With record numbers in sales, enthusiasts came in masses to hear, meet, and buy books from their favorite authors and illustrators at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest held April 18 at the Knicely Conference Center. Bestselling author Diana Gabaldon, known for her popular Outlander series, filled a room with more than 500 fans, some who waited for hours at the entrance, eager to get seats close to the author. Other well-known authors such as Jamie Ford, Terry Brooks, Mary McDonough, and Doreen Cronin brought in their own fan clubs.
“Book Fest was a tremendous success,” said Kristie Lowry, SOKY Book Fest organizer. “We are getting such positive remarks on social media, in-person, and through surveys given to participants.”
More than 1,200 attended the Friday prior to the main Book Fest event for Children’s Day and the Kentucky Writers Conference. According to Lowry, a new writing workshop for teens was also well attended. “We wanted to offer something specifically for those in grades 9-12 and the response was terrific. We definitely would like to continue this program next year.”
Bowling Green resident Crystal Bowling has attended the Writers Conference more than once. “I enjoy attending for the discussions and ideas, not only for the authors presenting, but for the writers in the audience. It’s a wonderful event with a sense of community,” said Bowling.
Noted as one of the largest book festivals in the state, SOKY Book Fest has been named by the Kentucky Travel Industry Association (KTIA) to the Top 10 Festivals & Events for Spring for the third consecutive year.
In addition to sales from the event, Book Fest is funded with grants and donations by companies and individuals. Corporate donors included: Platinum Level – Dollar General; Gold Level – Daily News, Jim Johnson; Silver Level – WKU Conferencing & Catering, West Sixth Brewing, WKU PBS; Bronze Level – Fruit of the Loom, Meijer, Smuckers; Patron Level – Bell Orr Ayers & Moore, WKU Department of English, Logan Aluminum and Bowling Green Convention & Visitors Bureau.