Recession? What recession? From now through November, more than 40 book festivals, ranging in duration from one day to a full month, will turn cities across the country into major tourism destinations. Of the fall festivals, 11 were born in the last three years, an indication of festivals' ability to thrive through adversity. This is the first of our two-part round-up of this fall's book festivals.
On hiatus this year are the San Antonio Inter-American Bookfair and Literary Festival, Ohio River Festival of Books, the Great Basin Book Festival and the Rocky Mountain Book Festival. Although the latter cited poor economic conditions and dwindling attendance, published reports suggested internal rifts among the board of directors and the event sponsor.
One major milestone this year is the 25th anniversary of New York is Book Country. And a popular event this fall is the screening and filmmaker discussion of the award-winning documentary Stone Reader: A Movie for Anyone Who's Ever Loved a Book. The documentary follows filmmaker Mark Moskowitz's quest to find Dow Mossman, reclusive author of the critically acclaimed 1972 book Stones of Summer. The documentary will be featured at the Montana Festival of the Book and Nebraska Book Festival.
Log Cabin BookFest
Boise, Idaho, September 9—13 logcablit.org; (208) 331-8000
The fifth annual festival begins with Opera Idaho's performance of arias related to Bel Canto, followed by a citywide book discussion of the Ann Patchett novel. Other highlights are writing workshops, the launch of Daniel Stewart's new book The Imaginary World, a gala prose reading featuring Ron Carlson, a poetry slam, papermaking, a kids' publishing station and adult book arts workshops. Young writers will read their work from the Open Mouth stage at the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial. Panel discussions and brief readings will be given by regional authors including John Rember, Lance Olsen, Ron Carlson, Alvin Greenberg, Debra Magpie Earling, Diane Josephy Peavey, Bill Studebaker, Will Peterson, Charles Potts and Christy Yorke.
Great Salt Lake Book Festival
Salt Lake City, Utah, September 11—14 www.utahhumanities.org/bookfestival/bookfestival2003_01.php; (801) 359-9670
With the theme of "Finding Your Place," the Great Salt Lake Book Festival marks its sixth year. Regional topics will include polygamy, poetry and writing fiction for the LDS (Mormon) audience; an "LDS Authors" panel will include David Woolley, Jennie Hansen and Nancy Allen. Among the dozens of authors participating will be Sandra Cisneros, Joy Harjo, Pamela Munoz Ryan and Newbery Award winner Lois Lowry. Michael Blake, creator of the novel and Academy Award—winning screenplay Dances with Wolves, will provide commentary at a special screening of the movie, with a book signing to follow. Other events include a "Silent Auction of Rare Books" to benefit the Utah Humanities Council's family literacy program; a "Motheread/Fatheread Poetry Slam Workshop"; and a "Rare Book Road Show" with experts to appraise festival-goers' treasures.
Fall for the Book Literary Festival
Fairfax, Va., September 15—20 www.fallforthebook.org; (703) 993-3986
Readings, panel discussions, poetry slams and author signings are the highlights of this free community-based public festival celebrating literacy, reading, and writing. In its fifth year, the festival will be held at the George Mason University Fairfax campus with such participating authors as Paul M. Gaston, Richard Bausch and Stephen Goodwin, Eric Pankey, Valerie Martin, Porter Shreve, Sharyn McCrumb and Gretchen Moran Laskas. Tobias Wolff will hold a reading and receive the Fall for the Book Fairfax Prize for his lifetime achievement and contributions to the literary arts.
New York Is Book Country
New York, N.Y., September 17—21 www.nyisbookcountry.com; (646) 557-6361
Celebrating its 25th anniversary, New York is Book Country includes in-school programs and special themed book events in every borough of New York during the festival week: "New York is Business Books Country," with panelists Arthur Levitt, Jean Chatzky, David Gardner, Diane Kennedy and Robert Kiyosaki; "New York is Film Book Country"; and a day celebrating New York City books and authors. More than 250,000 visitors are expected at the free Fifth Avenue Street Fair, where they can meet authors at over 200 booths. The Street Fair features entertainment and special interest sections including African-American Literature; Antiquarian Row; Spanish-language books; Theatre/Film Books; Art Books; Jewish Interest; and new this year, Graphic Novels sponsored by DC Comics.
Montana Festival of the Book
Missoula, Mont., September 18—20 www.bookfest-mt.org; (406) 243-6022
More than 5,000 visitors are expected to attend this two-day festival, in its fourth year celebrating the northern Rockies literary landscape. The more than 60 events include a banquet honoring the first Montana Book Award winners; a screening of the Stone Reader documentary; a panel on the works of Mildred Walker; a celebration of Montana's First One Book, Winter Wheat; and an appreciation of Stephen Ambrose. Participating authors include Leif Enger, Debra Magpie Earling, Tim Cahill, James Crumley, Larry Watson, David Quammen, Annick Smith, Bharti Kirchner, Diane Smith, Guy Vanderhaeghe, Stephenie Ambrose Tubbs and Ripley Hugo. Venues in downtown Missoula include the Wilma Theatre, the Holiday Inn Parkside, Caras Park, the Missoula Public Library and the Art Museum of Missoula.
