Gibran Graham is the co-chair (along with Barbara McDade) of the Bangor Book Festival. He spoke to The Maine Edge about the process of assembling the festival, both for this year and in the past.
“This is the seventh year of the festival,” Graham said. “We’ve been in the planning stages pretty much since last year’s festival ended. The organizational committee for the festival meets on a monthly basis.
“After the first of the year, that’s when things really get in gear,” he continued. “We spend a lot of time listening to feedback from past participants – what worked, what didn’t, that sort of thing. We’re always looking to try different things.”
This includes ever-shifting criteria for which authors and illustrators are brought in to participate.
“We’re always feeling out the Maine literary world,” he said. “We’re checking to see who has new titles coming out, asking to see who might be available. There’s a real strength in Maine [literature]; Maine has a wealth of authors and illustrators coming out with a wealth of material. We’re always trying to find ways to attract different audiences.”
Graham added that some of the changes to the festival’s philosophies include bringing back authors for repeat appearances and becoming less strict about where the authors come from.
“It’s interesting to meet authors based in Maine, but our audiences might also want to encounter those authors they might have fewer opportunities to meet,” said Graham. “So we have been reaching out farther and spreading more through New England.”
He also spoke about a new addition to the speaking program.
“We’ve always had a keynote speaker,” he said. “This year’s is Cathie Pelletier, an award-winning author with local relevance; she’s from the County.
“But we’ve added a youth keynote to this year’s festival. Clare Vanderpool, the Newberry Award-winning author, will join us. It was great; we reached out to her publicist and asked if there was any interest. They got back to us with a ‘Yes.’ I’m very excited about it.”
While there is a workshop on Friday afternoon, the keynote address – called the Bud Knickerbocker Keynote Address to honor the memory of Knickerbocker, one of the founders of the festival who passed away in 2010 – serves to officially kick off the festival.
Bangor Book Festival events are taking place at a variety of locations around the downtown area.
“The idea of using multiple locations is one that has developed over the years,” Graham said. “The first year of the festival, we had multiple locations. Then we scaled back, with things only happening in the library. In the fifth year, we expanded again; we’ve been trying different locations to see what works.
“This year, we’ve got three different spots in the library. The Maine Discovery Museum is hosting two programs – both kid-related – while the Rock and Art Shop is also hosting two programs. The spread does two things: A) it gives everything more of a festival feel, and B) it makes the festival more a part of downtown. It really allows authors and attendees alike the opportunity to explore and experience downtown Bangor over the course of the festival.”
Putting together a festival like this one requires a lot of legwork, but the end result offers a lot to get excited about.
“It’s interesting trying to put together a program,” said Graham. “You want a good variety of authors and illustrators. Basically, you’re a curator and you’re trying to curate a good festival. We have limited time and limited space, so some participants do solo presentations while others do panel discussions. Through the curation process, intrinsically we all get excited about everyone involved.”
And while much of the festival is aimed at a more mature audience, Graham noted that there’s plenty for the kids as well. The Briar Patch will be hosting an event for “Star Wars Reads Day,” which falls on Oct. 5, from 10 to 11:30 a.m.
“It’s a national campaign that started last year, a fun reading-related day,” he said. “Paul’s R2-D2 will be there, as well as some folks from the Mandelorian Mercs in full costume.”
In addition, the exceedingly popular Draw-Off event is set to take place during the festival.
“We started the Draw-Off a few years ago,” said Graham. “The room is always packed wall-to-wall with kids. Each author/illustrator talks a little bit about who they are and what they do. Then … we unleash the children on them.
“Kids raise their hands and tell them what to draw. They try and stump them with all sorts of crazy, madcap things. All the artists have a great time with it and the kids get to see them trying to draw the same thing, each in their own different styles.”
For anyone who loves to read, loves to write – essentially just loves words in general – the Bangor Book Festival is a chance to embrace those loves right here in our own backyard. Sitting seven years strong, we can only hope that the festival continues to grow and evolve, dropping a wide variety of literary experiences into our lives.
(For more information about the Bangor Book Festival, visit their website at bangorbookfest.org.)
Schedule of events
Friday, Oct. 4, 2013
Self-publishing for Maine Writers with Jane Karker
Bangor Public Library Lecture Hall – 3 p.m.
Independent writers now have a whole new way of producing and marketing their books. Recent innovations in the rapidly changing technology in printing have created a boom in self-publishing. Good books that don’t meet traditional publisher’s criteria can now be affordably printed and marketed by self-publishing authors. This workshop will outline some of the options both traditional and nontraditional, including what is offered locally. Students will find out how to get the technical assistance they need, and about the many types of organizations, printers, and publishers that work with Maine authors. Sponsored by Maine Authors Publishing & Cooperative and Custom Museum Publishing Inc.
