.