Authors Enjoy Festival of Books Experience
By Anna Wempe
Authors make or break any festival of books. Organizers could get the best book distributors in the world and serve the best lunches at the best venue, but if the authors, both exhibitors and presenters, are unsuccessful or unenthusiastic, it won’t be much of a book festival. Thankfully, at the 2014 South Dakota Festival of Books, not only did a variety of authors attend, but they also loved being there and shared their enthusiasm with their listeners. They proclaimed excitement and support for this even before, during, and after.
From the Other Side of the Stage: More Festival Feedback
Sandra Brannan, author of the Liv Bergen mystery series, makes no secret of her love and support of the festival, posting on Facebook, “Ooooh, so excited!! Only one week until the South Dakota Festival of Books in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. See you there!” In an interview a few weeks before the festival, former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser stated “I’ve done other book festivals, but South Dakota’s is better than most.” The Book Doctors tweeted, “Can’t wait to come to South Dakota for @sdbookfestival!”
We’ve all had the experience of looking forward to something so much and having it built up to such a height that no reality can match. According to authors and exhibitors, though, the South Dakota Festival of Books is one of few events that does not disappoint, even after effusive build-up. Exhibitor Amy Kirk tweeted from the festival “The @sdbookfestival is drawing a great crowd today. Stop by and say hi @ the exhibitors hall.” Stew Magnuson, presenter, journalist, novelist, and non-fiction author, posted on Facebook, “What a great event! Kudos to the organizers!”
The real praise, though, came after all the booths were shut down and the presentations were over and the authors and attendees had all gone home. Dawn Wink, author of Meadowlark and Teaching Passionately: What’s Love Got to Do With It? wrote in her blog: “The panels and presentations were marvelous. I immersed myself in listening and learning from others.” She also wrote about some of the presentations that most impacted her. Sandra Brannan reflected the fulfillment of her earlier excitement, thanking individually and collectively alike. “Thank you, Sherry, Jennifer, Carolyn, Kyle, Ryan, Anna, and all the volunteers who made this year’s South Dakota Festival of Books so fun. See you in Deadwood, South Dakota in 2015!”
As far as the Young Readers portion of the South Dakota Festival of Books, Kate DiCamillo best described the wonder it brought her. “At the Children’s Museum of South Dakota, there is an exhibit that allows you to climb in the clouds. I visited South Dakota last week, and I got to make that climb. I crouched and clung and jumped and went higher and higher, from cloud to cloud. It was a truly wondrous thing. By my own rough estimates, I met 2,500 children in South Dakota over the past few days, and almost every single one of those children had read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. It was astonishing, exhilarating and deeply, deeply moving to connect to so many readers. Thank you, South Dakota. You gave me a walk in the clouds.”