Baltimore Book Festival
Baltimore, Md., September 19—21 www.baltimoreevents.org/calendar/events/book_index.html; (410) 752-8632
The free Baltimore Book Festival returns for its eighth year with the Mayor's Award of Literary Excellence presented by film director and new author Barry Levinson. The Baltimore Book Project, launched last year to encourage Baltimoreans to enrich themselves through reading, will culminate with a presentation by Dr. Benjamin S. Carson Sr., author of the autobiography that was read for the Project. Panels include "Urban Fiction," with authors Shannon Holmes, Vickie Stringer, Kwan, Hope Clarke, Carl Weber and Jenoyne Adams. Other featured authors include Harriette Cole, Michael Datcher, Bernice McFadden, Karen Quinones Miller and Victoria Christopher Murray. There will also be a poetry slam, a "Creativity Café," a Lifestyle Stage with demonstrations by cookbook authors and a "Breakfast with the Authors" with Donna Andrews, Valerie Malmot, Larry & Rosemary Mild, Andy Straka and Dirk Wyle.
The New Yorker Festival
New York City., September 19—21 festival.newyorker.com; (877) 847-TNYF
Inaugurated in 2000 to celebrate the magazine's 75th anniversary, this three-day festival of art, music, fiction, poetry, journalism and humor has attracted more than 40,000 people in the past three years. Among the literary events are "Fiction Night," with readings by E. L. Doctorow, Grace Paley, Richard Price, Jeffrey Eugenides, Jhumpa Lahiri, Sherman Alexie, Zadie Smith and others. In "Writers and their Subjects," Mike Nichols will be interviewed by John Lahr; John McPhee and Ian Frazier will discuss writing and fishing in "Hook, Line, and Metaphor"; and Calvin Trillin will give a lecture on his favorite foods from around the world. A staged reading on humor writing will feature Steve Martin, Woody Allen, Trillin, Andy Borowitz, Susan Orlean, Bruce McCall, Ian Frazier, Paul Rudnick, Anthony Lane and others.
Atlanta Literary Festival
Atlanta, Ga., September 19—28 www.atlantaliteraryfestival.com; (404) 259-4841
During its 10 days of literary events, Atlanta's second annual festival takes place in several city venues including the Fabulous Fox Theatre, Phipps Plaza, Centennial Park, The Margaret Mitchell House, the Atlanta Fulton Public Library and various bookstores. The kick-off author is Nicholas Sparks. "The Night of 100 Authors" highlights local and regional authors with readings and signings throughout the Atlanta area, with a portion of the proceeds donated to literacy organizations. New this year, The Chattahoochee Review hosts a Southeastern Conference of Editors and Publishers, featuring the Council of Literary Magazine & Presses Lit Mag and Small Press Fair. Visitors can meet authors Eric Haney, David Fulmer and Phillip DePoy at "The Writers Symposium," and author panel discussions will take place at Pages at the Phipps Plaza Mall. Algonquin Books will celebrate its 2oth anniversary with "Great Storytellers of the South" during the Moveable Feast of Authors. Among the participating authors are Lee Smith, Jill McCorkle, Terry Kay, Jim Grimsley, Robert Morgan, Pearl Cleage, Paul Hemphill, George Singleton, Marshall Boswell and Shannon Ravenel.
The Santa Barbara Book & Author Festival
Santa Barbara, Calif., September 20 www.sbbookfestival.org; (805) 962-9500
Highlights of this year's fifth annual festival include Dean Koontz being presented the Ross Macdonald Award; a Book Club Brunch; two hours of Spanish poetry read in Spanish and in translation; and the second annual "Santa Barbara Reads!" featuring Yann Martel's Life of Pi. Also on the roster are panels on women's fiction, including authors , and Ciji Ware; "Books and Blues," featuring Peter Guralnick; the inaugural Luis Leal Award for Excellence in Chicano and Latino Literature; a "Mystery & Suspense" pavilion with guest of honor Dale Brown and authors Kris Neri, Rodney Johnson, Martha Lawrence, Cynthia Riggs, Nathan Walpow and Christopher Rice. The panel "Hollywood Writers Who Do It All" will feature Stephen Cannell, Gar Anthony Haywood, William Link and Roger Simon.
West Texas Book and Author Festival
Abilene, Tex., September 25—27 www.abilenetx.com/apl/festivalindex.html; (325) 793-4682
This third annual celebration of Texas authors will include an Evening with John Erickson and a "Boots and Books Luncheon" which will present the third annual A.C. Greene Award to Elmer Kelton. A "Texas Cookbook Gala" to benefit the Abilene Public Library will feature Terry Thompson-Anderson, Johnny Carrabba, Damian Mandola, Grady Spears, June Naylor and Diana Barrios Trevino. And for a $5 donation to the Branch Library Development Fund, a student will write and present you with a 100-words-or-less novel based on your life.
