The Southern Kentucky Book Fest enters its sixteenth year this Saturday.
This year Charlaine Harris will speak to Bowling Green residents at 9:00 a.m. at the Knicely Conference Center. Harris authored the “True Blood” series, which inspired the synonymously named television show. Admission to the festival is free.
The WKU Libraries are one of the festival’s key supporters. Kristie Lowry, the literary outreach coordinator, said the festival is about more than just raising money.
“Our goal is just to generate interest in books, reading, and promote literacy through that,” Lowry said.
Lowry said the festival tries to feature as many different types and styles of literature as possible to cater to diverse preferences.
“We try to represent every genre you can think of,” she said. “Amish romance is a genre that has a lot of appeal. We even have teen Amish romance.”
The festival offers attendees the chance to meet their favorite authors.
“Through the panels and presentations you can learn a lot too,” Lowry said. “This year I’m really excited to have one of the original freedom riders from the civil rights era, Bernard Lafayette, Jr.”
Some of the authors attending the Book Fest are also participating in the Kentucky Writers Conference, which will be held at the Knicely Conference Center on Friday, April 25.
“They give workshops and presentations on the craft of writing and publishing,” Lowry said. “It’s really great because it’s a free event and there aren’t many writers’ conferences out there that are truly free.”
Brian Coutts, head of the Department of Library Public Services, said there is also a ticketed “Meet the Authors” reception Friday evening where readers can interact with authors personally.
“If you’ve always wanted to get up close and personal with one of these famous writers, you can buy a ticket,” Coutts said.
He said that the money raised from the Book Fest goes back into community projects, such as distributing books to children at the Warren Regional Juvenile Detention Center. It’s a project Lowry said the libraries try to assist with in any way possible.
“Oftentimes when we have authors coming into town we try to take them to the detention center as well as donating copies of the books to kids there,” Lowry said. “Oftentimes, especially the kids at the juvenile detention center, this will be their one book for their time there.”
Lowry said that money raised from the festival is used to put books in the hands of Bowling Green children. One example of this is the Fall into Books program. Held each autumn, the program brings authors and their books into schools to visit kids.
“It’s great to see the kids connect to the authors with the book that they have in their hands,” Lowry said. “It really brings that book even more to life for them.”