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Kerrytown BookFest announces its 2016 program lineup, “Travels with Books”

Who hasn’t “traveled” with a book? The Kerrytown BookFest will celebrate its 14th year on Sunday, September 11, 2016 by taking visiotrs all over Michigan, through time, on an identity quest, and on many other journeys, large and small.

From 10:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.. At the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market, audiences will travel with Michigan Under the Radar’s Tom Daldin, who finds the hidden treasures in our glorious state, and Loreen Niewenhuis who discusses her journey walking around the entire circumference of the Great Lakes.

Meet author B.A. Shapiro, will take readers back through time as she discusses her novels The Art Forger and The Muralist. The New York Times calls The Art Forger a “nimble mystery…Shapiro’s brisk narrative takes the reader through Boston’s art world, the logistics of forgery and the perils of attribution.”


Writer John Smolens takes readers to the far north during WWII with his latest novel, Wolf’s Mouth. Bonnie Jo Campbell says of the novel, “John Smolens delivers a thrilling story of good versus evil: part Upper Peninsula woods adventure, part rags-to-riches tale, part love story. It’s beautifully and thoughtfully written, and is bound to become part of Michigan’s folk history.”

Authors Vicki Delany, Barbara Gregorich, Casey Daniels and Karen Dionne discuss the business of writing in their talk “Writing for Hire” – these hard working ladies have written everything from flashcards to Goosebumps installments and know exactly how to make a living as a writer. Come find out how they do it, and learn about today’s publishing world.


Award winning mystery writers William Kent Krueger, Hank Phillippi Ryan and Patricia Abbott join Carrie Smith as they explore the sense of place
in their novels. International thriller writer Brian Freeman will reveal how he travels to Duluth, Minnesota, where his novels are set, on photo safaris and uses the photos to ground his novels.


Audiences will take a journey of identity with writers Desiree Cooper, Kelly Fordon and Andy Mozina as they talk about their latest books where mothers, daughters and the love of music all play a part in shaping character. Eat Wildly author Ava Chin will talk about the art of urban foraging. To tie in with Ava’s book, we’ll be partnering with Food Gatherers the day of the BookFest.


The BookFest this year honors Washtenaw Literacy as the 9th annual Community Book Award winner, and the day will start with their award – as well as coffee and donuts for all – and end with a presentation by the organization on their work in the community.

The BookFest again features a writer in residence.  Teacher and author R.J. Fox will evaluate previously submitted manuscripts the day of the festival in one on one sessions.

The Children’s tent returns with a full line up of children’s authors reading their new books, starting with storyteller Mother Goose and continuing with Shanda Trent, Matt Faulkner, Kristen Remenar, and Kelly DiPuccio. Later in the day storytellers Laura Pershin Raynor and Kayla Coughlin tell stories and help lead a craft for kids, followed by writer/illustrator Ruth McNally Barshaw, author of the Ellie McDoodle books, who will teach you how to draw a lion from a 5.

gastonOther speakers and guests include Don Lystra, Ellen Longsworth, Benjamin Busch, Rachel Pastiva, Maureen Dunphy and Dallas Moore.

For 2016, the BookFest also brings back the Edible Book contest – anyone is welcome to enter. Edible Books use food in imaginative ways to illustrate a book or writer. Entries can be dropped off in the morning and will be judged at the end of the day.

We’ll also be going back to our roots by featuring several printmakers in the front of the market who will be demonstrating their art – from intaglio to screen printing to letterpress printing. This will be hands on – visitors may be able to “pull” a print for themselves.

And join us as we ask visitors the name of “The Book I Love.” We’ll be collecting the answers and plan on asking some of the folks answering the question to join our 2017 program.

And of course the Farmer’s Market will be filled with over 100 exhibitors selling new and antiquarian books as well as book related crafts and prints. The Kerrytown BookFest will truly offer a unique opportunity to “travel” through every aspect of the book. Come celebrate it with us.

Just click on the Event tab above for a full event lineup, schedule, and details,

Author R.J. Fox to Evaluate Previously Submitted Manuscripts at the BookFest

Writer R.J. Fox, author of the new memoir, Love and Vodka, and teacher at Huron High School in Ann Arbor, will serve as Writer-in-Residence at the 14th Annual Bookfest. He will offer free, personalized evaluations of previously submitted manuscripts on the day of the event.


This is a unique opportunity to talk with a published author and see what advice he has from the real world of publishing. There is no charge to have your manuscript evaluated by Mr. Fox, though contributions to the BookFest are always welcome. Interested writers should submit the first 20 pages of their manuscript before Friday, September 2nd, via email to Hart Johnson, Ms. Johnson will then schedule an appointment with Mr. Fox on the day of the BookFest (Sunday, September 11), who will offer a 20-30 minute one-on-one critique with the participants.

R.J. Fox is the award-winning writer of several short stories, plays, poems and fifteen feature length screenplays. Two of his screenplays have been optioned by Hollywood. His work has been published in numerous journals and magazines.

