Fans are lining up to meet Chris Bohljalian! Author of 20 books, translated into 35 languages. A master storyteller who crosses genres from historical novels to thrillers with skill and ease, we are thrilled to welcome Chris Bohjalian to Books in Bloom. Oh, and his newest novel, Flight Attendant, will soon be a TV mini-series. Can’t wait for that either!
Question: Is Pete the Cat a super-groovy cat or the super-grooviest cat of all time? We all know THAT answer! Meet Pete’s creator, James Dean, at Books in Bloom. He will reveal who the “real” Pete the Cat is and what’s next in store for our favorite Cool Cat.
It’s been said that everyone has a story worth telling. What is it that compels a person to find their voice and take the long, complicated, often lonely journey to tell their story, while others are content simply to read or perhaps dream of writing? Gathering accomplished authors together and asking them to talk about what motivates them to write is one of the elements that gives Books in Bloom its ever-fresh appeal. Some writers speak of years of rejections and frustration. Others have experienced near-instant success. Whether it’s history or poetry or fiction, the common thread is a passion to share something meaningful with others. It’s their passion that draws crowds to come listen. It’s passion that holds an audience spellbound, makes them laugh with delight or nod in recognition.
“The trust that develops when someone is drawn into a world of words and ideas is what brings the magic of reading into focus,” says Jean Elderwind, long-time co-chair, “Both writing and reading are generally solitary pursuits. The festival connects writers to readers and offers a window into a fascinating creative process.”
Books in Bloom is a free festival that begins at 12 Noon on Sunday, May 19th in Eureka Springs, and fills the afternoon with on-going readings, author talks and book signings. Authors occupy festive tents in the flower-filled gardens of the Crescent Hotel and Spa, and when they are not scheduled to speak, they are free to chat with attendees. That’s another aspect of the festival that sets it apart from more formal author events. The relaxed outdoor setting promotes casual conversations and mingling the way a good party does.
This year’s featured speakers include Chris Bohjalian, who during his illustrious career includes both high octane thrillers and stories offering thoughtful examinations of social issues; Lauren Wilkinson, whose debut novel has been hailed by critics as a masterful work addressing racial complexities against the background of international espionage; Jeffery Deaver, internationally known novelist whose works have sold 50 million copies and have been translated into 25 languages, and Wiley Cash, who mesmerizes his readers with tales of the struggles that ordinary people face.
The Writers Tent offers a variety of authors and subjects, ensuring there will be something for every taste, including children’s books, history, and fiction. The Cat is back! Prolific author and artist James Dean keeps right on attracting young fans to his Pete the Cat picture books. Simple but engaging story lines and droll illustrations of the wide-eyed black cat and his many feline friends have made Pete the Cat a rock star among children’s book characters. Also joining Books in Bloom this year is Jared M. Phillips whose book, Hipbillies, chronicles the counterculture movement right here in the Ozarks during the 1960’s and 1970’s. In all, twelve authors will grace Books in Bloom this year.
Nightbird Books serves as festival bookseller, and the U of A Press and other literary entities will also participate.
Festival goers are encouraged to pack a lunch and arrive early. A shuttle van will pick up and drop off attendees who park at Harmon Park. In case of rain, the authors and books will move into the hotel lobby and onto the spacious veranda.
Business sponsors and individual donors in Carroll County and Madison County make it possible for the Carroll and Madison Public Library Foundation to put on this 14th annual festival, with special thanks to Festival Underwriter, the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa.
The Books in Bloom Committee is pleased to announce that in addition to featuring traditionally published authors, in 2019, they will also welcome independently published authors to participate in the daylong event. To be considered for participation, authors should visit the Books in Bloom website and follow the link to “Become a Festival Author” found on the site. It’s found under ABOUT at the top of the homepage.
“Publishing is in a state of constant change,” states Books in Bloom Co-Chair, Jean Elderwind, “and there are many excellent self-published books being released daily. We are excited about showcasing talented writers whose work come through a variety of publishing pathways at our 2019 festival.”
The Carroll and Madison Public Library Foundation proudly announces the date for the 14th Annual Books in Bloom Literary Festival: a Celebration for Writers and Readers.
Over the coming months, please watch for exciting announcements about gifted writers attending Books in Bloom. And, as always, thank you for your support and your appreciation for this “home-grown, world-class” event.
May 19, 2019 – the date to remember!
The Carroll and Madison Public Library Foundation hopes you had a wonderful time at Books in Bloom. We did.
Thank you to everyone who came to Books in Bloom this year and to everyone supporting the festival in so many ways. All of the authors are on their way home now but our memories of their visit will stay with us for a long time to come.
Lisa Wingate is a former journalist, inspirational speaker, and New York Times best-selling author of thirty novels. Her books have won or been nominated for dozens of awards and translated into scores of languages. Booklist summed up her work by saying, “Lisa Wingate is, quite simply, a master storyteller.” Her books are wildly popular in our two-county library system, in part for her skill in combining elements of Southern storytelling, mystery, and history.
