Posted by: Kristi Tuck Austin | March 16, 2011

A few of my favorite events

Cue the Julie Andrews voiceover, ‘cause this is all about a few of my favorite things: 

  1. Books
  2. Readers
  3. Readers talking about books
  4. Authors talking about books
  5. Writing workshops

First up is Virginia Festival of the Book, which starts today in Charlottesville and runs through Sunday, March 20. Virginia Festival of the Book is the largest gathering of authors, writers, and readers in the Mid-Atlantic. With the exception of a few ticketed events, all the programs are free. Many notable Richmond authors will participate in panels, including Ellery Adams, Ellen F. Brown, Gene Cox, Bill Lohmann, Virginia Pye, Elizabeth Thalhimer Smartt, Kristin Swenson, Michele Young-Stone, and Irene Ziegler.

I recommend the Virginia Festival of the Book as a day or evening trip. There are affordable parking lots and garages around Charlottesville, and there is plenty of parking along the Downtown Mall, a pedestrian mall where most events take place. Plan to see a few panels for free and then stroll up the mall for lunch or dinner. Dining on the downtown mall ranges in price and elegance, but if you’re looking to keep your trip costs low, try Christian’s Pizza, Revolutionary Soup, or The Nook.

Honestly, I can’t recommend this enough. I look forward to the Virginia Festival of the Book every year. My husband and I meet up with friends we rarely see and enjoy a day of book talk and food.

Next up is Fountain Bookstore’s Happy Hour with Your Bookseller happening tonight at Sam Miller’s Restaurant. The book business across Richmond and the country is changing (i.e. Borders closing in Richmond) and Fountain wants to hear what changes you want in your local independent bookstore.

“Do you want more and different events?  Should we start offering classes?  Do you want us to carry used books?  Would you like a delivery service?  Is it all about price?   Belly dancing booksellers from 1-2pm on alternate Wednesdays?  Free bubbles?  I’m asking for your brutal and honest opinions.”

The conversation starts tonight at 5:00 and ends at 6:30. Also take Fountain’s customer experience survey.

Next week is author Léna Roy’s writing workshop and signing at Fountain Bookstore. I’ve followed Léna’s blog since it began in early 2010, and I admire her honest blogging, her contributions to young writers through organizations like Writopia and Girls Write Now, and her desire to build community. EDGES, her debut novel released December 2010, proves Léna is a gifted storyteller as well. I’m thrilled she’s coming to Richmond. Really, I’m geeking out.

Léna’s workshop, Mining Your Life For Your Fiction, examines how to draw on your own emotional life to create compelling characters. It is free and open to teen and adult writers.  It runs from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. Immediately following the workshop, Léna will discuss her young adult novel EDGES.

Léna blogs at

Follow her on Twitter @lenaroy

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