The dedicated organizers of book fairs across the country who have worked hard to create scores of events in the past few years are being rewarded with bigger crowds. The surge of new fall festivals has abated somewhat, but existing festivals continue to expand. Seattle's Northwest Bookfest, the San Francisco Bay Area Book Festival and Sacramento Reads have all moved to new, larger venues. After a successful first year, the Santa Fe Festival of the Book is expanding from three to five days. And the Los Angeles Latino Book and Family Festival has branched out to Chicago and hopes to add other cities in 2000.

Book fairs are taking hold in almost every corner of the country. Seattle even manages to draw more than 30,000 visitors to each of its two separate fall reading festivals. Specialty fairs are also gaining popularity, from the Banff Mountain Book Festival in Alberta, Canada, to the upstart Hampton Roads African Heritage Book Expo in Norfolk, Va.

Los Angeles Latino Book and Family Festival

Los Angeles, August 28-29

Chicago Latino Book and Family Festival

Chicago, November 20-21

(760) 434-7474 and (714) 973-7900 for both festivals;

In only three years, the L.A. Latino Book and Family Festival has become something of a franchise. After attracting more than 30,000 visitors to this celebration of Latino books and culture last year, the festival has expanded to Chicago this year and hopes to set up shop in San Jose, San Diego and Houston in the future. The L.A. program will feature author appearances by Ana Castillo, Luis Rodriguez, Rudolfo Anaya and Gary Soto. In addition to books, the LALBFF focuses on careers, health, real estate, education and, especially, children. "You've never seen so many baby strollers," said festival coordinator Ruben Martinez. "Our goal is keeping kids in school, by reading out loud to them and by building a community of new readers." Expected attendance at each: 50,000.

Bumbershoot Literary Arts Festival

Seattle, September 3-6

(206) 281-7788;

As part of Seattle's biggest public arts and music celebration, Bumbershoot attracts thousands of visitors to its spoken-word performances and to the largest small press book fair on the West Coast. This year's most publicized event is the Heavyweight P try Championship, featuring a p try slam duel between Andrei Codrescu and Saul Williams (creator of the film Slam!). Also scheduled to attend (but not involved in literary combat) are David Guterson, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Kathleen Alcalá and Chuck Palahniuk. Expected attendance: 40,000.

Great Salt Lake Book Festival

Salt Lake City, September 17-18

(801) 359-9670

Salt Lake City's annual book fair is now in its second year and hopes to attract more book lovers with an expanded series of programming. Ivan Doig, Pam Houston, Alison Hawthorne Deming and Utah P t Laureate David Dodd Lee will be among 65 writers attending. Programs will include panels on Hispanic-American literature and writing Utah history. The fair is especially strong in book arts, with extensive demonstrations and exhibits on papermaking, letterpress printing, bookbinding, illuminated manuscripts and rare books. Expected attendance: 2000.

Sacramento Reads

Sacramento, Calif., September 18-19

(916) 443-6223

Now in its 10th year, Sacramento Reads moves indoors to Downtown Plaza from its former location in Crocker Park. Children will be a big target audience this year, and the show continues its mission of increasing literacy by raising funds for the Sacramento Area Literacy Coalition. Expected attendance: 30,000.

New York Is Book Country

New York, September 22-26

(212) 207-7242; www.bookreporter. com/nyisbookcountry/nyisbookcountry.asp

End-of-millennium fever has hit one of the country's biggest book fairs. It's the 21st year for NYIBC, and it just happens to be the dawn of the 21st century, so there's plenty of Y2K in this year's programming. NYIBC will publicize a selection of 21 books deemed "classics for the new century," and children in the city's schools and libraries will help pick a list of the all-time favorite kid's books. City-wide events will culminate in the bustling Sunday street fair held on Fifth Avenue between 48th and 57th Streets. Two new performance stages will feature all-day entertainment, including a children's performance space. Authors on deck this year include William Joyce, Robert Pinsky, A. Scott Berg, Eric Idle, Frank McCourt, Neil Simon, Edwidge Danticat, Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, Elizabeth George and Susan Faludi. Expected attendance: 250,000.

Great Basin Book Festival

Reno, Nev., September 23-25

(775) 784-6587; bookfest/1999

Nevada's annual book festival, now in its third year, attracts a small but talented group of authors. This year is no exception, with Anne Lamott, Barry Lopez, E. Annie Proulx and David Mas Masumoto arriving to talk about their work. A book fair on September 25 in Reno's Wingfield Park will feature a booksellers' marketplace, book discussion groups and readings by local authors. Expected attendance: 4000.

