Lyrical Inspiration With and Without Pages – Bookmarks Tenth Festival of Books and Authors

By April Eaker, Salem College 2014 Graduate and Intern, Bookmarks

Bookmarks is celebrating our Tenth anniversary by engaging the Winston-Salem area with the sounds that authors create. The voices of authors not only resonate within their stories, but through the extension of their artistic fortitude into music. Saturday, September 6th, will be a day to celebrate books and their authors, as well as all arts and their integration with one another. The Festival will have authors, illustrators, chefs and musicians presenting readings, panel discussions, storytelling and workshops. Bookmarks provides a fun literary environment for everyone in the family, with authors representing genres ranging from history, romance, and sports, to sci-fi, children’s board and chapter books, and memoirs. Booksignings, a Poetry Corner for all ages, and a Spanish and English Storytime will take place in the midst of exhibitors and food trucks.

The festival has 40 authors attending, with several author-musicians leading the day through lyrical inspiration with and without pages. One such author incorporates his musical talents into teaching children to express themselves musically through his organization, The Learning Groove. Eric Litwin, author of the Pete the Cat series, will chat about his newest book, The Nuts: Bedtime at the Nuthouse, while showing off some of his tunes. This is sure to be fun for the whole family!

Musicologist and biographer James Grymes further celebrates music through his book, Violins of Hope, which documents the violins played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust, and the Israeli violinmaker who lost over 400 members of his family, yet still dedicated 20 years of his life to bring the violins back to life.

As the master of many forms of art, James McBride, author of The New York Times bestseller, The Color of Water, has written articles for the New York Times, such as “Hip Hop Nation,” which explored the role of African-American culture in American music. He is a singer and song-writer, and has even written his own musical. His new novel is The Good Lord Bird, about American revolutionary John Brown.

Renowned for his storytelling, singing and song-writing about the beauty of nature, Doug Elliott will perform twice. All of his talents have been recognized by various awards. He’ll share a story that everyone in the family will enjoy, along with his award-winning harmonica playing.

Teens will love listening to Len Vlahos, who was once in a punk rock band called the Woofing Cookies. Their fame spread on college radio stations from coast to coast. His debut young-adult novel, The Scar Boys,
is written from the perspective of college applicant Harry Jones, who recounts how the formation of his band transforms his views about himself.

A special addition this year is the Storybook Parade which is sponsored with support from the Junior League of Winston-Salem. Kids of all ages are encouraged to dress as book characters and join in the parade, which will include music and characters we all know and love.

Bookmarks has moved from our previous location to Winston Square Park, the Milton Rhodes Center, and the Hanesbrands Theater, centering on Spruce Street. Additionally, Bookmarks has extended their celebrations to the days surrounding the Festival, partnering with local organizations. At Reynolds Auditorium on Thursday, September 4th, New York Times bestseller and author of 130 books, James Patterson will give the Keynote Opening Event. Eat and Greet sessions and a writing workshop are scheduled on Friday and Sunday. Authors will also visit many area schools in the days surrounding the Festival as a part of Bookmarks’ Authors in Schools program.

Authors consistently demonstrate that words provide new perspectives on old themes. They fluently transition their gifts for writing into other expressions. Art unites communities, and Bookmarks will continue to strive to connect Winston-Salem residents over the literary arts.