Feasting on Literature: No “Death of Books”

Wayne M. Gore - May 25, 2009
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Listen to some naysayers, and they say the printed word is dead. And advertisers in droves are fleeing newspapers for the Net. Their exodus would seem to be driving the final nails in its coffin. Apparently there are still quite a lot of event planners who are either contrarians or privy to insider information. Thanks to their faith in the power and pull of the printed word, literary lovers will find many events this year to satiate their lust for great books and the authors who pen them.

Unlikely city print-fests

Cities that you might not immediately equate with literary attractions are magnets for literary cognoscenti because they have become synonymous with literary traditions. Creative partnerships between authors and the hospitality sector are also putting their stamp in this niche.

Consider Miami….fun, sun, vibrant nightclub scene…but literary destination? That’s right. In fact, thousands of book lovers this November will converge at Miami’s International Book Fair, one of the U.S.’s largest outdoor book fairs. They’ll schmooze with best-selling as well as emerging authors from all over the globe. With almost 200 exhibitors on hand, wannabe authors can also network with a wide variety of publishers.

And Montgomery, Alabama? F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald aficionados will be celebrating Scott’s birthday this September at his annual birthday bash at the Fitzgerald Museum.

Savvy partnerships

Those traditional print stewards, municipal libraries, are benefiting from enterprising

library foundations that design compelling literary events. Fort Lauderdale (FL)’s Public Library Foundation sponsors a Literary Feast that brings authors and book lovers together for two days of book signings, cocktail receptions and an outreach program where authors discuss their works with local high school students.

In San Antonio (TX), inventive mash-ups of culinary arts and great literary works are creating some fascinating venues. The San Antonio Public Library Foundation’s Literary Feast dinners, held February through March around the city, included such concepts as a dinner where a stellar group of chefs and authors based their theme dinner around Dr. Kolleen Guy’s book, When Champagne Became French: Wine and the Making of a National Identity.

For sheer scale and length of events, Richmond, Virginia’s Poe (as in Edgar Allen Poe) Bicentennial is in its own league. A network of Virginia-based historic sites, museums, libraries and performing arts organizations are collaborating throughout 2009, hosting performances, exhibits, and books signings that celebrate Poe’s works and life. The hotel chain Hampton Hotels’ Save a Landmark program even restored the Poe Museum’s eighty year-old garden where plants related to Poe’s books still grow.

 

For more information

Miami International Book Fair: November 8th-15th, 2009

Fitzgerald-Museum: September 19th, 2009

Fort Lauderdale’s Literary Feast: March

San Antonio Public Library Foundation Literary Feast, February through April

Poe Revealed, the Edgar Allen Poe Bicentennial, throughout 2009

 

By Patricia Kutza

Patricia Kutza is a U.S. travel, business and technology journalist based in the San Francisco Bay region. She crafts features for such outlets as Bay Area Kids Magazine, Excell, Acura, Journeys, Executive Traveler, and San Joaquin Magazines.

 

 

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