Reader Roadtrip to the Central PA BookFest on July 15, 2023
Schlow Library once again hosted the Central PA BookFest as part of the State College Festival of the Arts. For some reason, the Arts Festival takes place over 5 days whereas the BookFest is only during one of those days, but I suppose many people’s priorities are different than ours.
Having attended it several times now, this is an opportunity to see friends we don’t often get to see, and to make new friends, find books from local authors, and get a sunburn. Since Dave is also coordinator for the Nittany Valley Writers Network (NVWN), this also gives him the chance to secretly spy out potential new writers for the group. Don’t tell anyone, though. He’s trying to be incognito.
One of the very first people we met when we started our writing journey in 2018 was J.L. Delozier. She was the coordinator for NVWN before Dave, she was a medical doctor for most of her adult life, and she has retired from her day job to pursue writing full time. Sharing a table with her was Bellefonte author Christopher Kugler. (Dave does have his book on his TBR pile, really. It’s just been there for an embarrassingly long time.)
Other regular participants, and people we love to renew acquaintance with, were children’s authors Cathy Breisacher, Denise L. Kaminsky, and Gayle C. Krause. Gayle was busy so we didn’t get to chat with her, but Cathy and Denise were as warm and delightful as ever.
Denise is an inspiration. She didn’t begin writing until well into her adult years, she was rejected by publishers, but she persevered and you can see from her display what the outcome has been. You may never meet a more devoted alumna of Penn State University!
There were several new faces there as well. Local author William Maz brought both of his thrillers, set in the post Ceaușescu years. Sitting down with him and chatting for a few minutes showed me that he not only knows that era of Romanian history, he is knowledgeable about the good and the bad that came with the fall of communism in most of Europe. Expect a review of at least one of his books coming to Scintilla.
Lee Y. Miao is another author who began writing her books as an adult. Her books are for mid to late elementary kids, and with a granddaughter coming up on her 8th birthday…well, we didn’t leave that table empty-handed. The book we got for our mixed-race granddaughter features a mixed race protagonist: representation matters!
Terry Lee Watson has a warm heart topped with a huge smile! We are eager to have him this fall at one of our NVWN meetings. Along with his book, Terry had some artwork that has connections to him, his book, and his work at Penn State and around the country. He is a storyteller and we are looking forward to reading and reviewing his book.
Rebecca Holmes wanted the focus to be on her book and not herself, a request we are happy to honor. Her book is a how-to for would-be travelers, particularly those who want to travel on a tight budget. She shared with me briefly how she and a group of friends rented a beautiful house in Italy for a week and were able to get it for an incredible price, leaving more money for eating and sightseeing and whatever else they wanted to do. If you don’t have millionaire money in your couch cushions but want to see the world, Rebecca would happily sell you a book that will help you do just that.
And a pair of new faces representing both the book they co-authored and a small publishing house in Harrisburg. TDUB Publishing is a labor of love from author Terri D. Her hope is to create more opportunities for diverse authors to break into the publishing world. She was there with her co-author Julie Bellatrix to promote both their book and to let central Pennsylvania (and beyond) know there is a new publishing option in the state.
We did not make it to every table. Time, tiredness, and a developing sunburn inhibited our visit. There were comic books, more authors, more publishers, and a tent for children to meet cosplay characters from books. There were tables to appeal to readers of many genres, children and adults, and the Schlow tent where you could chat with a librarian or three.
Finally, a word from the sponsor. Rather, a word about the sponsor. Schlow Library is one of our favorite places. More than just a place to check-out books, Schlow is an institution in the State College area. Hosting activities for children, teens, and adults, including the NVWN, this library is an integral part of Centre County. Need a job? Schlow hosts a local outfit that helps people find jobs. Love dinosaurs? Schlow is having a kids’ dinosaur dig event–which actually kind of bums us out since we apparently don’t qualify for the kids’ activities any more unless we bring a kid to chaperone us. Enjoy chess, or D&D, or other games? Schlow hosts clubs for those.
And they plan and host the Central PA BookFest every year, unless there is a global pandemic shutting everything down. If you are in State College, Schlow is THE place to be! July, 2024, can’t get here soon enough.