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Roving reporter visits Second Annual Bucks County Book Fest

by Stewart Gross

The Second Annual Bucks County Book Fest was held in Doylestown on Saturday and Sunday, October 12th and 13th.

It ran concurrently with the Film Fest that was going on in town, and drew quite a lot of interest.

The Book Fest was organized by Discover Doylestown members Eileen Lunny, the Sponsorship Chair, and Elle Green, the Co-Chair, who was in charge of recruiting authors and illustrators for the event and moderating many of the talks and panels offered.

Elle told me that, “It took 200 volunteers to organize and make the event work. We had to raise $60,000 for tents and AV equipment for different venues.”

She said that the Book Fest committee was looking for “diversity in genres and authors.”

Elle moved to Doylestown two-and-a-half years ago and brought a lot of expertise to the event.

Saturday began with an illustrator’s workshop with renowned US illustrator, Floyd Cooper, who lives in Easton, PA.

He has won three Coretta Scott King Awards, 10 ALA Notable Illustration Awards, and two NAACP Image Awards Nominations, and the Simon Wiesenthal Gold Medal in 2011, amongst the many recognitions he has gotten for illustrating children’s books. 

Floyd says that by being a children’s author he, “Gives kids a positive alternative to the negativity of today’s media.”

Doylestown illustrator, Lauren Walsh, also appeared at the workshop and did a lesson on using an iPad and other digital drawing devices to create illustrations.

You can check out her highly creative digital and hand-illustrated work at www.laurenwalshart.com.

Saturday ended with the first annual Books and Brew pub crawl, where groups of authors did the crawling and rotated through three Borough establishments: MOM’s, Hops/Scotch, and Pag’s Pub, where fans in attendance viewed story telling and tips on writing from three groups of three authors as they enjoyed the food fare and refreshments. 

Very appropriate for this event was the presence of author’s John Holl and Jeff Ciolletti, nationally known authors on craft beers.

John is an award-winning author of “The American Craft Beer Cookbook,” and Jeff is the former editor-in-chief of “Beverage World.”  I watched them give do a Q&A with the audience at Pag’s at 5:00 on Saturday.

They recommended craft beers from their books and guided the Books and Brew audience to participate in sampling different craft beers they spoke about.

The Saturday portion of the Book Fest ended with a conversation with Anna Quindlen, the keynote speaker for the event, at the Salem United Church on E. Court Street.

She is a novelist and journalist who has authored nine novels, served as a columnist for Newsweek, and won the Pulitzer Prize in journalism while writing for the New York Times.

Sunday, the Book Fest held three author panels in three tents that were set up on Hamilton Street in the heart of town.

New Hope’s renowned science fiction writer, Chuck Wendig, was the star of this event.

He recently penned a trilogy of Star Wars novels for LucasBooks that bridge the three original Star Wars stories written by George Lucas and continue the space saga up through the current sequels.

Chuck was nominated for the prestigious Joseph W. Campbell award for Best New (Science Fiction) Writer in 2013 for his book, “Blackbirds,” a series of stories about protagonist Miriam Black, who can foresee people’s deaths.  

Sunday also saw live music in the tent parking lot, signings in the Doylestown Bookstore, and a vendor marketplace, selling books by the featured authors on-hand at the event.

PHOTO CAP: Book Fest organizers Eileen Lunny, Elle Green, and Regina Fried.