Taking a road trip
You’ll forgive me a little shameless promotion, won’t you? I lived in Charlottesville for seven years, and my favorite annual event there is the Virginia Festival of the Book, a huge (and growing) conference of writers and publishers, geared toward readers’ interests. It’s happening March 21-25.
One of the reasons I love this festival is that every event (with the exception of a few) is free to the public — just come a little early to nab a seat. A couple of this year’s highlights include crime writer George Pelecanos (who also writes for HBO’s The Wire) and the doggedly determined White House reporter Helen Thomas. If previous years’ experiences hold true, there probably will be a couple more well-known authors announced before the festival.
Richmond has its own coterie of writers who will be discussing their works at the festival, including J.B. Stanley, a frequent contributor to Richmond magazine’s sister publication R Home and the author of two antiques-themed mysteries. She’ll be on hand for Crime Wave day, which brings mystery and crime writers to discuss their craft. Stanley will be part of the “Small Towns are Murder” forum on Saturday, March 24.
Accounting consultant Sonnie Beverly is the author of Saved Folk in the House, which her teenage twins have adapted into a screenplay and a stage play. She’ll be a panelist for a forum on new African-American writers, also on March 24. Times-Dispatch reporter Chip Jones won the top biography prize last year from the Military Writers Society of America for Boys of ’67, his book about three Marines who fought in Vietnam and Iraq. Jones will participate in a Vietnam panel March 26.
Cathy Maxwell has written more than 15 historical romance novels, some of which are bestsellers. She’ll be part of a romance panel March 23. Kendra Bailey Morris, author of White Trash Gatherings (about West Virginia mountain cooking), will join other writers of specialty cookbooks March 24.
Journalist and University of Richmond professor Steve Nash will participate in a program about the environment March 22. He’s the author of Millipedes and Moon Tigers: Science and Policy in an Age of Extinction. And you can find David Wojahn, director of Virginia Commonwealth University’s creative writing program, at a poetry reading March 23.
Of course, you should check the complete schedule before you drive down I-64, because it’s always being updated.