Monday, August 01, 2016

The 22nd Annual Norfolk Public Library Literature Festival

This past Saturday, July 30th, it was my privilege to be a guest at the The 22nd Annual Norfolk Public Library Literature Festival. The event was held at the Lifelong Learning Center and featured three current nominees for the 2017 Golden Sower Award, myself,  Jill Esbaum (Teeny Tiny Toady), and Sally M. Walker (Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh), along with Alan Gratz (Prisoner B-3087), a 2015 Golden Sower Award winner.

All four of us flew into Omaha on Friday, where the wonderful Karen Drevo, Youth Services Librarian and general festival head honcho, picked us up and drove us the two and a half hours north to the city of Norfolk. After checking in to our hotels, we went out for a great dinner along with more library staff and volunteers.

After dinner, Alan Gratz and I got a ride to downtown Norfolk. As it turned out, it was "Cruise Night," a couple-times-a-year event where classic cars, muscle cars, and, well, just car-cars drive up and down the main street and the whole town turns out on lawn chairs to sit and watch the parade. There was live music and food trucks, although we were both stuffed from dinner so we didn't sample. After walking up and down the strip several times, we ducked into Black Cow Fat Pig, where I sampled a local stout. Then Alan and I walked the 45 minutes back to our hotel, catching several Pokemon along the way!

Then it was Saturday and time for the festival! Things kicked off at 9am with attendees choosing between five offerings, writing workshops taught by the four guests or a preview of all the Golden Sower nominated works. I taught a permutation of the writing workshop I perfected in the trenches in my recent sojourn in Columbus. The room was full and the students were great. Special shout out to two particular fans, the brothers who came in early and talked Pokemon Go with us!

After the morning, the rest of the festival was only one programming item at a time. This was solo presentations from each of us, two before lunch and two after. I don't often get to listen to
my fellow authors talk, so I was thrilled to be able to be in the audience for all three of them. And Alan's "Choose Your Own Adventure" style presentation was inspired! (We got killed by a tornado.)

The day ended with a huge signing where we all autographed for long lines of fans.

Then we drove to Omaha --thanks Sam for the ride; hope we didn't drive you crazy with authory-businessy talk! Finally, our weekend ended with dinner on the upstairs outdoor patio of the Upstream Brewing Company.

A huge thank you to Karen Drevo, all of her staff and volunteers, my fellow authors, and all the enthusiastic readers who make the Norfolk Public Library Literature Festival a great time for all! I'll have to get nominated for another Golden Sower one day so I can come back!

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