I attended the 20th annual Southern Festival of Books in Nashville last weekend for the first time, but definitely not the last. The three-day event is held at the War Memorial Plaza in downtown Nashville.
As I waited in the lobby of the auditorium for the previous sessions’ attendees to exit, a steady stream of people walked up to the ushers at the door asking, “Is this where Sherman Alexie is speaking?” As the ushers pleasantly answered yes over and over, I thought how awesome it was to see that type of excitement over hearing an author talk. Once I heard Sherman Alexie speak, I understood. He is the author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, the 2007 National Book award for Young People’s Literature. He was funny and inspiring.
Another treat was a panel of three debut middle-grade authors from the Class of 2k8, Kristin O’Donnell Tubb, Laurel Snyder, and Jenny Meyerhoff. They talked about group promotion and how a writer’s role expands upon becoming a published author.
When I told the moderator for the panel that this was my first time to attend the festival, she insisted that I come back next year. I’ll just have to do that.