Twin Cities Book Festival
Minneapolis, Minn., September 27 www.raintaxi.com/bookfest
Another festival celebrating its third year, the Twin Cities Book Festival will take place at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College. The Festival features exhibits by local book publishers, magazines, journals and book artists as well as new and used books for sale by booksellers. Among the authors reading and signing their work will be Nick Bantock, Charles Baxter, Kathe Koja and cartoonist Peter Kuper, who will offer a multimedia presentation of his work.
The Latino Book & Family Festivals
Los Angeles, September 27-28; Houston, October 11—12; Dallas/Fort Worth, October 25—26; Chicago, November 22—23; Ontario, Calif., December 6—7 www.latinobookfestival.com/home; (713) 236-1036
This fall, the largest Latino consumer expo in the U.S. will visit five of the country's top Latino markets in a series of free two-day events in themed "villages" which include music, dancing and capoeira performances. In L.A.—where the festival is celebrating its sixth year—presenters will include authors Alisa Valdes Rodriguez, Jose-Luis Orozco, Christina Garcia, Felicia Luna Lemus, Daniel Rodriguez and Henry Cervantes. The Houston festival, now in its second year, has increased its promotional budget and will be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center in the heart of newly revitalized downtown Houston.
The Boston Globe Book Festival
October 1—30; (617) 929-2641
Last year, the Boston Globe Book Festival added a special day for children, hosted by Bright Horizons on the Charles; this year's children's authors will include Harriet Ziefert, Pam Munoz Ryan and Margaret Willey. Other events in the festival's 37th year include a screenwriters panel and a "Mystery Night." A panel discussing African-American book publishing will include Amber Books publisher Tony Rose and authors Toni Morrison, Nikki Giovanni, Gail Collins, Sena Jeter Naslund, Diana Der-Hovanessian and James Carroll. Events will take place at the Boston Public Library, the Charles Hotel and Historic Faneuil Hall.
Chicago Book Festival
Chicago, Ill., October 1—31 www.chicagopubliclibrary.org; (312) 747-1194
This month-long celebration of books, authors and reading will happen in libraries, bookstores, universities, cultural institutions and neighborhoods across the city. Participating authors in this third annual festival will include Al Franken, Sandra Cisneros, Maxine Hong Kingston, Sara Paretsky, Georgie Ann Geyer and Mitch Albom. The Chicago Public Library Foundation's Carl Sandburg Literary Award will be presented to Robert A. Caro. An author series will feature nationally recognized and Chicago-area authors reading and signing books at libraries, bookstores and other locations across Chicago. "One Book, One Chicago" will feature programs and discussions for the fifth selection of the citywide book club.
Amelia Book Island Festival
Fernandina Beach, Fla., October 2—5 www.bookisland.org; (904) 491-8176
Visitors to this third annual festival weekend will have a chance to meet some 36 authors, among them Carla Mancari, Kay Day, Lee Gramling, Valerie Boyd, Nancy Bartholomew and Newbery Medal winner Lois Lowry. The county-wide "Authors-in-Schools" visits will also include Adrian Fogelin, Holly Bea, Marianne Berkes, Steve Berry and others. Other scheduled events include 25 author-led workshops and readings; book signings; lunch-with-authors events; and a Friends of the Library reception for author David Ball.
National Book Festival
Washington, D.C., October 4 www.loc.gov/bookfest; (888) 714-4696
Sponsored by the Library of Congress and hosted by first lady Laura Bush, this third annual festival features more than 80 authors, illustrators, poets and storytellers. Among the participants are Julie Andrews, James Patterson, Robert Caro, Avi, R.L. Stine, Walter Dean Myers, Stan and Jan Berenstain, Stephen Carter, Edwidge Danticat, James McBride, Nelson DeMille, Julia Glass, Pat Conroy, Cassandra King, Catherine Coulter, Michael Beschloss and Bob Schieffer. Two new pavilions will showcase "Poetry" and "Home and Family," where Paige Davis and Frank Bielec of TV's Trading Spaces will appear, as will Patrick O'Connell, chef Jacques Pépin and 1987 U.S. Poet Laureate Richard Wilbur. Other pavilions include "Fiction & Imagination," "Mysteries & Thrillers," "History & Biography" and "Storytelling." WNBA and NBA basketball stars will be featured readers at the "Teens & Children" pavilion, as part of the NBA's Read to Achieve program. Reading programs and literary events in all 50 states will be represented in the "Pavilion of the States," and the Library of Congress will have its own pavilion with demonstrations of its services such as a conservation clinic for family photographs and letters. Storybook characters, including children's favorites from PBS, will appear onstage and also stroll the festival grounds.