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Talking Mysteries at the BookFest

Every year our mystery panels are some of the most popular and well-attended of the day, so we always aim for two panels of very different types of mystery writing. This year, we’re featuring a traditional mystery panel, 1:15pm in the Main Tent, and a suspense panel, 2:45pm in the Kerrytown Concert House. If you love most any type of mystery, you should be able to find an author you already love or will grow to love this year.

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Poetry Slammers at the BookFest!

The BookFest often features a poetry panel, but this year we’ve decided to focus on a special part of contemporary poetry: poetry slammers. Moderated by Source Booksellers Detroit owner Janet Webster Jones, the panel features Scott Beal, Jeff Kass, Casey Rocheteau and Scott Woods.

janet jones

Janet Webster Jones

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Meet our Debut Novel Panellists

One of the best things about planning the bookfest program every year is focusing on new writers and hopefully helping to introduce them to a wide audience. Early career appearances from Michael Koryta, John Scalzi, Julia Keller, David Ellis, Benjamin Percy, Julie Hyzy (who returns this year) and others have made this a BookFest tradition. This year we have a wonderful panel of women writers who are well worth discovering.

Moderated by the University of Michigan’s Doug Trevor, this year’s panel (1:30 in the Kerrytown Concert House, come early to get a good seat!) features Ann Arbor’s own Tiya Miles as well as Angela Flournoy, Greer Macallister and Aline Ohanesian.

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What’s your transformational read?

We asked participating speakers “what book was transformational for you?” Here are the answers.

Scott Beal, poet: It’s hard to pick just one, but I’ll say Small Congregations by Thylias Moss (1993).

Bonnie Jo Campbell, author: The Ballad of the Sad Café, Carson McCullers (1951).


Kayla Coughlin, librarian: My transformational book would be The Giver (1993) by Lois Lowry. I read it for the first time in fourth grade and many times afterward. The idea that an entire world could be an illusion wowed me. It also gave rise to several questions that had never previously occurred to me: What would the world look like without color and how would it feel to see it for the first time? What would it be like to never see or speak to your family again? Is it possible to completely suppress one’s feelings and emotions in favor of a job or duty? I recently read it again and it still amazed me.

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A few words with artist and exhibitor Alvey Jones

We asked longtime exhibitor Alvey Jones a few questions.

How many years have you participated in the BookFest?   

I have participated as an exhibitor in every Kerrytown BookFest since it began in 2003. My wife, Domenica Trevor, has also participated with me as assistant and backup.

Alvey BookFest 2003

What’s your favorite thing about the Kerytown BookFest?

One of my favorite things that brings me back to BookFest every year is meeting the new people and seeing the regulars who stop by my booth to exchange ideas about books and bookmaking. And I also enjoy going around to the booths of my colleagues to see what things they have done and exchange ideas with them.

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