Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Mid-South Book Festival Recap

87º ~ but with the low dew points, it only feels like 87º ~ bright sun, strong cooling breezes gusting

This past weekend, I was in Memphis for the second Mid-South Book Festival. Last year, in its debut the festival hosted 50 authors and saw 3,000 visitors; this year the scorecard leaped upwards with 80 authors and over 5,000 visitors. Speaking as one of the authors from this year's event, I can testify that the folks from Literacy Mid-South had it all going on!

The festival began on Wednesday with an all day summit on literacy efforts from grassroots to national organizations. While I couldn't make that event with my teaching schedule, from what I hear the summit sold out and presented motivated educators with great opportunities to network and learn together.

I joined in on Friday for another sold out event: The Well Read Reception, held at The Playhouse on the Square in Midtown. This was a social outing where authors mingled with readers, got an advance chance to buy books, and feasted on some tasty noms. I had a great time re-connecting with the folks of the Impossible Language Reading Series (where I read in April...or was it May?) and meeting new writers I can't wait to read.

On Saturday, the festival shut down a section of Cooper Ave. in Memphis and the book fair spread out into the street. Luckily, we only needed the tents to shelter from the sun. At the book fair, I got to spend some time with two of my favorite Little Rock poets: Bryan Borland and Seth Pennington of Sibling Rivalry Press. They graciously allowed me to chill out from time to time behind their table.

I also had the chance to read not once, but twice. In the morning, I took the mic out on the street for the Street Fair Reading Tent. The wind was strong but the mic was stronger. I spent quite a bit of time hanging out on the street listening to folks share their work with the audience and the wind. Then, at the end of the day, I had the good fortune to read on a panel. In both cases, the sickly speaker got a warm welcome, and I'm thankful to everyone who helped organize to get me there!

On Sunday, I had to leave town to get home and take care of school work; however, the festival continued on for the day with writing workshops for both adults and children.

The long and the short of it is this: If you are anywhere near the mid-south, or can manage to get to Memphis next fall when year three comes around, you should check out this festival. It gets a big Wahoooooooza from me.


Anonymous said...

As Advisory Board Chair for Literacy Mid-South, I want to thank you for this glowing (and accurate) review. We were so proud to have all the wonderful authors, readers, and book-lovers there, and the weather sure co-operated. In a city that suffers from a high illiteracy rate, the success of an event like this is of paramount importance. Thank you for your contribution.
Claire Ryan
Memphis, TN

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Claire! Job well done!