OKLAHOMA CITY - More than 100 authors, poets, and book illustrators will gather with thousands of book fans and readers at Oklahoma City's Boathouse District on Saturday, Sept. 21, for the 2019 Oklahoma Book Festival, presented by the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. Attendance is free for all ages.
Book sales, entertainment, all-day poetry readings, and children's craft activities will kick off at 9 a.m. Author presentations and panel sessions will begin at 10 a.m. and run every hour. Final book signings will be held at 5 p.m. and the bookstore will remain open until 6 p.m.
Headliners for this year's event are Scott Pelley, 60 Minutes correspondent and the author of "Truth Worth Telling: A Reporter's Search for Meaning in the Stories of Our Times"; award-winning mystery writer Anne Hillerman, author of "The Tale Teller"; Choctaw poet, fiction writer, playwright, and filmmaker LeAnne Howe, author of "Savage Conversations"; and young adult fantasy author Brandon Mull, the New York Times bestselling author of the Fablehaven series, including his latest, "Dragonwatch: Wrath of the Dragon King."
This second year for the state book festival will feature authors for all ages and a variety of genres, according to Vicki Mohr and Connie Armstrong, festival organizers with the Department of Libraries.
"Because of the feedback from last year's festival, this year we've added panels with authors who write romance and inspirational works," Mohr said.
Other panels will feature children's picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, mystery writers, non-fiction works, illustrators, historical fiction, true crime, bilingual children's authors, and comic books.
"The world of books is so diverse, we put together panels and presentations that will appeal to a diverse group of readers," said Armstrong, director of the Oklahoma Center for the Book at ODL.
One children's panel features picture books about women leaders of color, including two who hold a special place in Oklahoma history: "Wilma's Way Home: The Life of Wilma Mankiller" by Doreen Rappaport and Linda Kukuk, and "Someday is Now: Clara Luper" and the 1958 Oklahoma City Sit-Ins by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich.
Non-fiction titles include important chapters in Oklahoma history, such as "Tulsa 1921: Reporting a Massacre" by Randy Krehbiel, and "Cold War Oklahoma" by Landry Brewer.
Panels on the natural world, baseball, and an artists' roundtable are examples of the variety of offerings at this year's festival.
Activities for children will also be a big part of the festival. A storytime tent will feature authors and volunteers reading picture books to the event's youngest participants. The Southern Oklahoma Library System will operate a craft tent which will feature superhero crafts like capes and shields. The Pioneer Library System is bringing its mobile maker space for young creators as well.
The Entertainment Stage will host popular acts like the Sugar Free Allstars, Extreme Animals, Mad Science, and illustrator Jerry Bennett, whose clients include Marvel, Lucasfilm and Dreamworks.
"We've seen tremendous growth since our first book festival last year," Mohr said. "We recruited about 50 authors to attend last year, and we now have more than 100 this year. In many cases, the authors and publishers came to us because they had heard of last year's success."
For additional information, and to see a lineup of Festival authors, visit okbookfest.org.