Wiley Cash, Sandra Cisneros, Marc Palmieri and Neil deGrasse Tyson Among 50+ Authors Featured at Bookmarks 2022 Book & Author Festival | Books

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Bookmarks will hold its 17th annual Festival of Books and Authors on September 24 in downtown Winston-Salem, featuring more than 50 authors from across the country and around the world.

The festival will be held at various indoor and outdoor venues and will feature several ticketed events starting September 22 and ending September 26.

“It’s all in person this year. Nothing virtual,” said Juliana Reyes, communications coordinator for Bookmarks. “We are really excited. That’s a big difference from last year.

She said Bookmarks is holding a fair amount of festival writers virtually during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

“Now we have this opportunity to host some in person,” Reyes said. “All of our novel writers – Tessa Bailey, Tracy Livesay and Adriana Herrera – we hosted them online, and now we can bring them here in person for our readers who also joined us for this online portion.”

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Other Bookmarks 2022 Festival Writers include Samira Ahmed, Sarah Addison Allen, Wiley Cash, Sandra Cisneros, Jamie Ford, Alan Gratz, Sandra Gutierrez, Oscar Hokeah, Tiffany D. Jackson, TJ Klune, Charlie Lovett, Sarah McCoy, Marc Palmieri , Taylor Jenkins Reid, Tui T. Sutherland, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Tia Williams.

The books vary in genres, from poetry to science fiction and from history to romance, and more.

Ford attended the festival a few years ago.

“He had a great time, and now we welcome him back for his new book, ‘The Many Daughters of Afong Moy,'” Reyes said.

Klune, the New York Times bestselling author of “Under the Whispering Door,” “The House in the Cerulean Sea,” and the YA series “The Extraordinaries,” is a festival favorite.

“A lot (of people) in our community are excited to come and meet him,” Reyes said.

Sutherland and Gratz are expected to be among the children’s favorite authors at the festival.

Reyes said Bookmarks has a bunch of kids in the store whenever Sutherland’s books are released.

Gratz “writes a lot of historical fiction books, where he writes historical events from the perspective of children,” Reyes said. “A lot of kids from the school district to middle school read his books.”

This will be the playwright Palmieri’s first appearance at the festival. The last time he was in Winston-Salem was in 2020 when 40-Plus Stage Co. presented their play “Levittown.”

“I am deeply honored to be part of this incredible festival,” Palmieri said.

Palmieri, 51, graduated from Wake Forest University in 1994 as the second best pitcher in school history. Her debut book “She Danced with Lightning,” a family memoir and medical mystery involving severe epilepsy, will be featured at the festival.

“It’s about my daughter’s epilepsy and how we survived with her and moved on on a real journey to possible life-saving brain surgery,” Palmieri said.

He said the book focuses on the story of his daughter Anna’s condition from the age of 5 until she had to undergo surgery due to her epileptic seizures at almost 12 years. The book also follows Anna’s battle to persevere as a competitive dancer.

“It’s been three and a half years since she had a seizure,” Palmieri said.

He said writing the book gave him time to reflect on how difficult the experience of battling epilepsy has been for his family and anyone who suffers from it.

On September 23, the authors of the festival will visit students from kindergarten to university in Triad schools.

Free day

September 24 will be the main day of the festival, when all events are free from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and festival authors will participate in free panel discussions, story hours, and conversations about their books. Throughout the day there will be sessions for children, teens and adults.

Other offerings will include signings, children’s activities, exhibitors and food trucks.

Events will take place at various locations on Spruce, Poplar and Holly streets, with panels at Calvary Moravian Church, Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts, Hanesbrands Theater and Footnote.

The day will begin at 9 a.m. in Winston Square Park with a Paw Patrol dance party from the Winston-Salem Police Department and a special appearance from the Winston-Salem Youth Chorus.

At 9:30 a.m., Tony Award winner Idina Menzel and Elsa in “Frozen,” and acclaimed writer and teacher Cara Mentzel, will present a special story hour focusing on “Loud Mouse,” a lyrical picture book about a little mouse finding his big voice with the help of his sister.

“It’s the first time we’ve started with a big event like this,” Reyes said.

A dedication with Menzel and Mentzel will follow the event. Due to security issues and park capacity, wristbands will be required for this event.

Also in Winston-Square, Bookmarks is partnering with Read Write Spell during the festival to present the Read Write Spell Corner. The event will include programs for children of all ages, caregivers and educators, as well as information on how to support children’s literacy development and free treats.

A free main event – “Woman Without Shame: Sandra Cisneros” – will take place at 11 a.m. in the Calvary Moravian Church. Cisneros is the bestselling author of “The House on Mango Street”, as well as a poet, short story writer, novelist, essayist, performer and artist. “Woman Without Shame” is her new collection of poems. The event is presented with the support of WellCare North Carolina.

Paid events

The September 22 Keynote Opening Event with New York Times best-selling author Taylor Jenkins Reid is already sold out, but the festival is offering other ticketed events at various price points.

At noon September 23 on Footnote, author Wiley Cash will host the first Southern Lit Lunch presented by the North Carolina Writers’ Network. The event will feature Sarah Addison Allen in conversation about her new book, “Other Birds.” This will be the only event to see Cash and Allen.

At 8:30 p.m., Bookmarks will offer an evening of conversation and performance at the Hanesbrands Theatre, featuring novelists and musicians Josh Ritter and Brendan Slocumb.

Author Grady Hendrix will return to Bookmarks with “Paperback From Hell….Live! at 9:30 p.m. on September 24. It will offer a history of horror paperbacks from the 70s and 80s.

At 7 p.m. on September 26, the festival will end with Neil deGrasse Tyson at Reynolds Auditorium discussing his new book, “Starry Messenger: Cosmic Perspectives on Civilization.” He will speak with Matt and Shari Brady, STEM educators and co-founders of The Science Of, or TSO, a non-profit organization.

“I think everyone should come out for the chance to come together here in Winston-Salem and just enjoy and celebrate the love of reading and books with these fantastic authors,” Reyes said of the festival.


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