He is also the writer/director/editor of several award winning short films, His stage directing debut led to an Audience Choice Award at the Canton One-Acts Festival in Canton, Michigan. In addition to moonlighting as a writer, independent filmmaker, and saxophonist, Mr. Fox teaches English and video production at Huron High School in the Ann Arbor Public Schools, where he inspires students to follow their own dreams.


His first book, Love and Vodka, is called by FOUND Magazine’s Davy Rothbart as “honest, funny, and deeply heartfelt.” BookFest director Robin Agnew notes that “a writer who is also a teacher makes an excellent critic for aspiring writers.” Don’t miss your chance to sign up for one of the few available slots with Mr. Fox.

Washtenaw Literacy Named 2016 Community Book Award Winner

Celebrating its 45th year, Washtenaw Literacy will be honored by the Kerrytown BookFest as a vital part of the community, receiving the 9th annual Community Book Award which Executive Director Amy Goodman will accept.

wash literacyThe Community Book Award celebrates a person or organization in the Ann Arbor area who has impacted the culture of books, reading, writing, printing or publishing. Past winners have included BookFest founders Tomand Cindy Hollander, Ann Arbor District Library Director Josie Parker, booksellers Jay Platt and Nicola Rooney, and writer Loren D. Estleman.

The organization believes that literacy is the foundation for a sustainable community, and provides literary support, free of charge, to adults through a network of trained tutors. As Goodman says, “our nationally-recognized tutor training and on-going development supports armies of volunteers that are on the ground making a difference everyday throughout Washtenaw County.”

Goodman has been with the organization since 2009. She is most “moved by our ability to mobilize resources to address a critical issue, adults with low basic skills, that has deep and wide- ranging impact on our community. The population we serve often falls through the cracks, yet the impact of 12% of Washtenaw County adults that are functionally illiterate has on everyone is often unnoticed.”

Tutors Nancy and David Baum relate, “Tutoring gives us a great sense of accomplishment when we see our learners make progress, and it reminds us how lucky we are to have received the gift of a good education.”

The individuals who receive tutoring receive confidence and knowledge. Learner DeAngelo speaks of his journey to Washtenaw Community College: “Basically I never was much of a school boy. I never thought I was smart. Coming here, I realized that I am a lot smarter than I thought I was. Through learning with tutors I realized that if I want to succeed, my tutor wanted to succeed with me.”

The 14th Annual Kerrytown BookFest will take place on Sunday September 11 at the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market, and the presentation to Washtenaw Literacy will kick off the day at 10:30 a.m At 4 p.m. in the Kerrytown Concert House, the group will present the ABCs of Washtenaw Literacy, an informative tour of the agency’s highly effective programs including a video and a presentation from learners.

Visit Washtenaw Literacy at and on facebook and twitter

The Path to the 2016 Poster

This year’s BookFest theme, “Travels with Books”, sparked artist Barbara Brown to suggest one of her beautiful works of art for this year’s poster. Here’s the original design, which was created by Gloria Wilson, who took the original photo; Kate Wilson, who created the backdrop, and Barbara Brown, who created the book images.  The three parts were then combined to make this wonderful image:



As our posters are handprinted on a letterpress printer, the design needed to be modified for use on the poster. She collaborated with artist Jim Horton who first made a woodcut of her design, simplifying it:


When that was done, he handset the type that went with it



Then the poster was printed

printing poster


Here’s the end result

Observatory Lodge Building Rm 2131 Multi-20160219130919

We’ll be selling these at the BookFest or you can purchase a copy at Aunt Agatha’s bookstore anytime for $20.   We hope you’ll agree it’s beautiful!

The 2016 Kerrytown BookFest Book Cover Design Contest is Open!

9th Annual Contest Open to all Michigan High School Students

The Kerrytown Bookfest is pleased to announce that the 2016 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 9th year. “It’s always such a thrill to see the student’s creativity.” says Kerrytown BookFest President, Robin Agnew. The contest is open to all Michigan High School students and it is one of the most successful and creative elements of the BookFest. “It’s a great way to bring in new lovers of books and the art of book design.” says Agnew.

This year students are asked to create a new cover for Of Scars and Stardust, the debut novel by Andrea Hannah. Hannah’s crime thriller will have readers guessing whether the mystery is paranormal or psychological. Kirkus Reviews calls the book an “intriguing puzzle.”

andrea hannah

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

The author will serve as one of the judges for the contest, along with noted YA author, David James (Light of the Moon, Between the Stars and Sky),  Linda Caine, general manager at Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor, and Jackie LaRose,  Associate Professor of Education at Eastern Michigan University.  The deadline to enter is Friday, May 6, 2016. Finalists will be announced May 16th, 2016.

The contest judges will meet 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 9, 2016 at 7 pm.

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

Each year 80 to 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: