The N.C. Literary Festival was the place to be September 10-13, 2009, on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill, featuring 102 authors, including poets, crime writers, children’s authors, big names like John Grisham and R. L. Stine, and several Pulitzer-Prize winners. The N.C. Literary Festival is held biennially and is organized and sponsored by the libraries of UNC, N.C. State, and Duke, with additional support from N.C. Central University. The universities also take turns hosting the event.
This year’s host was UNC. Wow, did they do a fantastic job. While it goes without saying that the setting was beautiful, the whole event was also very well-organized, well-marked, and well-staffed by a large volunteer force. There were even ice-filled tubs of bottled water free for the taking and, of course, plentiful recycling bins for the empties.
The 2009 Literary Festival billed itself as “a celebration of reading and writing,” and a celebration it was. The sessions were actually more like performances. Authors were paired up for discussions that were engaging and entertaining, as well as educational and thought-provoking. The question-and-answer periods with the audience were a delightful part of the sessions, too. Books were for sale onsite and the authors were signing books after each session.
Children had their own scene at this year’s Literary Festival. It was easy to find kids excited about reading and writing in the special area for kids under 12, where there were tons of fun activities and many authors lined up to perform for this younger audience. Local team mascots were roaming the venue, as well as book characters such as Clifford and at least one of the “Wild Things.” Waving at them seems natural, doesn’t it, even when you’re not accompanied by a young child?
You could find something at the 2009 N.C. Literary Festival to make you laugh, make you cry, make you think, make your mouth water, and make your mouth hang open. All of this, and it’s free and open to the public and will come around again in 2011. Don’t miss it!
That’s Life in Raleigh.