New Hampshire Book Festival Making Debut in October

The inaugural New Hampshire Book Festival will take place in Concord, N.H., October 4-5.

The two-day event will see Concord's Main St. closed to vehicles between Gibson's Bookstore, which is the festival's official bookselling partner, and the Capitol Center for the Arts. There will be author panels, interviews, book signings, and more, with a full slate of programming for both children and adults.

Author Emilie Christie Burack, who co-founded the book festival with fellow author Sarah McCraw Crow, described the event as a "big street fair" that will be free and open to the public. In addition to the author programming, there will be food trucks, live music, and a bookselling tent.

The keynote author for the children's program will be Kate DiCamillo, while Jean Hanff Korelitz is the adult keynote. The children's side will include events featuring everything from picture book authors and illustrators to YA authors, and the adult side will include panels pertaining to literary fiction, nonfiction, horror, romance, and more. The full schedule of author events will be announced in the coming weeks.

A major focus of the book festival, Burack noted, will be getting under-resourced kids to the children's keynote. That includes underwriting tickets as well as some of the transportation to the event, and each child who attends will get a free copy of DiCamillo's The Hotel Balzaar (illustrated by Júlia Sardà), which will be published by Candlewick October 1.

Prior to the establishment of the New Hampshire Book Festival, Burack said, New Hampshire was the only New England state without a statewide book festival to call its own. It was something that people wanted, but for a long time "no one had the bandwidth." Last year, however, Burack and Crow decided "we're gonna do it. Over the ensuing months they created the New Hampshire Book Festival nonprofit, put together a "fantastic board," and built partnerships with a variety of organizations.

Asked how people have responded to their plans, Burack reported that she and Craw have been "stunned by the enthusiasm." The city of Concord "jumped in to support it," as have a number of entities such as NH Humanities and New Hampshire Public Radio. People are "pretty thrilled this is coming to New Hampshire."

Looking forward, the plan is to build an annual event where authors and readers can come together to "celebrate literacy, community, and conversation." And, Burack added, "talk about some good things."

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