Sunday, August 23, 2015

A literary dream come true

For years, organizers dreamed of the first ever Mississippi Book Festival. Beginning at 9:00 am on Saturday, August, 22, 2015, that dream became a reality. Of course, they say that when the Mississippi legislature, Greg Iles, and John Grisham signed on to participate, corporate sponsorship followed and it was a done deal.
The Mississippi State Capitol Building in Jackson

And despite the expected summer heat that continued to deal a blow to downtown Jackson, Mississippi, an estimated crowd of 2500 to 3500 ascended the halls and grounds of the early 1900s State Capitol Building, the location of the festival billed as “A Literary Lawn Party.” 
"A Literary Lawn Party"
Mississippi Capitol Building packed at the Book Festival

About 100 authors participated in writing discussion panels in rooms filled to capacity by book lovers. I squeezed in to attend the author panel “Across Literary Boundaries,” moderated by Michael Farris Smith (“Rivers”) and featuring Jamie Kornegay (“Soil”), Michael Kardos (“Before He Finds Her”), R.B Chesterton – pen name of Carolyn Haines—(“The Darkling”), and Lisa Howorth (“Flying Shoes”). The highly entertaining discussion and question and answer session that followed explored these authors’ experiences in genre classification of their own novels ranging from crime fiction, thrillers, mysteries, and paranormal—even young adult fiction—although the author’s intent may not have been so. Jamie Kornegay and Carolyn Haines, in particular, jostled the packed room into erupted laughter with anecdotes of their personal writing journeys. No doubt 
after the presentations, everyone was drawn to read the panel's compelling fiction and would-be writers inspired to begin and/or complete their own novels. 
At this inaugural Mississippi Book Festival, it was also good to visit with some of my other author friends including Steve Yarbrough, Marshall Ramsey, Neil White, Robert St. John, Ralph Eubanks, and Curtis Wilkie. 
 Darden North and Steve Yarbrough (My mother Evelyn North taught Steve high school English in Indianola, MS)

I am grateful to Mississippi Book Festival organizer Holly Lange for my role in greeting and signing in other authors to the event. We all look forward to August 2016! 

----- Darden North     www.dardennorth.com 
     
Book lovers clamor for a spot inside an author panel discussion on such topics as  Southern Fiction
Lisa Howorth
Carolyn Haines 
There were many volunteers at the 2015 Mississippi Book Festival

Enthralled attendees of  the "Across Literary Boundaries" author panel

The Library of Congress provided an exhibit in the halls
     

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