Kerrytown Bookfest Speaker Lineup Finalized

Ann Arbor’s Oldest Continuous Book Festival Enters 13th Consecutive Year

The Kerrytown Bookfest is pleased to announce that we have finalized our speaker lineup for our 13th season, and it’s a doozy! This year’s event, which takes place on September 13th, 2015, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. in the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, is centered on “Old Friends,” and the Kerrytown Bookfest has invited back some very popular speakers from our past to anchor the program.

Noted Michigan writers Bonnie Jo Campbell and Thomas Lynch will kick off the day with a special ticketed breakfast beginning at 9:30 a.m. in the Zingerman’s Events on 4th space at the Kerrytown Market & Shops.

Our featured speaker of the day is Mary Doria Russell, award winning author of The Sparrow, Doc, Epitaph and A Thread of Grace. Russell is known for conducting exhaustive research for her novels, so it won’t come as a surprise that she holds a Ph.D in Biological Anthropology from the University of Michigan. Science Fiction Encyclopedia chief editor John Clute describes Russell as an “author who established a strong reputation for cognitive subtlety and narrative power…” Kirkus reviews called her first novel, The Sparrow, “A brilliant first novel,” and she’s been nominated twice for a Pulitzer Prize, as well as an IMPAC Dublin Literary Prize. Ms. Russell will discuss “From Mayhem to the Movies: How the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral Became Folklore,” as well as her new novel, Epitaph.

We will present our annual Community Book Award at 11 a.m. in the Main Tent. Each year, the Bookfest selects a person to recognize for their ongoing commitment to the book community in Ann Arbor. This year’s recipient is local realtor Ed Surovell. As Kerrytown Bookfest President Robin Agnew says, “Edward Surovell was chosen for his invaluable commitment to Ann Arbor’s book community; especially his avid support for the Ann Arbor District Library.” Appropriately, Ann Arbor District Library Director Josie Parker will present the award after an introduction from Ann Arbor Observer Editor, John Hilton.

Throughout the day, other old friends join the program, including bestselling mystery writers Julie Hyzy and Denise Swanson, Janet Webster Jones of Source Booksellers in Detroit, and Michael Byers, Laura Kasischke and Doug Trevor of the University of Michigan. Suspense writers Andrew Grant and P.J. Parrish will be here, as well as mystery historian Jeffrey Marks. And, of course, Laura Pershin Raynor and perennial favorite Mother Goose return to the children’s tent.

This year, as every year, we welcome several new friends, including thriller writer Owen Laukkanen, mystery novelist G.M. Malliet, YA author David James, and short story writer and novelist, Darrin Doyle. For those interested in poetry, we’re very pleased to have Casey Rocheteau, as well Scott Beal and Scott Ellsworth, both of the University of Michigan, and we’re featuring a poetry slam panel with popular Ann Arborite Jeff Kass, director of the Neutral Zone teen center. And if all that weren’t enough,

Ann Arbor’s Vault of Midnight owner Curtis Sullivan will lead a Comics panel discussion, MacArthur Genius Grant winner Tiya Miles will head up a Debut Novel panel, and, in a nod to the new millennium, a panel of young adult writers will discuss promotion through the use of social media. We’re also very happy to present our writer-in-residence, John Smolens, a frequent Kerrytown Bookfest speaker and well-known author, who will be critiquing pre-submitted manuscripts throughout the day.

This year’s festival will feature over one hundred vendors of used, rare, and new books, and for those interested in the craft of making books, the Guild of Bookworkers will be conducting book arts demonstrations throughout the day, and visitors will be able to try their own hand at letterpress printing. There will be a talk on the “Art of French Cartonage” and “Edible Books.”

And speaking of edible books, we’re sponsoring an Edible Book Contest where books are interpreted though food. This is a fun, family-friendly event that invites participants to create edible (usually cake) creations based on books. The entries are exhibited, judged, documented, and eaten! The entries will be on display all day, and judging will take place between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Other speakers and guests include Kayla Coughlin, Amanda Flower, Andrea Hannah, Lisa Lenzo, Edith Maxwell, Raymond McDaniel, Monica McFawn, Jenny Milchman, Greer Macallister, Bethany Neal, Aline Ohanesian, Vu Tran, Scott Woods, Nick Yribar and Lara Zielin.

Please click on the EVENT tab above for full event lineup, schedule, and details.

There’s something for everyone at the 13th Annual Kerrytown Bookfest, and we hope to see you there!