Baltimore Book Festival

Baltimore, September 24-26

(410) 837-4636;

Anniversaries are on the mind of the organizers of this fourth annual festival. The 150th anniversary of the death of Edgar Allan P and the bicentennial of George Washington's birth will be commemorated in panel discussions, lectures and a dramatic performance of P 's "The Tell-Tale Heart." Living authors who will also be part of the festivities include Jane Goodall, Susan Faludi and James Howe. Known for its extensive cooking programming, this year's demonstration stage will feature culinary lessons from Gail Greco and George Hirsch. More than 150 exhibitors are expected. Expected attendance: 35,000.

Santa Fe Festival of the Book

Santa Fe, N.Mex.,

September 28-October 2

(505) 473-7266;

"It was a great success," said festival director Bruce Adams of the Santa Fe Festival of the Book's inaugural season last year. Turnout was a little less than expected, but that didn't stop the festival from expanding from three days to five this year. "We found a sponsor willing to fund the extra programs," explained Adams. National Book Award-winner Edward Ball will give a keynote address; authors Pam Houston, Adrienne Rich and Newbery Honor-winner Richard Peck will also speak. Among the events with a Southwestern flair will be a cooking demonstration by Jane Butel, diva of Southwest cuisine, and a chautauqua on the life of Mabel Dodge Luhan, the legendary New Mexico literary patron. Expected attendance: 5000.

High Plains Book Festival

Amarillo, Tex.,

September 30-October 2

(806) 378-4228

This modest fair, held annually at the Amarillo Civic Center, will focus on youth programming for two days, then offer a small book fair for adults, complete with a p try corner to provide a forum for local word-spinners. Participating authors this year will include local playwright Don Nigro (The Fisher King) and Mercedes Lackey.

Boston Globe Book Festival

Boston, October 2, 17-21

(617) 929-2641

Since 1967, the Boston Globe has sponsored a series of readings and literary luncheons every fall at various locations throughout the city, including the Boston Public Library. This year's festival will welcome Thomas Keneally, Sara Paretsky, Nicholas Sparks, Erik Larson, Walter Mosley, Esmeralda Santiago, Alan Dershowitz and Peter Maas.

Southern Festival of Books

Nashville, October 8-9

(615) 320-7001;

Nashville's "Celebration of the Written Word" now enters its 11th year as a promoter of both Southern and national writers. Nearly 100 exhibit booths will fill War Memorial Plaza once again. Confirmed authors include Harold Evans, Tim Gautreaux, Sharon Olds, Jack Prelutsky, Reynolds Price, Faith Ringgold and Scott Turow. The focus of panel discussions will run the gamut from civil rights to first-time novelists and the work of Eudora Welty. In what is one of the festival's more unusual events, "Blue Dog" artist George Rodrigue will paint a canvas under the watchful eye of book lovers. Expected attendance: 30,000.

Novello Festival of Reading

Charlotte, N.C., October 14-25

(704) 336-2801; novello/1999

More than a week of readings and literary celebrations will be part of this ninth annual festival, North Carolina's biggest book event. The Novello Festival begins with a book fair (which has grown from a one-day event) followed by a series of lectures by distinguished authors. Several have already sold out. That's no surprise when you consider the lineup: John Berendt, Fannie Flagg, Walter Cronkite, Octavia Butler and George and Barbara Bush. The festival will include a health care and fitness pavilion, capped by an appearance by fitness maniac Richard Simmons. Expected attendance: 50,000.

San Francisco Bay Area Book Festival

San Francisco, October 16-17

(415) 487-4550;

This year, the 10th annual San Francisco Bay Area Book Festival moves to a new venue”the Fort Mason Center overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. More than 200 authors are expected, including Howard Zinn, Susan Faludi, Rebecca Wells and Lou Reed. Children's and teen areas have been expanded this year, with the book fair now featuring 250 publishers and exhibitors. Featured events include readings and open microphone sessions at the Allen Ginsberg P try Cafe, cooking demonstrations and a kids' stage where the ODC Dance Company will perform an adaptation of The Velveteen Rabbit. Expected attendance: 15,000.

Rhode Island Festival of Children's Books & Authors

Providence, R.I., October 23-24

(401) 331-9696

For 11 years, this festival has been quietly celebrating the joys of reading in Providence. Held at Lincoln School, a private school, the event will feature storytelling, a children's playroom and costumed book characters. Expected attendance: 2000.

Banff Mountain Book Festival

Banff, Alberta, Canada, November 3-7

(403) 762-6406;

The only book festival in North America to specialize in the literature of the outdoors, the Banff Mountain Book Festival takes advantage of a tremendous setting in the Canadian Rockies. Kicking off the festival will be mountaineer David Breashears (Last Climb: The Legendary Everest Expeditions of George Mallory). Also planning to attend is Terry Tempest Williams, Wade Davis and climber Jack Tackle. Seminars will cover the year's climbing achievements and adventure travel among other outdoor topics. Bernadette McDonald, director of the Banff Centre for Mountain Culture, which organizes the event, described the festival as "a celebration of mountain literature."

Texas Book Festival

Austin, Tex., November 5-7

(512) 477-4055; www.

