Geeking Out at the Festival of Books
Fans Like What They see at 2014 Festival of Books
By Anna Wempe
Numbers don’t lie and the numbers from the 2014 South Dakota Festival of Books clearly display success. More than 7,000 event attendees, 59 authors, nine venues, 44 exhibitors, two book sellers, and about 75 volunteers and staff—for four days this year, book lovers created their own small town within Brookings and downtown Sioux Falls. Book people, however, tend to focus more on words than numbers.
Words bring a life and electricity that barren stacks of figures can never hope to inspire. For those of us who think this way, then, I’ll let the words of attendees and authors alike paint the true picture of the Festival of Books weekend.
Some of the manifold motivations for the brand-new Festival of Books for Young Readers include encouraging, celebrating, motivating, and inspiring young people to love reading and, hopefully, to create their own stories. Sherry Oswald testifies to the success of this goal: “One of my teachers came in this morning and said that her kindergartener came home last night and wrote and illustrated a seven page book. That is a tremendous impact the event had on just one person I’ve heard of. You are bound to hear many more stories like this. Thank you for bringing the Festival of Books to Brookings in such an insightful and fully impactful way…”
Not only does the event support these young writers, though, but the authors also find ways to encourage their fans and audience. Janna Farley tweets “How many of you write stories, DiCamillo asks. Nearly all 4th graders raise their hands. Love being in a room full of writers!”
Tweets about the Festival were burning up feeds, with praise such as Angela Tewalt’s,
“As an aspiring writer, I cannot wait for the @sdbookfestival!” One of the most helpful events at the Festival for writers who attended was Pitchapalooza with The Book Doctors, which allowed aspiring authors to pitch novel ideas to the two writing experts. Feedback for that event was extremely positive: one attendee remarked that the free Pitchapalooza contained similar value to a writing class one would have to pay “hundreds” of dollars to attend.
Geek was definitely a theme in Festival of Books feedback. What is truly wonderful about this event is not just meeting amazing people and authors, finding new books and listening to presentations, it’s knowing that you’re not the only one. If you freak-out happy dance about meeting Ted Kooser, there’s a whole room full of people who want to do the same.
Chrissy Meyer tweeted: “I’m planning on really getting my geek on with @sam_kean!” and promised to meet an equally ‘geeking out’ friend in the front row. Volunteer Robert Schmidt noticed that too, saying, “Seriously, though, if you want to geek out around a bunch of authors, the South Dakota Festival of Books is a great place to do it. It’s a fairly small event and – even so – there were 60+ authors there, all within ‘get an autograph and totally geek out’ range.”
So don’t miss the next South Dakota Festival of Books and the chance to get your “geek on!”