Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Collingswood Book Festival

By Sarah Hawkins Miduski

Bibliophiles had a sense of deja vu as they approached The Collingswood Book Festival this year.  

It appears that Mother Nature firmly believes that books are meant to be indoors. 

Although New Jersey avoided a hurricane, the day was drizzly and windy enough to require the book festival to be indoors, just like last year.

There were plenty of books for sale, both used, and new

,but it seemed that the threat of ominous weather scared some of the used vendors away. 

Loompaland was a big hit with the kids. The giant bubble wand, brought by the Garden State Discovery Museum, was pretty cool.

Also pretty cool, was South Jersey Writers’ Group member Laura J. Kaighn. 

She was in Loompaland selling her books (Earth Child:The E.D. Piper Chronicles and Rabbit's Tale & Other Rites of Passage) and entertaining the kids with her storytelling.

The SJWG had a table shared with publisher, Hypothetical Press.  Copies of Tall Tales and Short Stories, and Reading Glasses, waited to be brought home by eager readers. 

SJWG President Amy Hollinger did a great job organizing the group’s table. Members John Farquhar (What toExpect When You’re Dead) and Gregg Feistman (The War Merchants) were hard at work selling books and talking to potential group members. 

Many SJWG members came throughout the day to volunteer at the group table.

With all of the various meetings and groups within the group, it's difficult to know everyone in the SJWG, so the SJWG buttons and t-shirts were a great way to spot fellow members.

New group member, Peter N. Milligan, had copies of his book, Bulls Before Breakfast, for sale.  

Peter is an energetic guy. I could see him hosting his own travel show someday.

Of course no book event would be complete without Steampunk Granny, Marie Gilbert. Group member/writer Dawn Byrne kept Steampunk Granny company since she was oh so far away from the SJWG table. Marie had an impressive table that was stacked with copies of Roof Oasis, and the newly released Saving Solanda, the second book in the Roof Oasis series. I also think she wins the prize for best author outfit.

Representing the Young Adult genre, was group member Randy Ribay. His book, An InfiniteNumber of Parallel Universes, was recently featured on Barnes and Nobles’ Most Anticipated YA books coming out in October.   

In addition to striking some great signing poses, 

Randy participated in a YA Panel Discussion, Realistic Fiction: Navigating the Teen Years.  

It was an interesting mix of authors, and the discussion ranged from the authors’ personal writing methods, to what types of books they read as kids. It was such a good panel, everyone had to be kicked out to make way for the next panel.

All of the volunteers, did a great job organizing The Collingswood Book Festival, especially with the last minute venue change due to the weather.  It was a great time for the writers and the readers, though I still think it’s more alive and vibrant when it is held outdoors. Hopefully Mother Nature will grant the festival beautiful sunny skies next year.

Now comes the most difficult task faced by all attendees on the day after The Collingswood Book Festival, what to read first.

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