The Derry Public Library will present its first Author Festival on Saturday, May 2.
The library is hosting authors and storytellers all day in “Sharing Our Stories,” a celebration of the written and spoken word.
Youth Librarian Erin Robinson said the idea came from Library Director Cara Barlow by way of the Board of Trustees. “The trustees wanted something ‘big,’ and Cara floated the idea of a celebration of stories and books,” Robinson said.
Robinson, a published children’s author who runs the annual Midwinter Authors’ Day for teen patrons, started calling other authors. Some she knew, some she didn’t, but she ended up with 13 authors as presenters. “We polled the patrons on what they like to read,” she said.
The keynote speaker will be Emmy Laybourne, a novelist, screenwriter and actress. She has performed original routines on Comedy Central, MTV and VH1 and acted in the movies “Superstar,” “The In-Laws” and “Nancy Drew.” She is the author of the Monument 14 trilogy, which has received critical praise from the New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice and has been nominated by readers to the YALSA Teens Top Ten in 2013 and 2014.
The authors will cover a variety of topics, from the “ins and outs of getting published” to research techniques, Robinson said.
Panels and workshops will feature middle grade authors Erin E. Moulton and Erin Dionne, Young Adult authors Lori Goldstein, A.C. Gaughen, Camille DeAngelis and Erin Bowman, and picture book authors David Elliott and Eric Pinder,
Town Historian Rick Holmes will be on a panel of nonfiction writers. Storyteller Simon Brooks will tell Celtic tales and storyteller Cora Ciampi will tell folk tales.
Though most of the authors focus on children and teens the workshops will be centered on the writing craft, not the particulars of those age groups, Robinson said. She recommends the workshops for ages 12 and older, although if there are younger writers who are serious about their craft, they are welcome to sit and listen.
Laybourne will speak on “The Premise and the Promise,” how to pace a story. “That should apply to any writer,” Robinson said. She will also speak on The Shape of Your Story, and will be on a Young Adult Mentor panel along with other writers.
Popular children’s book author and illustrator David Hyde Costello, with the help of a 6-foot-tall cardboard giraffe, will be teaching kids all about community.
Water Street Books of Exeter will be on site for book sales.
Robinson said while registration is not required, it is “helpful” and can be done through the Web site at www.derry.lib.nh.us.
As it’s the first such event, she has no idea how many to expect. “I would love it if we had a couple of hundred,” she said.
For more information, visit the above Web site or call 432-6140.