Authors and readers connect over love for books at annual conference

Several published authors were in attendance at the Book Con festival on the third floor of DSU to sign books. The festival encouraged reading to WKU students and any one else who could attend.

Abbey Nutter

The second annual Young Adult Southern Bookcon drew readers from around the state to WKU’s campus for a day of panels, workshops and author meet-and-greets in Downing Student Union.

Beginning at 8 a.m., the event hosted over 40 authors including the keynote speaker Nic Stone, author of fiction novel “Dear Martin.”

Attendees were excited to meet their favorite young adult and middle grade authors, such as alumna Sandy Wiggins who had made a visit to campus specifically for the event on Friday morning before meeting Nic Stone and getting a signed copy of her book earlier in the day.

“My students and I have been passing ‘Dear Martin’ back and forth for a while, and they will be so excited when they find out that I met her today,” Wiggins said.

Even volunteers were visibly excited to be a part of the event. Rowan Michael, a volunteer and the event coordinator intern, said she had “fangirled” at least 10 times that day. 

“It’s amazing that we can read the worlds that these authors have created and then be able to talk to them,” Michael said. 

With excitement in the air, panels such as “Fantastical Worlds and How to Build Them” were all popular throughout the day, event coordinator Sara Volpi said. She said traffic had been steady throughout the conferences, and the busiest part of the day was the morning. 

Although attendees of the conference were focused on the activities going on throughout the day and scoping out their favorite authors in search of a signed edition of their books, many authors were just as enthusiastic with the prospect of meeting fans, like “fan favorites” C.J. Redwine and Jodi Meadows.

There to promote her latest release, “The Traitor Prince,” returning author Redwine said she was excited to interact and encourage her readers. 

“I am always so excited when an event buses in kids, and I get to talk to them about books and writing and connect with them, so I was very excited to come here,” Redwine said. 

Meadows, author of novels such as collaborations “My Lady Jane” and “My Plain Jane” was all smiles while interacting with fans at her table on the third floor of the DSU.

Meadows said one of the hardest parts of being an author is the isolation. 

“I love meeting readers and doing festivals; it’s really one of the best parts of my job,” she said. 

Other authors such as Michael Moreci, author of “Black Star Renegades,” could be found staring down over the third floor balcony between panels admiring the Big Red statue on the first floor from above or chatting with other writers during the breaks. 

Highlights from the day included campus tours, an appearance made by Big Red and yoga that allowed attendees to stretch out their limbs after sitting through panels all day. A pop-up Barnes and Noble bookstore allowed readers to purchase books that caught their interest before getting them signed. 

The morning’s festivities ended with a cover reveal by Julien Jamar at 2 p.m. and continued at 4 p.m. at Spencer’s Coffee with more panels and another pop-up bookstore. 

Reporter Abbigail Nutter can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected].