Book festival to feature several well-known authors

Laura Hagan

In only five years, The Southern Kentucky Festival of Books has become one of largest book festivals in the state.

The fifth annual festival, which is organized by Barnes and Noble, the Bowling Green Public Library and Western Kentucky University Libraries and Museum, will be held this weekend at the Sloan Convention Center.

The festival runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

The festival features appearances from Avi, a 2003 Newberry Award Winner; Robert Morgan, author of the book “Gap Creek;” Nick Clooney, American Movie Channel’s host of “Movies That Change Us;” and David Baldacci, author of “Absolute Power.”

Festival director Earlene Chelf, coordinator of marketing and special events for the WKU Libraries and the Kentucky Museum, said she has been involved in the festival since it started in 1999. It is a fun family event, she said.

The goal of the festival is “to promote reading, a love of books and the importance of literacy,” Chelf said. “It is a real public service to the community.”

Thanks to donations from, and the participation of, local businesses, the festival is free to everyone. Attendees will have an opportunity to buy books and get them autographed by one of the authors that will be in attendance.

All proceeds are divided between Western’s libraries and the Bowling Green Public Library.The festival made around $10,000 last year.

Lisa Rice, assistant director of the Bowling Green Public Library, coordinated the children’s activities for the festival. The first day of the festival is Children’s Day, when there will be activities like Western’s Theatre Department’s performance of “Ever Wonder Why,” and a showing of “The Teacher From The Black Lagoon,” a movie based on a popular children’s book.

Other events include a ribbon-cutting tomorrow and a C-SPAN taping. The first-ever Kentucky Literary Award will be given to a book written by a Kentucky author or having a Kentucky-related theme. One fiction and one non-fiction book will receive the honor.

In 1999, 3,500 people attended the festival. In 2002, 8,000 attended the festival. Chelf said she expects at least 10,000 people to attend this year.

“It’s a different kind of event, and it’s getting wonderful reception from the community,” Chelf said.

Reach Laura Hagan at [email protected]