Fort Worth introduces new book festival

Fort Worth BookFest

Date: Oct. 14

Time: 9:15 a.m. Ribbon-cutting and Parade of Characters & Books; 10 a.m. doors open

Place: Administration Building, Tarrant County College Trinity River Campus, 300 Trinity Campus Circle

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Cost: Free

The Fort Worth Business Press talked with Reba Henry with the Fort Worth BookFest about what the event means and what can be expected. This will be the inaugural event and the organization hopes to continue it year after year.

Why is this event important for the community?

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All across our country conversations are ongoing centering on our collective “human being-ness.” We are using this multi-genre literary presentation to ignite such a conversation here at home and across the southwest. Fort Worth BookFest’s list of author-exhibitors crosses the cultures of this region. And because of that culture mix, we believe this is a perfect example of that “human being-ness.”

What are your goals for this event?

Our goal is to raise awareness of the transformative power of literacy by bringing together readers, writers and publishing professionals in a synergistic confluence to open the literary world to this region.

Who is this event aimed at?

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We are targeting readers and writers of all ages, all interests, all cultures, and all genres, as well as those who might be interested in hearing more about how writers write to entice their readers to read, and to have the opportunity to talk with writers about what they’ve written.

I see that the goal of this event is to raise awareness for the transformative power of literacy. How will this be accomplished?

We accomplished this goal, and will continue building on it, by creating access through corporate and educational partnerships, public programs and community participation to broaden and strengthen the vitality and perception of Fort Worth and the greater Southwest region. We have done that through partnerships with the City of Fort Worth Library, Economic Development, and Human Relations Commission. We have BRIT (Botanical Research institute of Texas), DFW Writers Workshop and the Fort Worth ISD After-school Program.

The BookFest will provide a platform that allows us to highlight the cultures that call Fort Worth and the Southwest region home as writers and thinkers. We are hopeful that this event will be the start of a conversation of who we are in the communities where we live. We have collaborated with Max Rodriguez, founder and producer of the famed Harlem Book Fair, for his years of book fair/festival production experience to launch the BookFest.

Who is Ms. LibrariAnn, who will be leading the costumed parade of characters?

She is such an enthusiastic and veracious reader she makes her clothes out of the pages of books so that she always has something with her to read. The only thing Ms. LibrariAnn loves more than a good book is a library full of them.

She will lead our parade of books, characters and Super S/Heros (we are asking the public, especially the young people, to come dressed as their favorite book character and Super S/Heros). The parade will begin in the rotunda and move through to the BookFest, located on Levels 2 and 4. She is also the BookFest source of information. If you have any questions, seek out Ms. LibrariAnn and she will help you get to where you need to be.

Will each author, artisan, publisher and bookseller have their own booth or table – basically how does this event work?

Yes, booths are available for each. At some there are two authors per table because they co-authored the work. Authors will be on two levels: All adult and young people authors, exhibitors, artists and artisans will be on Level 2. Children’s authors, all panel discussions, documentary LaDonna Harris: Indian 101 [from the Movies That Matter film series], and Children’s Square are on Level 4.

Will books by each author be available for purchase so they can be signed?

Authors have been encouraged to bring many books to sell, sign and talk with those who stop at their table. This is also a networking opportunity for the authors. Newer writers can talk with those who have been writing longer, as well as publishers, to get tips on what they look for in manuscripts, what sells. We are presenting a five-session discussion called the Business of Writing. The panels will discuss topics such as launching your product; publishing; editing with a purpose; and writing for genres. While targeting authors and aspiring authors, we all write and the information shared is beneficial to all who do.

How are the panel discussions set up? Who will be on the panels (authors, publishers, etc.)?

Some panels are comprised of the authors exhibiting at the BookFest. DFW Writers Workshop collaborated with us to bring expertise to some of our panel discussions. All panel participants are subject-matter experts. Therefore, attendees should walk away with usable knowledge.

Will there be opportunity for Q&A?

Yes, we do want the audience to participate. These panel discussions are for our attendees and the authors, but it is about starting conversation.

Since this is the inaugural event, what would you like attendees to know about coming out to participate?

There is something for everyone: activities to engage, entertain and educate all our visitors. Authors with books to sell, sign and discuss. Artists and artisans displaying and selling their works, and demonstrations from fashionistas on how to repurpose clothing and fashion colorful strips of cloth into stunning headwear for women and men.

We implemented Writing S.W.A.G into the Fort Worth ISD after-school program. We challenged students in grades 3-8 to write a letter to their 30-year-old selves describing the life they dream to live at the age they are now. The program encourages students to develop their “writing style” – carefully choosing the words used to construct each sentence, build each paragraph, and write a comprehensive letter, in a standard letter format, as different from a text, Tweet, email, etc. and is built on the premise that we write so that we can read.

Visit the event website — — or its Facebook page for a detailed list of authors, publishers and entertainment at the festival.