State’s first lady Patsy Riley to serve as honorary chair of Alabama Book Festival

AUBURN – Alabama first lady Patsy Riley will help promote the state’s annual celebration of books and reading as honorary chair of the 2007 Alabama Book Festival April 21 on the grounds of Old Alabama Town in Montgomery.

More than fifty writers will read, talk about their work and sign books. They include Alabama’s Kathryn Tucker Windham, Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler and award-winning poet and storyteller Janice N. Harrington. A children’s area will feature storytellers, writers and talks on reading with children.

A Year of Alabama Arts event, the book festival will include panels with playwrights from Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s Southern Writers Project and readings by Alabama Public Television’s Reading Rainbow award winners. The Children’s Literacy Guild of Alabama will offer fun as well as information about its programs for young people.

“Reading is important for success in anything you do,” said Riley. “You can’t start reading to your children too soon, and reading is a lifelong joy. The Alabama Book Festival is a great celebration of literacy and literature in our state.”

The quilters of Gees Bend, printer Amos Kennedy and other artists will be on hand to help commemorate 2007 as the Year of Alabama Arts. The University of Alabama’s Book Arts Program and book illustrator Cynthia Mask will showcase the art behind how books are made.

“Alabama is not only a reading state, but also a writing state with some of the finest American writers of all time,” says Riley. “Is there anyone who doesn’t know Harper Lee of Monroeville? We have so much to be proud of, and the Alabama Book Festival gives all of us a chance to learn about and showcase our writers.”

Alabama Book Festival partners and sponsors include the Alabama Center for the Book, Auburn University College of Liberal Arts, the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel, the Alabama Public Library Service and the Alabama Library Association.

For more information on the festival, call the Alabama Center for the Book at (334) 844-4946 or go to www.alabamabookcenter.org.

(Contributed by Jay Lamar.)

Contact: Jay Lamar, 334-844-4946 (lamarja@auburn.edu) or
Mike Clardy, 334-844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)