Bud Knickerbocker Keynote Address and the Maine Readers’ Choice Award presentation
Bangor Opera House – 7 p.m.
Cathie Pelletier was born and raised on the banks of the St. John River, at the end of the road in Northern Maine. She is the author of 10 novels, including “The Funeral Makers” (NYTBR Notable Book), “The Weight of Winter” (winner of the New England Book Award) and “Running the Bulls” (winner of the Paterson Prize for Fiction). As K. C. McKinnon, she has written two novels, both of which became television films. After years of living in Nashville (where she became a songwriter), Toronto, and Quebec, she has returned to the family homestead where she was born. Her newest title is “The One-Way Bridge.”
Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013
Coming Home and Taking Root: Brenda Gilchrist and Jane McCloskey
Bangor Public Library Lecture Hall – 9 a.m.
Brenda Gilchrist, author of “Waltzing with Bracey: A Long Reach Home (Bauhan Publishing),” worked at various jobs in the New York art and magazine worlds, including the Brussels World’s Fair (New York and Brussels), Museum of Modern Art and “SHOW Magazine,” before she became senior editor in charge of the Art Books Division at Praeger Publishers. She was also general editor of The Smithsonian Illustrated Library of Antiques series, published by the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in cooperation with the Book-of-the-Month Club. Since moving to Maine in 1990, she has written, illustrated and designed books published by Braceypoint Press. Her books are represented in the Maine State Library, Maine Author Collection.
Jane McCloskey has been many things, including house painter, Christmas wreath maker, environmentalist and writer. She lives in a house she built herself on Deer Isle, Maine, near the island where she grew up. She is Robert McCloskey’s younger daughter and appears in several of his books.
The authors will read from their books and discuss their shared theme for the event, “Coming Home, Taking Root,” with the audience.
UMaine Honors College Discussion: The Sparrow with Jordan LaBouff
Bangor Public Library Story Room (145 Harlow Street, first floor)
Reading and Discussion: David Rosenfelt
Bangor Public Library Board Room – 9 a.m.
David Rosenfelt, a New Jersey native now living in Maine, is the author of 17 books, 11 of which feature lawyer and sleuth Andy Carpenter. After a 20-year career in motion picture marketing, he and his wife began the Tara Foundation to help find homes for unwanted dogs. The foundation has rescued over 4,000 dogs from shelters.
A Place Called Maine: Cathie Pelletier and Jane MacCracken
Bangor Public Library Lecture Hall
Reading and Discussion: Ellen Booraem and Bryce Moore
Bangor Public Library Story Room – 10:15 a.m.
Ellen Booraem’s “Texting the Underworld,” a middle-grade fantasy about a scaredy-cat South Boston boy and a determined young banshee, hit bookstores in August (Penguin/Dial Books for Young Readers). Her earlier middle-grade fantasies are “Small Persons With Wings” (Penguin/DBYR, 2011) and “The Unnameables” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008). She’s online at ellenbooraem.com, and also blogs at The Enchanted Inkpot (enchantedinkpot.com) and Scene13 (scene13ers.wordpress.com).
Bryce Moore is the author of “Vodnik” (Tu, 2012) and “Cavern of Babel” (Diamond Triple C, 2007). When he’s not authoring, he’s a librarian in Western Maine, where he’s also the current vice president of the Maine Library Association.
Pages of Local History with Paulena MacDougall and Wayne Reilly
Bangor Public Library Board Room – 10:15 a.m.
Pauleena MacDougall is director of the Maine Folklife Center and faculty associate in anthropology at the University of Maine. Her latest book, “Fannie Hardy Eckstorm and Her Quest for Local Knowledge, 1865–1946,” reveals an important story which speaks directly to contemporary issues as historians of science, social science and humanities begin to re-evaluate the nature, content and role of indigenous and folk knowledge systems.
Wayne E. Reilly worked at the Bangor Daily News for 28 years. After retiring, he began a weekly history column and has written freelance stories for Down East, Maine Times and other publications. He has won professional and civic awards. Reilly is the author of “Remembering Bangor: The Queen City Before the Great Fire” and has edited two Civil War-era books.
Let’s Write a Story Together and Act it Out with Lynn Plourde
Maine Discovery Museum - 10:15 a.m.
