Book Festival Celebrates Women Writers, Readers

Article excerpt

"Women Read/Women Write" isn't a plea for attention. Nor is it exclusive to the female sex.

"I think it's a celebration of women reading," says Meredith Mileti, one of the organizers of the event taking place Saturday at Barnes & Noble at South Hills Village. "We all love to read; this is how we choose to relax; this is how we choose to spend our money. Here you go. Here's a party."

The event will feature readings, book-signings and panel discussion by some of Pittsburgh's most accomplished writers. Among those scheduled to attend are Edgar Award-winning author Kathleen George of the North Side; Heather Terrell of Sewickley, who recently made the jump from historical fiction to young adult novels; and Kathryn Miller Haines of Wilkinsburg, also writing for young adults after establishing herself in historical fiction. Mileti, who lives in Mt. Lebanon and is the author of "Aftertaste: A Novel in Five Courses," and romance writer Gwyn Cready, also of Mt. Lebanon, hatched the idea for Women Read/Women Write in their informal writers group.

"It's not like it's a black eye to other book festivals," Cready says. "But when you bring women together, something magical happens. We're kind of hoping that will happen in a literary way as well."

According to Bowker, a company that tracks the publishing industry, women comprise 57 percent of readers and purchase two- thirds of books sold. Cready and Mileti cite these statistics as a factor for putting on their event. They insist there's little bias in the marketplace, but Terrell notes that women writers still have to deal with issues specific to gender. …