It's shaping up to be a big weekend. The month long celebration, Williamsburg Fall Arts. is in full swing, and the second annual Williamsburg Book Festival, planned especially to fall smack dab in the center of the month is scheduled 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 20 in Lewis Hall of Bruton Parish Church.
This year marks a new location for the event, which is expected to draw hundreds of local and visiting book aficionados. The inaugural event was held at the Williamsburg Community Building, but organizer Greg Lilly said the new location should pull in more people.
"Lewis Hall is a bigger space," Lilly said in a recent interview. "And it is on Duke of Gloucester Street, which is really nice. We are really trying to do
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things up. This year we have sponsors and are letting more people know that it is happening. This year I am hoping for a really huge turnout. It's also Parents Weekend at William and Mary, there is the Plein Air Festival and the Farmer's Market, so it is going to be a great Saturday."
The book fair gives readers the opportunity to meet and talk with area authors about their books and have books signed.
Lilly said a series of free workshops and panels throughout the day are geared at touching on a variety of book-related topics. Among them are authors Jack Bray and Sarah Collins Honenberger with best-selling audible narrator Liz Wiley, associate professor at the College of William and Mary about turning a book into an audio book.
The event has gained momentum and there has been excitement among authors. Last year tables were filled by authors on a first-come basis. This year, authors had to apply to take part. More than 40 were selected.
"We wanted to make sure there was a good diversity of people," Lilly explained. "We have fiction and non-fiction, people who have been around for a while and new writers. It is a good chance for serious writers to present their works to the public."
Lilly said the idea for the festival grew out of his desire to share local authors' works with local and area visitors.
"I am a writer and I have five books out now," Lilly said. "I have gone to book festivals all around the area and I was surprised there wasn't one here."
New this year is a program booklet that will be given free to anyone who attends, Lilly said. The book contains a comprehensive list of the authors represented, their bios and websites.
"It is a good keepsake," Lilly said. "And everyone who buys a book will get a book bag while supplies last. We have about 500 book bags, and I am hoping we have 500 customers. It would be nice to run out of them."
The finale of the festival is a "Poetry Mosaic" featuring award-winning area poets including John Conlee, Henry Hart, Hermine Pinson, Nancy Schoenberger and Sofia M. Starnes.
The event is free, and is designed to focus on readers and letting the authors present their works to them. Lilly is optimistic that those who attend will enjoy the experience.
"You could be an aspiring writer or a seasoned writer," he said. "There is plenty going on and the nice thing about it is that is all for free."