Meet Lisa this Sunday at Books in Bloom!
Sidewalks and Driveways: Where I Got My Ideas for the Mysterious Benedict Society (and What I Did with Them)
That’s the title of Trenton Lee Stewart’s presentation. Who wouldn’t want to hear Trent’s talk?
Grab you preteens and anybody you know interested in writing and creativity for this chance to meet the man who, according to Time magazine, wrote one of the 100 best young adult novels of all time. We are so happy to welcome Trenton Lee Stewart to Books in Bloom!
Lifelong Arkansas and Missouri Naturalist, Kent Bonar is the author of An Arkansas Florilegium, an extension of the work initiated sixty years ago with botanist, Edwin B. Smith’s first entries in his Atlas and Annotated List of the Vascular Plants of Arkansas. Kent Bonar hiked the woods surrounding his Newton County home with Smith’s atlas in hand entering hundreds of meticulous illustrations into Smith’s work. An Arkansas Florilegium brings Smith’s and Bonar’s knowledge and lifelong diligence to the world in this unique mix of art, science, and Arkansas saga.
His address begins right at 12 Noon so please arrive early for a great seat to hear this amazing man.
Perhaps you have been to an author event in the past, a ticketed event where you were ushered into a dark auditorium to hear a single author present a program about his or her work, followed by waiting in line to have your book signed in a rush. Nothing wrong with that, but it was not the kind of experience that the Carroll and Madison Public Library Foundation Board wanted to create.
They dreamed of putting together a free event that celebrates the art of writing and the joy of reading. It would be a time where book lovers could mix and mingle, with a chance to hear a variety of authors speak or read from their work, and where the audience might ask questions about the publishing world or the writing life, or simply have the opportunity to tell a particular author what their books mean to them.
And that is what Books in Bloom is all about!
Year after year, interesting and compelling authors have come to the Ozarks to share their work and their stories in a casual, garden-party atmosphere that encourages the kind of interpersonal connections that the festival hoped to spark. It is not usual to see deep conversations taking place at an author’s booth, or to hear lighthearted banter between a writer and a fan. They enjoy hearing a compliment and are happy to meet their readers.
What else will you see?
Books, lots of books! With over a dozen authors taking part in Books in Bloom, you will find many books of all kinds, paperback mysteries, picture books and learn-to-read books, history and mystery in hardcover for collectors, or in budget-friendly paperback, memoirs, short story collections, westerns and travelogues to mention but a few. The University of Arkansas Press is a regular guest at the festival, and they offer fabulous bargains on a variety of excellent books. Nightbird Books of Fayetteville is our event bookseller.
Festive tents! Our bright white Author’s Tent stands ready to welcome people to sit and listen to stories of publishing trials and successes, or about the experiences that inspired people to write. Smaller tents ring the gardens, where the casually elegant ‘garden party’ atmosphere is festive and fun. Fresh-faced young volunteers will greet you with a shopping bag and program as you arrive, and the festival bookseller will stand ready to help you find the particular books you want.
Programs for the event are available ahead of time at all the libraries in Carroll County and Madison County. This can be helpful since there will be presentations on-going throughout the afternoon both in the Conservatory and in the Author’s Tent, so deciding beforehand which authors you most want to hear can be helpful.
Arrive early so you can park and have time to browse the book tables. A free shuttle is available to take you from Harmon Park down Crescent Grade from the Crescent Hotel. It runs continuously all during the event. Some people come and stay all afternoon, while others plan their arrival around a certain author presentation. There are light refreshments, plus iced tea and bottled water available at the festival, but if you don’t have lunch beforehand, you may want to bring a sandwich with you.
Dress for the weather. This is an outdoors event other than the presentations in the Conservatory. In case of rain, we will move into the hotel lobby and the veranda, but you may need a light sweater if its cool or breezy out.
While our festival is free to the public, there are certainly expenses involved. The venue and a large part of the costs are covered by our festival underwriter, the lovely 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa. Other businesses and individuals also contribute to help us cover the costs of putting on this event. And to all of them, and to all who come to enjoy the festival, we are truly grateful.
Guest post by Lin Wellford, Co-Chair, Books in Bloom
…so begins the enthusiastic Dallas News review written by Bill Streever about David Welky’s latest book.
In A Wretched and Precarious Situation, Welky chronicles the failed search for Crocker Land, an Arctic continent that, it turns out, was no more than an optical illusion reported by the great Robert Peary, a trick of high-latitude light bolstered by the psychology of exploration.
Meet David Welky at Books in Bloom where he answers the question: Why would a historian who lives in Arkansas – and not even in the towns of Greenland, Snowball, or Snow Lake, Arkansas – write about an ill-fated Arctic expedition?
See you on the 20th!
