Bookmarks Festival of Books & Authors Sept. 5-8
WINSTON-SALEM – Bookmarks will present its 15th annual Festival of Books & Authors, which will take place at various locations in Winston-Salem, on the weekend after Labor Day.
From Sept. 5-8, attendees can enjoy a variety of author and literary events that celebrate the joy of reading and writing. Bookmarks’ Festival continues to be the largest annual book festival in the Carolinas and will bring more than 50 bestselling and award-winning authors to Winston-Salem this year.
Thursday, Sept. 5
The festival kicks off with a keynote event with Casey Cep on Thursday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m. at the Hanesbrands Theatre (209 N. Spruce St., Winston-Salem). Cep’s impressive debut, “Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee,” follows works published in The New Yorker, The New York Times and The New Republic, among others.
“Furious Hours” chronicles American novelist Harper Lee’s efforts to report on the infamous murder trial of Rev. Willie Maxwell in Alabama and explores shocking true crimes, courtroom drama and racial politics. Cep’s account of Harper Lee and her work that never made it to print is a rich and insightful story that doubles as a commentary on the social, political and racial histories of the American South. This event is free and open to the public; doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 6
On Friday, Sept. 6 at 10:30 a.m., Belinda Smith-Sullivan will give a cookbook talk and recipe tasting event at Dewey’s Bakery at Thruway Shopping Center (262 S. Stratford Road, Winston-Salem). Smith-Sullivan’s cookbook “Just Peachy” includes 70 peach-infused recipes, and some of these will be available for attendees to sample. Smith-Sullivan will speak about the varieties of peaches, their histories and growing them at this free event.
That evening, Bookmarks will host its 15th birthday celebration at The Ramkat (170 W. Ninth St., Winston-Salem) from 6:30-9:30 p.m. The community will celebrate with featured festival authors and Bookmarks staff, volunteers and supporters. Attendees can enjoy a toast, a meal, cake by Dewey’s Bakery, bookish games, live music, a signature cocktail and a few surprises. Tickets are required and are $60 per person or $115 for two.
Saturday, Sept. 7
On Saturday, Sept. 7, the day begins with a Children’s Author Pancake Breakfast at 8 a.m. This ticketed event, sponsored by Garner Foods, features the opportunity to mingle and enjoy breakfast with middle grade authors. This event is geared towards children ages 8-12 (or of a similar reading level) and all children must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets are required and are $35 for one adult and one child to attend. Tickets for additional children or adults are $10 each.
The free street festival portion of the festival begins at 10 a.m. on Sept. 7 in downtown Winston-Salem and will feature 65 exhibitors and food trucks. The festival footprint stretches from the Bookmarks Bookstore at 634 W. Fourth St. to Hanesbrands Theatre at 209 N. Spruce St. and takes place along Holly Avenue, Poplar Street and Spruce Street. Author panels and other author interactions will be held inside the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts, the Hanesbrands Theatre, Calvary Moravian Church, Bookmarks Bookstore and Footnote.
The children’s area will be in the Foundations Early Learning Center parking lot (300 Poplar St. NW), adjacent to Bookmarks Bookstore. The Kids Area will have an outer space theme and will include a mobile planetarium, exhibitors and an author stage.
Free programming for kids will include the following author panels: “Seeing Ghosts: Middle Grade Ghostly Adventures” with Katherine Arden and Victoria Schwab; “Middle School Stinks” with Ali Benjamin (“The Next Great Paulie Fink”), Stacy McAnulty (“The World Ends in April”), and Renée Watson (“Some Places More Than Others”); “Seeing Stories: Graphic Novel Talk” with Cece Bell and Gale Galligan; and “My Complicated Summer: Finding Family in the Big City” with Renée Watson and Ibi Zoboi.
For younger readers, a Curious George Storytime; Elephant & Piggie Storytime; Space Storytime with Stacy McAnulty; Tow Truck Storytime with Anne Marie Pace (creator of the Vampirina series); and Storytime with James Ransome will be offered.
Free programming for teens (and adults) will include the following author panels: “Monsters, Magic, and Warrior Women” with Cinda Williams Chima (“Deathcaster”), Dhonielle Clayton (“The Everlasting Rose”), Victoria Schwab (The Monsters of Verity duology), and Megan Shepherd (“Midnight Beauties”); “Escape from Normal” with Katherine Arden and Becky Chambers; “Do You See Me? The Importance of Inclusive Characters” with Becky Chambers and Amber Smith; and “Urgency of Now: Why the World Needs Diverse Books” with Dhonielle Clayton and Ebony Elizabeth Thomas (“The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games”). Amber Smith will also lead a free Young Adult Writing Workshop.
