Short story seekers, poetry buffs, and all-around book lovers in the Cherry Hill, Mount Laurel, and Collingswood regions should highlight Saturday, October 3 on their calendars so they can attend the 13th Annual Collingswood Book Festival.
During this epic all-day event, six blocks of historic downtown Collingswood will be transformed to house four large tents, each hosting a different literary kingdom. Divided by adult, teens and tweens, children, and poetry genres, each marquee will serve as a post where authors and enthusiasts will gather to recite, listen, and delight in discussion.
History of the Collingswood Book Festival
In its debut year in 2002, volunteers in the Collingswood community came together to establish a new type of celebration that was missing from the previous festival scene. Thirteen years later, the Collingswood Book Festival remains the longest-running free literary event in the Delaware Valley.
With as many as 50 established locally and nationally recognized authors and illustrators in attendance, this is a can’t-miss event for book lovers of all ages and levels. Avid readers and writers can enter contests to have their work read and workshopped with craft experts, listen in on a litany of compelling discussions and recitations, and browse thousands of new and used titles to launch their next reading adventure.
If you’re looking to learn a little more about the activities and authors under each tent, check out our breakdown of scheduled events below:
Tent 1: Adventure with Adult Authors
Kicking off at 10:15 am, the Adult Authors tent will feature a morning panel discussion as authors and professors dive into the topic of “Irish Family Ties.”
Authors Matthew Quick, George Anastasia, James Hannaham, and Bernie Parent will read from and discuss their recent titles and short stories over the course of the early afternoon. At 1:15 pm, the event’s featured author, Lev Golinkin, will speak on his memoir, A Backpack, A Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka.
Stop in throughout the day for signings by Dave Hart and John Calu, Joe Samuel Stames, and Susannah Marren.
Tent 2: Tales for Teens and Tweens
In tent two, young adult readers will have the chance to meet with authors and have books signed from 10 am to 4 pm. Throughout the day, these 11 authors will read from their works and talk about the trials and tribulations of living in, writing through, and reading alongside the challenges of young adulthood. The main panel discussions under tent two will take place at 2 pm and 3 pm, their respective topics will be “Realistic Fiction: Navigating the Teen Years” and “Literary Golf and Tennis.”
Tent 3: Children’s Stories and Entertainment
Kids and fellow children’s book writers will delight in a visit to tent three where the thrill of story time and new adventures will take place throughout the day as 14 hailed children’s book authors bring their own tales to life. Don’t miss Yosi the musician perform sing-along songs with the audience at noon.
Tent 4: Poetry: From the River to the Sea
The final tent will house poets and verse enthusiasts of all kinds. The tent theme of seaside inspiration also serves as the topic for this tent’s youth poetry competition. At 10 am, contest winners will be announced and asked to read their work aloud.
Catch a haiku workshop at 11:15 am, a slam poetry presentation at 2 pm by the Collingswood High School poets, and an open mic running from 3:10 to 4 pm. Interspersed between all of the line-by-line excitement, tent four visitors will enjoy Walt Whitman river and sea interludes as well as readings and book signings by local poets.
You won’t want to miss out on this fun-filled event where authors and book lovers converge on the streets of downtown Collingswood. It’s bound to be a legendary day of discussion and a worthy celebration of the new light that literature brings to readers of all ages!