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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sonoma County Book Festival 2011

Travel the World
without Leaving Home

By Penny Hastings
Close your eyes and imagine a place where everyone who reveres the written word gathers together with books and book people…where authors, poets, children’s book authors, storytellers and book sellers all gather on one fantastic day. You can be one of them if you come to the 12th Annual Sonoma County Book Festival in Old Courthouse Square in downtown Santa Rosa on September 24, 10 am – 4 pm. Admission is FREE!

Authors Maxine Hong Kingston (I Love a Broad Margin of My Life, The Woman Warrior), Ann Packer (Swim Back to Me, The Dive from Clausen’s Pier,) Geneen Roth (Lost and Found: Unexpected Revelations About Food and Money, Women, Food, and God, are among the many nationally recognized and local favorite authors who will present their newest works, mingle with readers and autograph books during the day.

Must-see Belva Davis, an award-winning journalist who has covered Bay Area politics for four decades, will read from her memoir, Never in my Wildest Dreams: A Black Woman’s Life in Journalism. Davis, who lives in Petaluma, will appear with co-author Vicki Haddock. You can see Davis at 12:45 pm in the Forum Room of the downtown library.

Poet Jane Hirshfield leads the distinguished list of acclaimed poets presenting their works at the Book Festival. Hirshfield’s award-winning books include the new Come, Thief, her seventh poetry collection. Al Young, who served as Poet Laureate of California from 2005-08, Francisco X. Alarcon, an award-winning Chicano poet and educator, Judy Halebsky, Christine Hutchins, Lee Slominsky and Catherine Strisik are some of the other poets attending.

For children, the Peanuts Pavilion area will kick off with Megan McDonald, author of the best-selling Judy Moody series at 10 am on Old Courthouse Square. The Schulz Museum’s booth will host celebrated cartoonists—including artists from Hanna Barbera—who will teach children to draw familiar characters from Scooby Doo to Disney princesses. Storytellers, entertainers and book authors reading from their works will also be on hand.

New this year, the Secret Agent Jack Stalwart Treasure Hunt will be ongoing throughout the day. Based on the popular series by Elizabeth Singer Hunt, the treasure hunt encourages children and their families to solve clues by visiting businesses along Fourth and D streets…both will be closed to car traffic from Old Courthouse Square to the downtown library.

An expanded young adult section presents panel discussions of topics for teens, including “Save the Drama for Your Mama: Contemporary Young Adult Authors” and a Teen Poetry Slam with cash prizes.

Five fascinating panel discussions, including “The Sky is High and So am I: Alternative Subjects” will draw festival-goers. Other panels are “Shots Happen” (Mystery Panel); “Books: The Rumors of My Death have been Greatly Exaggerated” (Book Business); “Writing for Film and Stage” and “Writing Local History with Gaye LeBaron.”

Visit for a schedule of the days’ events, a complete list of presenters and more information about the Book Festival.

The Sonoma County Book Festival, the oldest general interest book festival in Northern California welcomes the entire family to a full day of literature, poetry and fun.

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