A group of committed book lovers at Lone Star College-Kingwood took a gamble last year. In this age of Facebook and Twitter and streaming videos, they organized a book fair, inviting local as well as nationally and internationally published writers. 

How successful was their gamble? 

Last year, more than 2,000 book lovers met more than 150 authors.

This year, Lone Star’s Center for Civic Engagement, which organizes the event, has expanded it to a week-long festival that will be spread throughout Lone Star’s campuses and culminate in a Saturday experience on the Kingwood campus.

The event will be held beginning Monday, April 3, with a discussion about writing mysteries on Lone Star’s Montgomery campus and concluding on Saturday, April 8, with the main festival taking place on the Kingwood campus. 

As busy as she is organizing this “bigger and better” festival, Chelsie Meredith, director of what is now called the Bayou City Book Festival, was willing to spend a few minutes to explain why this is a “must-attend” for Lake Houston book lovers. 

What’s new at this year’s Bayou City Book Festival?

“We had so much positive feedback from our Lake Houston book lovers about how happy they are to have such a large festival in their backyard that we decided to expand to a week-long event and we’re bringing a diverse group of authors to all the Lone Star campuses, not just our Kingwood campus.” 

Which authors will be attending?

“More than 70 authors will be attending, including Nicole Dennis-Benn, Jillian Keenan, Chad Conine, Duncan Tonatiuh, Samantha Mabry, Robin Wells, Sarah Cortez and many others.” 

Is there a “main speaker?”

“We have two main speaker events. Budding authors who want to write a best-selling mystery will be interested in hearing Meg Gardiner and Heather Graham. They’ll speak on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on our Kingwood campus. Our second “main speaker” features contributors to an anthology book, “Double Bind: Women on Ambition,” which examines the topic of ambition being a “dirty word” for women. These keynote events will be recorded and posted online.” 

What other events do you have planned?

“The Lone Star-Kingwood Art Gallery will be showcasing Aaron Bielish and we’ll raffle off a Free Little Library which was donated by the Texas Center for the Book. There will be writing workshops throughout the week presented by authors, such as Writers in the Schools by Melissa Studdard and James R. Hannibal.” 

What is going on at the other Lone Star campuses?

“We’re so excited to bring this event to our sister campuses. Here’s the lineup:

 

April 3 – Montgomery Campus: Mysteries discussion

April 4 – University Park Campus: Two events planned. Romance: A Genre for All and Creative Writers for student writers who will read local writer Miah Arnold

April 5 – North Harris Campus: Dia de las Libros

April 6 – Tomball Campus: Family Fun Night at Creekside Center

April 8 – Kingwood Campus: Main festival takes place.”

How about book signings?

“Definitely. Authors will be selling and signing their books under the tents on campus.”

Is this still a family event?

“It certainly is. In fact, we’ll have an entire Children’s Zone with all kinds of fun activities – PAWS for Reading, Read with Your Police, a video game bus presented by Houston Public Library, prizes, arts and crafts, food trucks and so much more!”

Is it still free?

“The festival is free and open to everyone. However, if you would like to help support this event, you can become a Bayou City Book Festival Member starting at just $50. As a member, you’ll get priority seating, jump-ahead lines at book signings for your favorite authors, and coupons for the food trucks.” 

Who can we thank for putting on the 2017 Lone Star Book Festival?

“We are very grateful to our partners. They make this event possible. At this time, they include Brazos Bookstore, Houston Family Magazine, Greensheet Media, Closet Box, Chick-Fil-A Fall Creek, Memorial Hermann Northeast, CenterPoint Energy, and Walgreens. The event is organized by Lone Star College’s Center for Civic Engagement, Follett Bookstore and Murder By the Books.”

What else is new for this year’s Festival?

“We’re not just bringing amazing authors to Lone Star, we’re featuring our own Lone Star student-authors. On Creative Writers Night on April 4, Lone Star student-authors will perform and then sign copies of their school-produced work alongside veteran local writer Miah Arnold. Thanks to Follett Bookstore, our campus bookstores, we’ll offer scholarships to some of these students. We are so pleased to be able to give our students the venue to see themselves as professional authors.” 

Where do I park?

“You can park anywhere on any of the campuses.”

Where do I get more info?

“You’ll find an up-to-date program on our website: lonestar.edu/book-festival.htm.”

Tom Broad
Author: Tom BroadEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.

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