Texas First Lady (and aspiring national First Lady) Laura Bush will once again serve as Honorary Chairman of the fourth annual Texas Book Festival. Having grown exponentially in its short life span, this year's festival will feature more than 100 authors, including Louis Sachar, Dan Rather, Ana Castillo, Roy Blount Jr., Carol Higgins Clark, Mary Higgins Clark, Peter Matthiessen, Jane Smiley, Scott Turow and former Monkee Michael Nesmith. A new "tasting" event will allow readers to mingle with cookbook authors and taste their creations for a $35 admission. Screenwriter Horton Foote (To Kill a Mockingbird) will be honored with the Bookend Lifetime Achievement Award, and an expanded outdoor book fair will take place outside the Texas Capitol. Since 1996, the festival has raised more than $585,000 to benefit public libraries across the state. Expected attendance: 25,000.

Buckeye Book Fair

Wooster, Ohio, November 6

(330) 287-1617

Ohio's most popular book fair has raised more than $130,000 for literacy programs in the past 12 years. Organizers are hoping to increase that total through still more book sales. All titles are discounted at the festival, accounting for the majority of the fair's revenue (adult admission is only $1; seniors and children are free). To help draw book buyers to Wooster this year, the fair will feature authors William Least Heat-Moon, White House correspondent Helen Thomas and Ziggy creator Tom Wilson. Expected attendance: 7000.

Times Festival of Reading

St. Petersburg, Fla., November 13-14

(727) 893-8481;

Dave Barry, Max Frankel and Ernest Hemingway are just a few of the authors appearing at the seventh annual Times Festival of Reading. Okay, Ernest won't be there, but actors will portray Papa Hemingway, Oscar Wilde, Mary Shelley, Louisa May Alcott and other writers at the festival's Famous Dead Authors event. Also on the schedule are teen book talks, "Books of the Century" discussions and a giveaway of 5000 books to children under 14. Expected attendance: 25,000.

Northwest Bookfest

Seattle, November 13-14

(206) 378-1883;

Things will be moving and shaking at the fifth installment of the Pacific Northwest's largest book event. This year, the venue switches to the larger and more prominent Washington State Convention and Trade Center. Executive director Kris Molesworth told PW, "This new location is an exciting move for Bookfest. It offers a convenient and comfortable setting for us to host authors and book lovers." The new space allows for added programming, including a cooking stage and more extensive events for teenagers. Ivan Doig, David Guterson, William Least Heat-Moon, Jonathan Raban and Dan Savage will make appearances. Among the diverse panel discussions will be a commemoration of the 25th anniversary of Graywolf Press, the distinguished nonprofit publisher with roots in the Northwest. Expected attendance: 30,000.

Miami Book Fair International

Miami, November 14-21

(305) 237-3258; www.

Vying with New York Is Book Country for the title of biggest book fair in the country, this global-minded fair attracts hundreds of authors from around the world to the campus of Miami-Dade Community College. The week-long celebration consists of educational events during the day and a series of readings and lectures in the evening. A three-day street fair completes the festival, featuring more than 300 exhibitors, 250 authors, rare book appraisals and activities for children. This year's lineup isn't confirmed, but previous festivals have featured writers from every continent except Antarctica, from Isabel Allende to Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Expected attendance: 250,000.

Rocky Mountain Book Festival

Denver, November 18-20

(303) 839-8320;

The seventh annual Rocky Mountain Book Festival will reach beyond a regional focus. According to executive director Christiane Citron, "We've been particularly successful in promoting regional authors and would like to expand on this with new authors, new subjects." A book club contest will pit 10 clubs against one another to compete for a meeting with an author. A banned books area will stage continuous readings from notable censored titles. Winners of the 1999 Colorado Book Awards will read from their work, and renowned jazz singer Oscar Brown Jr. will perform. Confirmed authors include Joyce Maynard, Dava Sobel, John Berendt and Colorado P t Laureate Mary Crow. Expected attendance: 20,000.

Kentucky Book Fair

Frankfort, Ky., November 20

(606) 873-8989

Kentucky's primary literary event is now in its 18th year and hopes to add to the $175,000 that has already been raised for public libraries in the course of the fair's history. More than 150 authors will attend this year; in the past, the event has attracted such writers as Wendell Berry and Barbara Kingsolver. The KBF exclusively earns money from the sale of books at the fair. Expected attendance: 5000.

Hampton Roads African Heritage

Book Expo

Norfolk, Va., November 27

(757) 547-5542;

The theme of this year's African-American book festival is "Pan-African Book Publishing for the 21st Century." For the 12th year, the expo, held at Norfolk's Waterside Marriott Hotel, will showcase multicultural booksellers, publishers and authors, including Kwame Alexander and Jan Madris. Expected attendance: 2000.

Engelson is a Seattle freelance writer and a contributing editor to Metropolitan Living.