The Edible Book Contest

The Kerrytown Edible Book Contest is a fun, family-friendly event that takes place as a part of the Kerrytown BookFest. This event invites participants to create edible (and not so edible) creations based on books. The entries are exhibited, judged, documented and eaten (if you dare!).

The Kerrytown Edible Book Contest will take place on Sunday September 13th, 2015 from 11am to  5pm, with judging between 3:00 – 3:30 pm.

Everyone is allowed to partake in eating the exhibits after judging. Eat at your own risk!

Contest Rules:
· Everyone can participate: the young, the old, the professional and non-professional, the artist, the writer, the mom or the dad, and even groups.
· Entries must be book-related.
· Entries can be made out of anything, as long as it is edible.
· Entries must be family-friendly.
· Participants can enter up to 3 entries.
· Registration is free!
· You can bring your edible book entry to the Kerrytown BookFest on Sunday September 13 from 9:30 – 10:30 am.
· Please note that this event is outdoors, so please plan accordingly to weather intervention.

Contact Information:
If you have any questions regarding the Edible Book Contest, please contact Cecilia Escobar at 312.285.6819

See you there! 

The Kerrytown Bookfest Book Cover Design Contest is Open!

8th Annual Contest Open to all Michigan High School Students

The Kerrytown Bookfest is pleased to announce that the 2015 Book Cover Design Contest is open and accepting submissions. The contest, in which students are asked to redesign an existing book cover, is now in its 8th year, says Kerrytown Bookfest President, Robin Agnew. “The contest is open to all Michigan High School students, and it’s always such a thrill to see their very creative designs.”

This year students are asked to create a new cover for My Last Kiss by author Bethany Neal, and free copies of the book are available to any interested students. Ms. Neal’s novel, her first, is a tale of supernatural romantic suspense.

Booklist wrote of the book, “Readers will be immediately sucked into the tale, told from Cassidy’s ghostly perspective, as she attempts to put together the pieces that led to her untimely death.”

Copies of the book can be mailed directly to students or picked up at Aunt Agatha’s Bookshop, 213 South 4th Avenue in Ann Arbor.

The author will serve as one of the judges for the contest, along with Paula Newcomb, a designer at University of Michigan Press, and Melissa Weisberg, a representative for Macmillan Books. The deadline to enter is Friday, May 8, 2015.

The contest judges will confer shortly after the deadline to review all cover art submissions, and up to 10 finalists will be announced. The contest winners will be announced at a reception at the Ann Arbor District Library, on Friday, September 11, 2015 at 7 pm.

The first place winner will receive $100; second place, $75; and third place, $50. All entrants will be exhibited at the library starting in mid-September and continuing through mid October.

Each year between 80 and 100 entries are submitted, and judging will focus on creativity, appropriateness of the artwork to the book content, and originality. The entries can be photography, computer generated, or original paintings or drawings. All types of artwork have won the contest over the years.

Rules for the contest and a PDF version of the application can be found on the Kerrytown Bookfest website:

Past winners: 

'Frames' by Loren D. Estleman

‘Frames’ by Loren D. Estleman

'Iron Lake' by William Kent Krueger

‘Iron Lake’ by William Kent Krueger

See you at the Bookfest!

Ed Surovell Named 2015 Kerrytown Bookfest Community Book Award Winner

The Kerrytown BookFest has named Ann Arbor Realtor Edward Surovell as the 2015 Community Book Award Winner. Each year, the BookFest selects one person to recognize for their ongoing commitment to the book community in Ann Arbor said Robin Agnew president of the Kerrytown BookFest.

“Edward Surovell was chosen for his invaluable commitment to Ann Arbor’s book community; especially his avid support for the Ann Arbor District Library,” she said.

Ed Surovell speaks at the 2007 BookFest while Josie Parker looks on.

Josie Parker and Ed Surovell at the 2007 BookFest

He has generously offered his time on numerous state and local boards including the Michigan History Foundation, the Library of Michigan Foundation, The Historical Society of Michigan and was president of the Michigan Historical Commission. He is also the current vice president of the governing board of the Ann Arbor District Library and its longest serving member (1996). He is also a member of the prestigious Grolier’s Club which limits its membership to 800 and promotes books worldwide.

