The Virginia Festival of the Book is a five-day literary orgy of readings and panel discussions centered on books. I started coming to the Festival shortly after I moved to Virginia in 2001, and I remember imagining that I would one day be on one of the panels. As it has turned out, for the past several years, I have either been a presenter or a moderator every year since my first book came out, which was 2009. I love doing it.
This year I appeared on a panel called Short Stories: Great Fiction in Small Bites with Kevin Clouther, author of the story collection We Were Flying to Chicago. I thought out panel at the New Dominion Bookshop went very well. All the seats were filled, Kevin started us off with a reading of the title story of his book and then I talked about and read from my anthology, Everywhere Stories. The book sales were brisk, so I consider the event a success.
That was yesterday, when I also attended a panel with three novelists: Sonja Yoerg (House Broken), Martha Woodroof (Small Blessings), both of which I’d read already, and Erika Raskin (Close), which I plan to read soon. Today I went to another novel panel, this time with Hilary Holladay (Tipton) and Audrey Magee (The Undertaking). And then I ran into some writer friends and we went out for a drink.
I have several panels I hope to attend on Friday and Saturday as well as a reception for authors. This is a great event and we are very fortunate to have it in our area.