It’s that time of year again: book festival season!
I’m actually pumped because after the Decatur Book Festival, there’s going to be a month full of author talks at the Little Shop of Stories in October, and then we have the YALL Fest in November.
This year we decided to go both Saturday and Sunday because you can never have too much book festival. On Saturday we walked around the different tents and got books signed and watched author panels, and Sunday we volunteered from around 12-3. I realized this is my fifth year going to the 10th annual festival, and every year I adore Decatur more and more.
Saturday we listened to Sarah Dessen, a panel with Andrew Smith, Becky Albertalli, David Arnold and Adam Silvera, and David Levithan. Sarah Dessen talked mostly about manuscript failures and her contemporary world-building techniques. Despite her 12 books, she’s had just as many failed attempts at books, and I feel like her talk was a good encouragement to young writers. She also discussed her characters and techniques she uses for creating them, and her Easter egg cameos of different characters into different books.
The panel with the four authors discussed pretty much everything from representation of diversity and their lives in their books to the different voices they take on and the labels of their books. This panel reminded the audience that young adult literature is just a box, and teen voices aren’t much different than adult ones. I also now really want to read Happier than Not by Adam Silvera, and I will continue my quest to finish all the Andrew Smith books. He said he’s working on another one that’s full of crazy perspectives, and I can’t wait!
I was low-key extremely excited because both David Arnold and Becky Albertalli remembered me from the Simon vs. the Homo Sapien Agendalaunch party, so I guess I’m kind of a big deal now.
We scoured the tents for bookmarks and searched for the most interesting book-related shirts/ skirts/ jewelry. I think we acquired 30-40 bookmarks and spotted a lot of cute bookish clothing, along with some DragonCon goers mixed in between the reader totes.
On Sunday we weren’t able to hear all of Libba Bray’s talk or see the other panels, but I did get to talk to the authors a little bit. Libba Bray was such a sweetie and spent so much time talking to each person that her line lasted forever and a day– but it was definitely worth it to meet her and have an actual conversation instead of being whisked away as soon as she swirls her name. We did another once-over of the festival tents and grabbed some books for being volunteers and ended our bookish weekend on a high note.
It was another wonderful year at the festival, and I’m starting to run out of authors to meet! I’ve already seen/ met Sarah Dessen, David Levithan, Andrew Smith, David Arnold, Becky Albertalli and Libba Bray. But I adore seeing them again because each panel brings something different, and I’ll always have more books to get signed!