Lynn Plourde is the author of 27 children’s books, including “Pigs in the Mud in the Middle of the Rud,” “School Picture Day,” “At One in a Place Called Maine” and “Dino Pets.” She also co-authored the graphic novel “Lost Trail: Nine Days Alone in the Wilderness” with Donn Fendler and illustrated by Ben Bishop. Her newest book is “You’re Wearing THAT to School?!” On her website www.lynnplourde.com there’s a blog for teachers on teaching writing, learning activities for her books, as well as video read-alouds of some of her books. Lynn is a Maine native who grew up in Skowhegan and currently lives in Winthrop with her husband Paul Knowles.
Great Bangor Draw-off with Ben Bishop, Cathryn Falwell and Mark Scott Ricketts
Bangor Public Library Lecture Hall – 11:30 a.m.
Join three great Maine book illustrators while doing what they love to do — draw. The audience will help pick the subjects as young enthusiasts see what “style” means.
New Young Immigrant Fiction with Terry Farish, Maria Padian and Katie Quirk
Bangor Public Library Story Room – 11:30 a.m.
Naomi Shihab Nye wrote about Terry Farish’s novel, “The Good Braider,” “You will never again encounter a refugee from anywhere without remembering Viola and her family. This is a novel of deep understanding and unforgettable empathy.” Terry is also the author of “Flower Shadows” set during the Vietnam War. With Nepali-speaking refugees form Bhutan, she produced a bilingual folktale, “The Story of a Pumpkin,” published by the NH Humanities Council. Visit her at terryfarish.com
Maria Padian has worked as a news reporter, an essayist for public radio, a press secretary for a U.S. congressman and a freelance writer. An avid tennis player, gardener, skier and hiker, she is also the mother of two teenagers, who provide countless inspirations and insights for her writing. She lives with her children, her husband and their Australian shepherd in Maine, where she is at work on a new novel. To learn more about her, visit www.mariapadian.com.
Katie Quirk (katie-quirk.com) is the author of “A Girl Called Problem.” Set in Tanzania, East Africa, this middle-grade novel has recently received a starred Kirkus review, a glowing Fuse #8 review and a New York Times review. Katie lives in Orono, Maine and is currently working on a book about two years in India with her baby.
Bangor Public Library Board Room (145 Harlow Street, first floor)
Bangor Public Library Lecture Hall – 12:30 p.m.
Youth Keynote with Clare Vanderpool
Bangor Public Library Lecture Hall – 1:15 p.m.
New York Times Best Seller “Navigating Early” by Clare Vanderpool, Newbery Medalist for “Moon Over Manifest,” is an odyssey-like adventure of two boys’ incredible quest on the Appalachian Trail where they deal with pirates, buried secrets, and extraordinary encounters. Clare Vanderpool’s debut novel, “Moon Over Manifest,” won the 2011 Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to children’s literature. This second novel will continue to astound readers with Clare’s incredible writing prowess.
Reading and Discussion: Janet Chapman and JanDeLima
Bangor Public Library Story Room – 1:15 p.m.
Janet Chapman is the author of 22 contemporary and magical romance novels, all of which are set in her beautiful state of Maine. She lives in a cozy log home on a beautiful lake with her husband, surrounded by an eclectic assortment of wildlife that she finds both entertaining and inspiring. Probably best known for her Highlander Series (a saga of 12th century warriors rebuilding their clans in modern-day Maine that now spans three generations), Janet also has two spin-off magical series (Midnight Bay and Spellbound Falls) and several contemporary family series set on the coast and in the mountains. With over 3 million books printed in six languages, her stories regularly appear on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller’s lists.
Jan DeLima lives in Maine with her husband of 20 years and their two teenage sons. Unlike many authors, Jan didn’t pen stories at an early age but has always been a dedicated reader. She loves stories and storytelling. It wasn’t until after her children entered school that she began writing. She brought a mixture of all her experiences to her first published novel, blending castles and Celtic lore with the wild nature of her home.
Reading and Discussion: Al Lamanda
Bangor Public Library Board Room – 1:15 p.m.
From New York City, Al Lamanda is the author of the mystery novels “Dunston Falls,” “Walking Homeless,” “Running Homeless,” “Sunset,” “Sunrise” and “First Light” (July 2014 release date) and several screenplays. His screenplay “The Interview” was runner up for best Screenplay at the Austin Film Festival. Lamanda’s novel “Sunset” was nominated for the Edgar Award for best novel of 2012.
Beyond the Usual with Marisue and John W. Pickering
The Rock & Art Shop – 1:15 p.m.
Long-time Central Maine residents Marisue and John W. Pickering began publishing their respective travel writings and travel photography a number of years ago. Their decades-long experiences as educators and their shared interest in exploring Maine’s historical and cultural heritage as well as its natural world have come together in words and photographs in their latest collaboration, “Maine – Beyond the Usual.”
