Come Meet Authors of All Genres at Literary Festival
A quick chat with an Aurora newsmaker
If you love a good mystery, want to meet a chef, enjoy reading history or plan to read or write the great American novel, you will find programs made to order this weekend at the Midwest Literary Festival.
The festival is an opportunity to talk to booksellers and sit down with your favorite - or soon-to-be-favorite -authors and illustrators. Festival director Rick Mervine talks about what will take place in Aurora throughout the two-day festival.
Q. What is a literary festival?
A. A literary festival, as the Midwest Literary Festival, is a celebration of the written word and literary arts. We don't limit that just to books, it could be in a lot of different ways the written word is delivered.
Q. How many book-related people are coming to participate in the festival?
A. We try to provide a well-rounded festival. There are a total of 94 authors coming. Of that number, 31 authors are part of the Midwestern Authors Tent, which is new for us.
It is an opportunity to meet authors based in the Midwest and (who) maybe are not best-selling authors at this point, but they have good works, been published and are looking to become more well-known.
Of the additional 63 authors, many are best-selling authors or have won writing awards. All our featured authors and programs are on our Web site, midwestliteraryfestival.com.
Q. What is new in the children's book area?
A. The entire children's and young adults' center is new this year.
We have taken it off the street, where it was centered on reading some books and crafting a book cover, and now have a very strong child's and young adults' center inside North Island Center, where many author events take place.
Three different presentations will take place there every hour during the course of the entire festival. There will be authors and illustrators for all ages for a strong schedule.
Q. How do you decide which authors will take part?
A. The festival has a juried selection process. For the featured authors, we decided what our target areas were and traveled throughout the country attending various book and publishing events to put us in front of authors and their agents to see if they were able to come to our event.
Q. How has the festival grown in its five years?
A. This is the largest festival we've had. It has grown from a local festival to a metropolitan-area festival where people come from all over the area and outside the area, too.
It has also grown in the way we plan and get authors. This is also the first time we moved the event to the first weekend in October, and it will be a permanent spot for us. It had been in September, but our children and young adults are very important and, this time, the first weekend in October allows schools to become more involved.
Q. How many people do organizers expect?
A. Since this is a free event, counting is difficult without a turnstile. We expect more than last year, and last year we had 10,000. Most events are free and parking in the city lots is free on the weekend. The Friday writer's workshop and tickets to the Paramount to see comedian and author Jackie Mason on Saturday night are both paid events.
Q. Who are a few up-and-coming authors at the festival?
A. First check out the 31 authors in the Midwestern Authors Tent. Then we have several first-time authors, such as Erika Kendrick, who wrote "Confessions of a Rookie Cheerleader," and Karen Abbott, who wrote "Sin in the Second City," which centers in Chicago. …