Surovell is considered one of the state’s premier collectors of books on early Michigan history, books on books, and Indian language bibles and other Indian language religious publications. He also specializes in books produced by Michigan publishers including those from Father Gabriel Richard’s Press of Detroit, King Jesse James Strang’s Press of Beaver Island and Dr. Chase’ Steam Printing Press of Ann Arbor. He has one of the most complete collections of books published by Dr. Chase.

Previous winners of the Community Book Award include Jay Platt of Westside Books, Tom and Cindy Hollander, and Nicola Rooney, former owner of Nicola’s Books, author Loren Estleman and Josie Parker, director of the Ann Arbor District Library.

Surovell. A graduate of Columbia University, moved to Ann Arbor in 1968 and quickly became one of its leading realtors, selling his business in 2012, he is a consultant to the current owner.

He attributes his love of books to his mother who he says “Loved books deeply.”

“I grew up in a house with a substantial library,” he said. Before moving to Ann Arbor he worked at several New York Publishers including Harcourt Brace & World as an editor of grammar and spelling books.

Surovell said it was during this time that he began collecting books related to his career including books on type design, the history of publishing, booksellers and collectors and books on editorial style.

He said, “I root for all libraries and libraries are central to democracy and the struggle to improve one’s self.”

Former award winner Josie Parker said Surovell is deserving of the award for his support of the book community.

“Words are very important to Ed,” she said. She also said that he was very supportive of her career.

Parker said, “When I look back on R. Surovell’s years of public service his vision for the Library has been very important with a view forward that has been steadfast and steady.”

“He has been my mentor for my entire professional career as a librarian and his support of the Library is unparalleled,” she said.

The Award will be presented to Surovell, 74, at the Kerrytown BookFest Sunday, September 13 at the Farmers Market in Ann Arbor. The BookFest is in its 13th year. For more information on the BookFest go to

Winners of the 2014 Book Cover Design contest announced

Nancy Shaw, author; Nikita Torielian, Pioneer; Hana Christoffersen, East Grand Rapids; Maria Rossi, East Grand Rapids; Robin Agnew, Kerrytown BookFest

Nancy Shaw, author; Nikita Torielian, Pioneer; Hana Christoffersen, East Grand Rapids; Maria Rossi, East Grand Rapids; Robin Agnew, Kerrytown BookFest

Maria Rossi, a sophomore at East Grand High School, was selected as the winner of the 2014 Kerrytown BookFest Cover Contest and was feted at a recent reception in Ann Arbor.

Robin Agnew, president of the BookFest, said “for the first time, high school students from across the state participated in the Cover Contest resulting in 80 entries.”

She said the contest asks students to re-design a cover for an existing book.  This year’s selection was the children’s classic, Paddle-to-the-Sea by Michigan author Holling C. Holling.

“The judges were blown away by the creativity, quality and execution of the book covers,” Agnew said.

Students from Crystal Westfield’s graphic design classes at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor and Keith Rayner’s classes at Lakeview High School in St. Clair Shores contributed work, as did art students from Elizabeth Miller-Wallau’s class in East Grand Rapids.

Finishing second in the competition was Candice Kim, Pioneer; in a third place tie were Nikita Torielian, Ann Arbor Pioneer, and Hana Christoffersen, East Grand Rapids High School.

More than 80 entries were reviewed by the judging panel of Caldecott Medalist Christopher Raschka (A Ball for Daisy); children’s author Nancy Shaw (Sheep in a Jeep); and artist Cecily Donnelly.

All the work submitted will be on display in an exhibit at the Ann Arbor Public Library downtown branch through October 13.  The complete submission of covers can be seen here and the winning submission is number 54.

Holling (1900-1973) grew up in Leslie, Michigan before setting out for Chicago and California and becoming a noted author and illustrator of children’s books. His 1942 book Paddle-to-the Sea was awarded a Caldecott Honor which is presented to the best illustrated children’s book of the year. Holling authored and or illustrated more than 20 children’s books including two books which won the Newbery Prize given to books for young adults.

After graduation Holling attended the Art Institute of Chicago and also worked on the popular exhibit “Man-Eating Lions of Tsavo” at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Later, he worked on war-training films for Disney and was responsible for the design of Indian Village in Disneyland. He also illustrated a Suinday comic strip “The World Museum” which included a diorama that children could cut and paste together.

Paddle-to-the-Sea is about a canoe that travels from Lake Superior to the ocean exploring five Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.

The Leslie Area Historical Museum holds a collection of his art, artifacts from his life and a couple unusual childhood drawings which were sketched on the back wall of his bedroom closet. Read more about Holling on a fan blog here.