Marcus Sakey’s books have sold in the millions, have been made into films, and are translated the world over. As research he’s trained with SWAT teams, been pepper-sprayed, attacked by dogs, held a human brain, and gone diving for pirate treasure.
Hear his thoughts on writing, publishing, and what it’s like to watch movie stars hit on your wife. Expect a heavy Q&A; Marcus would prefer to talk to you than at you.
Books in Bloom, May 20, is presented by the Carroll and Madison Public Library Foundation.
Why did a Texan choose to write about Britain? At Books in Bloom, Deborah Crombie will talk about her love affair with the UK and what led her to write her Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series of British crime novels. She will explore the evolution of the series in the twenty-five years since the publication of the first book and will talk about what’s next for Duncan, Gemma, and the ever-expanding series cast of characters.
We are thrilled that Ms. Crombie is joining us this year!
A post-retirement career begins and a true crime star is born! Meet Anita Paddock at Books in Bloom. She will describe why she writes true crime and why now at this point in her life. She is an inspiration to anyone who believes that age limits one’s ambitions.
The Carroll and Madison Public Library Foundation proudly presents Books in Bloom on May 2o.
Martin Philip‘s Breaking Bread: A Baker’s Journey Home in 75 Recipes combines cookbook with memoir to reveal not only the secrets to creating loaves of unparalleled beauty and flavor, but also the secrets to a good life.
I think the more we evolve and the more we think about food, the more we realize we need to honor where food comes from. This book talks about where the inspiration for food comes from or where the soul of food is. Bringing yourself and your own narrative into what you do. Honoring the foods you grew up with. What were the foods you learned to make at your grandmother’s hip? Those are the food traditions which deserve respect and deserve maintaining.
A native of the Arkansas Ozarks, a former opera singer, and former investment banker, Philip is a sought after educator who has traveled internationally to bring baking education and his love of the baker’s craft to ex-convicts, under-served populations, and recently-landed immigrants.
Join the Carroll and Madison Public Library Foundation in welcoming Martin Philip to Books in Bloom, May 20!
For anyone who’s ever dreamed of writing a book, Amanda McKinney is a true inspiration, and a perfect example of the advice to “write what you know.” What Amanda knows is small town life, Ozarks style. Her first set of books, the Berry Springs series, delighted Carroll County residents by using familiar area sites and landmarks as the backdrop for her sexy romantic mysteries. With grit, determination and discipline, she’s moved on to her new Black Rose series, and has her sights firmly set on continuing to hone her talents, inspired by the work of her own favorite author, Nora Roberts.
The Carroll and Madison Public Library Foundation welcomes Amanda McKinney to Books in Bloom!
As a child, author Michel Stone first noticed immigrant children in the tomato fields with their parents. She wondered about their lives and experiences. Her curiosity lead her to befriend a Mexican family years later, and listening to their stories of hardship and danger sparked her first novel, The Iguana Tree. That focus on displaced people, driven from their homes by hunger or lawlessness, led her to explore the immigrant experience further, resulting in her next novel, The Border Child. In it, a young couple are separated from their baby daughter during their crossing. The dream of a better life devolves into every parents’ worst nightmare. The author’s aim is to remind us that none of us chose our place or the circumstances of our birth, but we do share the same desire to provide for our families and better ourselves.
The Carroll and Madison Public Library Foundation proudly welcomes Michel Stone to Books in Bloom, May 20!
The Carroll and Madison Public Library Foundation Board is deeply grateful to the organizations, banks, businesses, and individuals who fund Books in Bloom every year!
Almost all of our sponsors either live or work in Carroll County or Madison County. With their sustained support, the Foundation Board produces a “home-grown, first-class” literary event which draws readers from all parts of Arkansas and from our neighboring states.
To view a list of our Sponsors, please visit http://booksinbloom.org/festival-sponsors, and be sure to thank them for their generosity.
Pictured Library Foundation Board members, left to right: Diane Murphy, Bill Brown, Bill Horrell, Byron Russ, Allen Rogers, Dena James, Kathy McCormick, Jennifer Hudspeth, Robin Mowery, Jean Elderwind, Lin Wellford (mostly obscured, sorry!), Cindy George. Not pictured: Johnice Dominick, Olivia Foster, Alison Taylor-Brown, Maria Smith, Kevin Hatfield.
The Carroll and Madison Public Library Foundation proudly welcomes Lisa See to Books in Bloom! Ms. See will speak about how her family history has shaped her writing career. She was inspired by early research into her grandfather’s history and compelled to use that history to create very human stories of love, loyalty and family connections that resonate with readers, no matter what their personal heritage may be.
With her newest book, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, she explores the topic of Chinese-American adoption, the connection between mothers and daughters, and how we are all shaped both by family and by the country where we make our home.
Don’t miss Lisa See’s presentation from 12:30 PM to 1:20 PM in the Conservatory, Sunday, May 20!