October 7, 2002
Celebrate the power of the written word at Northwest Bookfest
by Deborah Stone
On Oct. 19 and 20, booklovers young and old will converge on Sand Point Magnuson Park for the eighth annual Northwest Bookfest. This well-known Mecca for bibliophiles and the region's largest literary festival is expected to draw more than 25,000 readers and writers of all ages.
Visitors to this year's event will enjoy 180 bookseller, publisher and book-related exhibits, more than 250 authors and a variety of fun and interesting literary activities. More than 90 informative and thought-provoking presentations, including poetry, writers' workshops, travel and special programs for children and teens will be offered.
A number of nationally- known authors are featured in the festival's slate of presenters, including Victor Vilasenor, Daniel Ellsberg and Kathi Kamen Goldmark. NPR's Neal Conan, Scott Simon and Frank Deford will discuss their new baseball books and Nick Bantock, author of the Griffin and Sabine series will talk about his new book, "Alexandria," and Chuck Palahniuk, author of "Fight Club," returns this year to read from his newest novel, "Lullaby."
Several local favorites will also appear, including J.A. Jance, Rick Steves, Richard Bach, Earl Emerson and Laura Kalpakian. The festival has become a great place to discover up-and-coming writers and a number of this year's newcomers will have the opportunity to exhibit their new books and talk with visitors about the thrill and challenge of getting published.
In the Book Arts Exhibition, visitors can explore bookmaking, while in the Book Arts Demonstration area they can watch calligraphers, papermakers and other literary artisans at work.
The Word (of Mouth) area is a special venue for performance artists, spoken-word poets and teen and young adult writers, which features computer stations for composition and zine-making, a craft section and a resource table.
Nearby, a stage has been set up for performances by local youth organizations and acoustic music groups. The Young Writers & Readers Area is geared specifically toward children and will contain a craft area, a storyteller corner, publishing center and family resource area.
Bookfest Boulevard, the "Main Street" of the festival, is filled with a wonderful array of activities for everyone. At the Instant Poetry Area, visitors can have a personalized poem written for them by Washington Poets Association members, while at Third Place Books' giant chessboard they can challenge a master from America's Foundation for Chess. Champs from the Seattle Scrabble Club will also be on hand for wordplay practice. The Friends of the Seattle Public Library will hold a book swap and any book can be traded in for a used one. Admission to the Northwest Bookfest is by donation and funds collected at the door help to make the festival possible. For more information, call (206) 378-1883.