To further celebrate Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and the region of the South, panel discussions will also feature: “Traveling North Carolina with Arcadia” with Stephen Compton, Anne Fitten Glenn, Brent Martin and Steve Miller; “Our Towns” with Deborah and James Fallows; “The Literary Triad” with Joseph Mills, Valeria Nieman and Jacob Paul; “Exploring the North Carolina Literary Landscape” with Margaret Bauer, Randall Kenan and Daniel Wallace, moderated by Ed Southern; and “Appalachian Reckoning” with Jeremy Jones, Ricardo Nazario y Colón and Kirstin Squint, moderated by Meredith McCarroll.
Saturday’s free panel discussions for adults will also include: “Gun Violence in America” with Dave Cullen (“Parkland”) and Andy Parker (“For Alison: The Murder of a Young Journalist and a Father’s Fight for Gun Safety”); “Real Life Reimagined: Historical Fiction” with Téa Obreht (“Inland”), Michael Parker (“Prairie Fever”), and Mary Doria Russell (“The Women of Copper Country”); “The Truth of Crime” with Billy Jensen (“Chase Darkness with Me: How One True-Crime Writer Started Solving Murders”); “Bookmarks Signed First Picks” with Angie Cruz, Cullen, and Obreht; “Life’s Messes and What I Learned Along the Way” with Mary Laura Philpott (“I Miss You When I Blink”) and Sarah McCoy (“Marilla of Green Gables”); “Mary, Queen of Scots” with Margaret George; “Finding Home” with Angie Cruz and Rajia Hassib; “Bookmarks’ Blind Dates” with Jasmine Guillory and Martha Hall Kelly; and “Fall in Love” with Jen DeLuca, Jasmine Guillory, Abbi Waxman and Kerry Winfrey.
Returning to the Festival is North Carolina Writers’ Network Slush Pile Live!, which gives writers the opportunity to get feedback in real time from editors and agents. This year’s featured editors and agents are Firebrand Press owner Lauren Faulkenberry, Press 53 editor Christopher Forrest, and Hub City Press Programs Director Meg Reid. The free event will be moderated by NC Writers’ Network Executive Director Ed Southern and will take place from 12:30-1:30 p.m. at Footnote.
Other free Saturday events include a “Book & Author Tea,” from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. sponsored by Mast General Store, with Sarah Blake, Martha Hall Kelly, Ann Mah and Lauren Willig at Footnote; “Just Peachy” with Chef Belinda Smith-Sullivan and samples by Dewey’s Bakery from 3 to 3:45 p.m. in the Bookmarks 4th Street Breezeway (between Bookmarks Bookstore and 4th Street); and a Willingham Story Slam from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Bookmarks 4th Street Breezeway. A Festival Trivia Night will be held at 7 p.m., presented with support from Blair, at Footnote. The Trivia Night is free, but reservations are required.
Ticketed Saturday events include a “Graphic Novel Workshop” for children ages 8 and up with “El Deafo” author Cece Bell at 12:30 p.m. at the Sawtooth School for Visual Art. For $14, attendees can learn about creating a graphic novel and practice creating their own and will receive a copy of “Chick and Brain: Smell My Foot!”
Also at 12:30 p.m., Gale Galligan, a creator of The Babysitters Club graphic novels, will lead a “Graphic Novel Workshop” for readers ages 8 and up. For $12, attendees can learn about graphic novel creation and will receive a copy of “Boy Crazy Stacey: The Babysitters Club Graphic Novel #7.” Joy Jones, author of “Fearless Public Speaking: A Guide for Beginners,” will lead a “Fearless Public Speaking Workshop” for young adult festival-goers ages 12 and up at 1:30 p.m. For $16, attendees can get help finding their voice and get their own copy of Jones’ “Fearless Public Speaking.” The Graphic Novel and Fearless Public Speaking Workshops will be at the Sawtooth School for Visual Art at 251 N. Spruce St.
Sunday, September 8
On Sunday, Bookmarks will close the festival with the annual Festival Author Brunch and Parapalooza. Attendees will have a chance to hear from more than 15 of the 2019 festival authors as they present excerpts from their work. They will also be able to chat with them over brunch. This ticketed event is a chance to hear from even more festival authors — and find new favorites. Tickets are $35 each or $250 for a table of 8.
For all ticketed events, please call Brown Paper Tickets at 1-800-838-3006 or visit www.bookmarksnc.org/festival19 for full information and a link to buy tickets online.