The fourth annual Kansas Book Festival will take place this weekend and features more than thirty authors, including returning guests Denise Low, Tom Averill and Clare Vanderpool.
“The goal of the Kansas Book Festival is to push reading and literacy,” said Joseph Smith, chairman of the Communication and Public Relations Committee and Washburn alumnus. “There are books out there with answers for everyone.”
Kansas’ First Lady Mary Brownback began the festival in 2011. The first festival featured thirty authors, including David Eisenhower, and had around 900 attendees. Since then, the event has continued to grow in popularity, as shown by the fact that nearly 2,200 people attended last year.
This year’s festival will have work from the 31 authors presented throughout the day. The authors will also be available for book signings. A schedule of presentations and signings can be found on the Kansas Book Festival website. In addition to these main events, the festival will also have children’s activities, vendors, and live entertainment. Presentations will be held indoors, but all other activities will be outdoors on the north side of the Capital building, near the new visitor’s center. Parking and admission to the event will be free.
Children in grades 3-12 can take part in a writing contest, with the winner earning a scholarship funded by the festival. The Kansas Book Festival also raises money throughout the year to grant a Kansas library fund for improvement.
“People and companies donate and all that money that we raise goes toward a scholarship and grants,” said Smith. “Each year, we fund improvements for a library in Kansas.”
The most recent library to receive funding for improvements had books with average publication dates from the 1960s. The Kansas Book Festival not only updated the books, but was also able to update the library’s computers as well.
The Kansas Book Festival has a committee that selects the authors they would like to feature. Preference is given to authors who have published a work within 18 months of the festival date to guarantee that the newest and freshest material is presented. Authors that are not selected to present can still go the festival as vendors and promote their work that way.
Authors who presented at the Kansas Book Festival in the past include Kansas University’s Louise Krug, who presented her memoir “Louise: Amended,” and Washburn University’s Eric McHenry, who presented his book “Mommy Daddy Evan Sage.”
“I think it’s great that Kansas takes a moment every year to celebrate books and Kansas books in particular,” said McHenry. “I’ve experienced the festival as a panelist and reader, as an author signing copies of my children’s book and as a vendor selling books for Woodley Press. I’ve been consistently delighted by the interest and enthusiasm that people have brought to the event.”
The Kansas Book Festival will take place from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 13 at the Kansas State Capitol building.
More information about the Kansas Book Festival can be found at kansasbookfestival.com