Lost and Found! Turning Donn Fendler into a Comic Book Character with Donn Fendler, Lynn Plourde and Ben Bishop
Bangor Public Library Lecture Hall – 2:30 p.m.
Donn Fendler, Lynn Plourde and Ben Bishop share he process of taking a classic Maine story and creating “Lost Trail.”
Donn Fendler was born in New York City in 1926 and raised in nearby Rye, New York. He joined the navy in World War II as a Sea Bee serving in the Pacific and China. He then graduated from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. Donn returned to serve his country as an Infantry Airborne Officer in the U.S. Army, retiring after 30 years with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He now splits his time between Clarksville, Tennessee and Newport, Maine. Through the years, he has given countless talks at school, libraries and to Scout troops about his survival tale recounted in the 1939 book “Lost on a Mountain in Maine.”
Ben Bishop is a graphic novel creator, toy designer, cartoonist and illustrator. Ben wrote, illustrated and self-published his first book, “Nathan The Caveman,” in 2008, followed by several smaller works. He provided illustrations for the award winning book, “Lost Trail,” the graphic novel adaptation of the famous Donn Fendler story, “Lost On A Mountain In Maine.” See more of Ben’s work at www.bishart.net and www.outforjustice.org.
After Lunch with the Smileys with Sarah Smiley
Bangor Public Library Story Room – 2:30 p.m.
Sarah Smiley is the author of a syndicated newspaper column that is published in cities across the country, the memoirs “Dinner with the Smileys” (Hyperion, 2013) and “Going Overboard” (Penguin/New American Library, 2005), and a collection of essays titled “I’m Just Saying…” (Ballinger, 2008).
Literature’s First Light: Reading and Discussion with Katie Quirk
Bangor Public Library Board Room – 2:30 p.m.
Katie Quirk (katie-quirk.com) is the author of “A Girl Called Problem.” Set in Tanzania, East Africa, this middle-grade novel has recently received a starred Kirkus review, a glowing Fuse #8 review, and a New York Times review. Katie lives in Orono, Maine, and is currently working on a book about two years in India with her baby.
The Art of the Book with Cathryn Fallwell
Maine Discovery Museum – 2:30 p.m.
Children’s picture book illustrator and author Cathryn Falwell lives on Frog Song Pond in Gorham, Maine. From her studio (and also from her very own treehouse!) she can watch the leaping, creeping, splashing, dashing critters who have inspired several of her books, including “Turtle Splash, Scoot!,” “Pond Babies” and “Gobble, Gobble.” In addition to her nature-themed books, Cathryn celebrates creative children in titles including “Butterflies for Kiri,” “David’s Drawings” and “Word Wizard.” She has a large collection of artwork from children who have enjoyed her books. Working primarily in cut-paper collage, Cathryn’s illustrations have been praised for their energy, vibrant color and textural detail.
Calling all Flatlanders with Mark Scott Ricketts
The Rock & Art Shop – 2:30 p.m.
Mark Scott Ricketts is a writer/illustrator/cartoonist/coffee enthusiast/neighborhood crank/fill-in-the-blank living in Bangor, Maine–home of Hollywood Slots and Dave’s Romantic Supermart. He’s worked, mostly as a writer, occasionally as an artist, for a variety of publishers including Playboy, Nickelodeon, McGraw Hill, Caliber Comics, Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics, and Image Comics. He’s the winner of the 2000 Klasky Csupo screenwriting award. Ricketts is currently working on his first children’s book for Islandport Press.
Bangor Public Library Lecture Hall – 3:45 p.m.
Gardening in Tune with Nature with Reeser Manley and Marjorie Peronto
Bangor Public Library Story Room – 3:45 p.m.
“The New England Gardener’s Year,” a month-by-month guide to gardening for the entire New England region by Reeser Manley and Marjorie Peronto, is both a practical reference manual and a book you will find yourself reading cover to cover for discovery, inspiration, and pure enjoyment.
Reading and Discussion: Mark Kelley
Bangor Public Library Board Room – 3:45 p.m.
Mark Kelley is a veteran of more than 20 years in broadcast news, both radio and television. He has worked as a news producer and reporter and, until June, 1999, he served as main anchor for WNDU- TV in South Bend, IN. Kelley is currently Director of Journalism at the New England School of Communications in Bangor, ME. He is the author of three books: a novel, Berman’s Lament (2000, available from the author), a non-fiction book, “Engaging News Media: A Practical Guide for People of Faith” (2006, Cowley Publications), and “Rain of Ruin” (2011, available from Amazon Books).