The Book Festival & Exhibitor Fair

Join the area’s best and brightest bookish professionals for a celebration of our literary ecosystem! The Exhibitor Fair is free and open to the public. You’ll the have opportunity to meet more than 60 writers from a plethora of genres, book designers, publishers, illustrators, bloggers, zine creators, and more.

Throughout the day, we’ll a range of events and ways to engage with your local literary arts, including:

  • Readings by local celebrities
  • Lightning readings by emerging authors
  • Spoken Word performances
  • Panel discussions
  • A Kid’s Corner with bookish crafts
  • The opportunity to buy books and have them personally inscribe by some of your favorite authors

The Downtown Stage Schedule

12:00 pm – Welcome

12:30 pm – Story Telling with Alex Weiss

1:00 pm – Sacrificial Poets

1:30 pm – Lightning Readings*

1:45 pm – Pintester Demonstration

2:00 pm – Celebrity Readings

2:50 pm – Lightning Readings

3:00 pm – Bull City Slam Team

3:30 pm – Divas Heart

4:00 pm  – Celebrity Readings

4:50 pm – Lightning Readings

5:00 pm – The Pinkerton Raid

5:30 pm – National Poetry Month Contest Winners

5:45 pm – Closing Announcements

*Lightning Readings are an open-mic opportunity for unpublished and emerging writers to share 60 second excerpts of their work. They will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration will begin at noon on Sunday, May 17.

Sign up for updates and we’ll let you know who’s coming

 Panel Discussions


Writing for Young Readers – 1:00 pm

Explore the joys and challenges of writing for children, teens, and young adults. Moderated by Jennifer Brannen. Featuring John Claude BemisClay CarmichaelLouise HawesJ.J. JohnsonChris Wharton.


Writing About Home – 2:00 pm

Novelists and memoirists discuss their experiences writing about places they’ve called home. Moderated by Elizabeth Woodman. Featuring Elizabeth HeinSean IngramIris KapilElaine Neil Orr.

Some of the questions that will be explored:

  1. Did burrowing into home and personal history lead you in unexpected directions in shaping your narrative?
  2. How do you find the right balance in creating a sense of place that’s both finely honed (edited) and honest?


Writing About Sex – 3:00 pm

A range of authors, representing romance, speculative fiction, and academia talk about their experiences writing sex and writing about sex. Moderated by Katharine Ashe. Featuring Ally Blue, Monica ByrneJennifer LohmannPete Sigal.

Some of the questions that will be explored:

  1. Why do you write about sex? What kind of sex do you write about? Good (satisfying) sex? Bad (unsatisfying) sex? Both?
  2. Given our culture’s reliance on sex for selling everything from shaving cream to politics, and our sex-saturated entertainment and news, how do you keep your writing about sex fresh as well as honest?


Writing For Social Change – 4:00 pm

Some authors have a mission in mind when they begin writing. These panelists discuss what its like to compose fiction, poetry, and nonfiction with the intent to invoke change or raise awareness about a cause. Moderated by Michael DeValve. Featuring Jaki Shelton-GreenCarl NordgrenRosemary Poole-CarterJessica Scott.

Some of the questions that will be explored:

  1. What is the highest aim, the summum bonum, toward which you strive with your writing?
  2. Explain the relationship between fiction and authenticity as you understand it.  Can fiction be authentic?  When trade-offs are necessary, how do you decide which god to honor: the narrative or truth?  Is that a distinction without a difference?


Writing About Music – 5:00 pm

How do you write about something that’s supposed to be heard? Authors and journalists explore the issues surrounding music and how they write about it. Moderated by Grayson Currin. Featuring Laurent DuboisDavid MenconiMark Anthony-NealLarry Reni Thomas.

Exhibitor Fair
Location: Durham Central Park Pavilion Date: May 17, 2015 Time: 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm Monica Byrne Jennifer Lohmann James Maxey Felicia Jamison Katharine Ashe Charlotte Rees Carl Nordgren Elizabeth Hein Pam Goodman Vines Architecture Carol A. Strickland Devon Trevarrow Flaherty Summer Kinard E. Gale Buck Barbara Claypole White The Regulator Bookshop Alazar Press Light Messages Publishing Letters Bookshop Duke University Press Rosemary Poole-Carter Carolina Wren Press Regina Jeffers Flyleaf Books AdBiblio Joseph & Rosemarie Gulla Craig LeHoullier Chapel Hill Press NC Writers’ Network Jennifer Delamere Cynthia Wheaton Bull City Craft Sean Ingram Dee Grissett Jessica Scott Laurent Dubois Jaki Shelton Green Tassie Small Erica Monroe Maryam Tabibzadeh Horse & Buggy Press Robin Greene Deborah Hining Nancy Emmick Panko Sandra Warren Michael DeValve Elizabeth Woodman David Menconi Gretchen Griffith Jennifer Brannen Linda Vigen Phillips Grayson Currin Alex Weiss Drew Bridges Margot Starbuck Michael Maccalupo Elizabeth Langston Jean Anderson Leah Ward Iris Kapil Nancy Young Dr. Joan Francisco Valdés Santos Nicole Swiner Laura Florand Kristy Woodson Harvey Jay Posey Sherry Torgent Stephen Zapotoczny Rebekah Miel Jesse James DeConto Merle Finch Denise Souza Jon Batson Becca Monroe Durham Mighty Pen Gonzalo Fernández Betty Turnbull Rebecca Melland-Kuo The Durham Comics Project Samantha Bryant The Storyteller’s Book Store Janice Mack Guess Mari Fitz-Wynn Lulu Deborah Roszel Laura Baldwin Mary Lambeth Moore Elaine Neil Orr Mark Anthony Neal Mike Huff Lauren Bridges Belea Keeney Dana Stone Larry Reni Thomas Ginger King Amy Richards Kevin Seifert Ellen Edwards Kennedy Halal Haven The Parlour The Humble Pig BO’s Kitchen Fullsteam