Book-lovers celebrate festival

From the The Brunswick News

Mary Lynn Huie enjoys finding a good excuse for a vacation. This year, the Atlanta resident didn't have to look too far to find one -- the Georgia Literary Festival, held Saturday at the Jekyll Island Convention Center.

"It's a great time of year for a vacation," she said, picking up a book on a vendor's table. "And we just thought it was a great reason to come down."

Huie wasn't the only visitor who made the journey for a weekend of author presentations and book signings. Susan Kelly actually traveled all the way from Canada.

"We usually come for Thanksgiving every year but this year we came a little early for this," she said. "We just think it is a great way to promote literacy with great authors and poets."

And she wasn't disappointed. Kelly took part in several of the events accompanying the festival, including a Dinner with the Author fundraising evening held earlier, on Friday.

"It was wonderful. It was a very intimate setting," she said.

While Kelly drove some 17 hours to attend the festival, others had less of a trek. Trent Nicholas, 15, lives on St. Simons Island but still got up bright an early Saturday to see the festival's keynote speaker, U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Tretheway.

"I write short stories and some poems so I wanted to come to see (Tretheway). I was really inspired by my teacher, Mrs. Bray, to come too," the Glynn Academy student said.

Adults were also drawn to Tretheway's poetry reading. The conference room in Atlantic Hall was filled with literature fans, many with coffee in hand, anxious to hear Tretheway's poetry. When she appeared at the podium, she delighted the packed room by sharing very personal poems from her latest book, "Thrall."

"My father is white and my mother was black. This book is really a very public conversation about that ... and about how we relate to one another," she said. "My father is also a poet which, I think, had a lot to do with my becoming a writer."

After sharing a handful of poems, Tretheway concluded her presentation which was met by a standing ovation. She later greeted readers and signed copies of her book.

While the day was certainly busy with the steady flow of people coming and going, the festival went off without a hitch.

For Sharon Flores, literary festival co-chair, the event exceeded her expectations.

"I was enthralled listening to a variety of amazing authors from around the country talk about their recent works," Flores said.

Release Date: 11/15/2012
Source: The Brunswick News