BookFest connects readers, authors
Waupaca BookFest 2015 brought more than a dozen authors to Waupaca.
The event, held April 16-18 at the Waupaca Area Public Library, included workshops for writers, author presentations and book signings.
Our goals were to promote literacy and a love of reading, to introduce readers to authors they may not be familiar with, and to showcase our terrific town and stellar library,” said Nancy Miller, president of the Waupaca BookFest Board.
A committee organized this year’s event, the third book festival held in the community.
“We also wanted to give the authors a chance to get to know each other, and to really talk with readers. From what I saw and especially what the authors told me, we succeeded,” Miller said. “All of the authors were delighted with Waupaca and loved the chance to meet the readers, not just for a few seconds while signing books.”
She said the authors commented on how they rarely have time to really talk with readers, or with other authors.
At Waupaca’s book festival, they did.
They were impressed that a community of 6,000 could host such a big event, Miller said.
She said the authors loved Waupaca, describing it as a beautiful city with great shops and restaurants.
They especially loved the library, Miller said.
Several author presentations took place leading up to the book festival.
The event itself began with writers’ workshops, followed by author visits at Waupaca schools, an authors’ reception, author presentations and then a closing concert and silent auction fundraiser.
Miller said those who attended the Wisconsin Authors Panel enjoyed it, saying it was interesting to hear the authors talk with each other.
The authors and guests alike said they loved the format, she said.
For the authors who visited schools in addition to presenting, they said they were pleased with the turnout and participation at the school events.
Library Director Peg Burington told the Common Council during its April 21 meeting that there were many out-of-town attendees at the event.
She expressed the committee’s appreciation for being able to use the council chambers for author presentations and for the room tax dollars the event received.
It was a successful event, and many authors said they want to return, Burington said.
Miller said people enjoyed the authors’ reception and hearing the writers’ personal stories during their presentations.
Derek Anderson, an author and illustrator of children’s books, left the signed sketches he made during his library presentation, and there are plans to frame them.
Young adult author Mike Mullin signed the cement blocks he smashed during his Taekwondo demonstrations; one is in the high school library and the other in the public library’s teen room.
The authors also liked the Waupaca BookFest bookends they received as gifts, which were made at Waupaca Foundry.
Several authors attended the closing concert.