The Chestnut Hill Book Festival and Speaker Series presents its Fifth Annual Book Festival, an all day event on Sunday, September 22 and it will include readings by authors of various genres, book sales and signings, children’s events, panels and an improv staging. The purpose of the Book Festival is to showcase the rich and diverse local literary talent of the Philadelphia region as well as provide an opportunity for readers to meet and chat with a variety of writers.
A highlight of the event this year is a Chef’s Panel moderated by the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Michael Klein writer of Table Talk and The Insider. Klein knows the culinary playing field and will draw Kitchen Confidential type tales and secrets from Chestnut Hill's own, Al Paris of Heirloom and the recently opened Coastal Blue in Wildwood Crest and two other primo chefs from the area. There are bound to be some hairy and hilarious escapades behind those kitchen-swinging doors.
Pete Mazzaccaro, editor of the Chestnut Hill Local, will moderate a discussion with John Baer, Daily News columnist and Al Hunter, Jr., former music industry reporter for the Daily News to discuss the transition from news writing to book writing and other elements of the writing world. Hunter will also speak about his book, Though Shalt Not Steal: the Baseball Life and Times of a Rifle-Armed Negro League Catcher, about baseball and American history, love and loyalty, struggle and success and Baer who is always on top of Harrisburg's shenanigans, will speak about his book, On the Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting.
Memoir is of great interest to both readers and writers and Beth Kephart, author of five memoirs and an autobiography of the Schuylkill, will share her expertise in this genre. Kephart has also written non-fiction, poetry and young adult fiction for adults and teens. Her new book, “Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir,” and her sage advice will be helpful to all with an interest in telling their stories or in understanding others.
Every year we can count on Temple University's professors for talented, interesting fiction and this year Don Lee, author of The Collective , and Lori L. Tharps, author of Kinky Gazpacho, will join us. Some of Lee's awards include finalist for the Thurber Prize, an American Book Award, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, and a Mixed Media Watch Image Award for Outstanding Fiction. Tharps is also an award winning author, journalist and speaker and has several works of fiction under her belt after giving up a career in public relations.
A recent winner of the National Jewish Book Award for Outstanding Debut Fiction, the Goldberg Prize, for "The Sensualist" Daniel Torday's book was described as masterful, fast and warm, fraught and intimate— and no slouch in the funny department. Poet James Hoch' s Night Crabbing is the work of a very gifted young poet for whom the lyric is both discovery and song with grave tones and graceful aptitude and this from a former dishwasher, cook, dockworker, social worker and shepherd. Hoch will reveal this interesting journey and tell how it led to his much admired work as a poet.
Layer upon layer of history abounds in Philadelphia and two authors who have carved out and detailed a special piece in this history diverse in neighborhoods and ethnicity are Joseph Minardi, Historic Architecture in Northwest Philadelphia and Sabrina Vourvoulias's 200 Years of Latino History in Philadelphia. Both are beautiful books with fabulous photography and informative text about two unique areas of the city.
Special events for kids (but not just for kids) include children's author, Daniel Kaye, Never Underestimate a Hermit Crab and Philadelphia Stories workshops where kids can learn to write Roller-coaster Stories with Philadelphia Stories Jr. editor Tara Smith and Storytelling Through Cartoons with Karen Pokras Toz, Award winning author of the Nate Rocks series. These are hand-on workshops and may produce a little award winner in the process.
Always a popular Book Festival event is Chestnut Hill Improv, a quick witted, savvy trio comprised of Andrew Gilmore, Phyllis Gosfield and Joe McCann. The Book Festival welcomes them back again and acknowledges that together they represent 141 years of crafty repartee. No specifics about whose years are whose. Another special returnee, Philadelphia Stories, will also host an always popular anywhere and everywhere Open Mic. After local authors discuss their writing world, the mic will be open to an imaginative and creative audience.
Again the Book Festival is proud to be sponsored by Bowman Properties and supported by Musehouse, a Center for the Literary Arts; Chestnut Hill Hotel; Chestnut Grill; Chestnut Hill Business Association, the Chestnut Hill Community Association, and the Chestnut Hill Business Improvement District.
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