Photo: Melody Yip
A book festival is a dream for both readers and writers, and Lone Star College has brought a new one to life.
The multi-genre Lone Star Book Festival will be hosted at LSC’s Kingwood campus April 8-9. It’s an event packed with panels, keynote speakers (Larry Dierker, Annette Gordon Reed, Jerry Coyne and Nick Flynn) and, of course, books by the stacks.
Genres range from poetry to children’s literature, and festival organizers hope the 150-author lineup is as diverse as the Houston area.
“We wanted to produce a festival that addresses all types of reading, writing and music,” said John Barr, executive director of the event.
Highlights of the April 8 lineup include former Dierker, a former Houston Astro, as well as Dan Pastorini, former quarterback of the Houston Oilers, whose memoirs reflects on their storied sports careers, panels of Texas authors and poets and a session with advice on getting published.
The April 9 lineup includes Jonathan Sandys talking about his book – “God and Churchill” – on his great grandfather, Winston Churchill, and authors Monique Laney and Steven Moss, whose books focus on America’s space program.
Lone Star Book Festival
When: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Lone Star College-Kingwood, 20000 Kingwood Dr.
Information: 281-312-1693 or kwlibguides.lonestar.edu/book-festival.
While many of the authors call Texas home, the organizing committee also sought to create a diverse group.
“We’re bringing in people from different ethnicities, minorities and genres – we even have female authors talking about the sciences,” said Chelsie Meredith, the event’s literary director.
Piotr Florczyk, a Polish poet, is among them. He describes his recent work “East & West” as an investigation of different political mindsets and the intersection of cultures. Like others, he savors the opportunity to meet fellow poets and writers.
“You read someone’s work and you really like it, but you don’t really know them,” he said. “At festivals like these, you can actually get to know them as a person.”
Music will also have a major platform at the festival with featured groups such as the rock band The Share Fire and the Diaz Music Institute. Music director Marvin Sparks said that a drum company out of Los Angeles will sponsor a kids’ percussion zone at the event.
Barr added that the event will embrace a diversity of viewpoints on various issues. Melvin Konner, a professor at Emory University, argues that through physical aggression and sexuality, men are more distracted by their emotions than women. A panel will comment on his book “Women After All: Sex, Evolution, and the End of Male Supremacy.”
But of course, there’s always a sense of Texas pride.
Barr said that Texas is teeming with notable writers such as Houston’s own Emily Fox Gordon with her treasures of personal essays, and Natalia Treviño, a poet born in Mexico and raised in Texas, who will talk about women’s issues and her poetry collection “Lavando La Dirty Laundry.”
“I particularly want to increase readership in Latinos and Chicanos,” said Treviño. “They are often underserved and underrepresented in literature.”
Festival organizers also say they hope to empower everyone o write and persevere in the process.
“I want to tell writers to make their writing dreams come true,” Treviño said. “Poetry can create a revolution of ideas, and we certainly need a revolution of ideas to heal our country.”
Konner agrees that it’s crucial to encourage more reading and writing.
“A book festival is a miraculous thing in this day and age,” he said. “It’s always amazing to see people holding paper books in hand, curling up and reading.”