The Connecticut Book Festival, the first ever state book festival, which will take place this coming weekend, May 21 - 22, at the University of Connecticut's Greater Hartford Campus. The rain will stop, the sun will shine, owls will flap their wings in delight, and book people of all feathers will arrive to celebrate reading, writing, illustration, and yes, doodling.
The event's organizer, Kat Lyons, former director of the Connecticut Center for the Book, expects 10,000 people for the first Connecticut Book Festival, which makes me supremely happy, because I love books, but also gives me nervous butterflies in my stomach, because I'm going to be there to read from and talk about Doodlebug: A Novel in Doodles.
Just to clarify: there is also a Connecticut Children's Book Fair, organized by the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut, which celebrated its twentieth anniversary in November 2010. But this new festival is set up to bring together readers and authors of books for adults and teens -- and there will be children's events, too. As a young adult author, I think this is an interesting shift. As far as publishing goes, young adult books are generally part of children's books, and are stocked near children's books in bookstores. But they are often shelved completely separately in libraries (on a separate floor in my home library, the Bethel Public Library).
So what's going to be going on? Here's just a taste:
• FOOD (often food is last on the list, but let's get serious, okay?)
• Wally Lamb (She's Come Undone, I Know This Much Is True, and other novels. He's incredible, and I have shaken his hand.) Here's a profile of him on Teen Reads.
• Wendell Minor, the only illustrator I've ever known to have his own billboard. Wendell's work is so beautiful. One of my favorites is this polar bear.
• A journal-making workshop led by the Amistad Center for Art and Culture (I encourage doodling in journals.)
• "Ink Passion," a performance by dancEnlight. (Having frequently done ink dances myself, I am intrigued.)
The Hartford Advocate published a complete discussion of the festival here, and I'd also like to refer you to Caragh O'Brien's blog. If you don't know Caragh's young adult Birthmarked trilogy, you should. And you'll have a chance when she takes part in a panel of young adult authors at the book festival this Sunday at 3:30.
Caragh's blog includes a picture from the lunch she and I shared with Kat Lyons and Billie Levy after Billie hosted us on her television show Children's Books: Their Creators and Collectors, where Kat, Caragh, and I talked about our work and shared our anticipation of the Connecticut Book Festival.
I'll be at the festival on Sunday, reading from Doodlebug at 2, and signing (and doodling on) books afterward. Please come find me! (If anything calms the butterflies, it's smiling faces. )
And if you're wondering how I'm going to read from a book that's done in doodles, you'll have to come find out. There's a giant book -- and some giant doodles -- involved.