HARBOR SPRINGS — The Harbor Springs Festival of the Book is celebrating its seventh year with a weekend-long event beginning this Thursday, Sept. 22 and running through Sunday, Sept. 25.
The sold-out festival will bring in authors from a breadth of genres, from cookbooks to fiction. There will be 41 authors and illustrators coming to the event.
Amy Gillard, executive director of the Harbor Springs Festival of the Book, said the festival is accomplishing the three things the founders had in mind when starting the festival: Bringing a literary festival to Harbor Springs, offering educational opportunities to the community and serving as an economic stimulus.
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“We couldn’t be more excited,” Gillard said.
Now seven festivals later, the festival has outgrown its old style. A total of 1,100 people were registered for the event before selling-out this year’s festival — but people did not always have to register ahead of time.
Attendance has increased enough for the festival to require registration so people know exactly how many people can be accommodated at the festival.
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Throughout the weekend, there will be more than 30 individual presentations attended will have the option to go to. There will be picture book and poetry readings, followed by the opportunity to have books signed by the authors.
“Our mission is to inspire readers of all ages and celebrate the culture of books in a beautiful part of the world.” Gillard said. “Bringing traditionally published authors and illustrators, from around the country to come to this community and talk about their work and their process, and their ideas is really dynamic and really exciting.”
She said that people have registered from 19 states and Canada, but that members of the Emmet County community remain very engaged with the festival.
The festival will kick off Thursday with a popup bookshop and name badge pickups at Holy Childhood from 1-5 pm The first formally scheduled event is a documentary showing of “My Octopus Teacher” from 4-5:30 pm at the Lyric Theatre. The documentary serves as a prelude to Ray Nayler’s novel “The Mountain in the Sea.” Nayler will speak at multiple sessions throughout the weekend.
The first full day of sessions is Friday, starting with another viewing of “My Octopus Teacher” from 10-11:30 am This is followed by a vegetarian luncheon with Erin Gleeson. There will also be five additional sessions, ranging from discussions on finding self within a story and how stories relate to culture, to a doodle-along session with an illustrator.
Friday will wrap up with the keynote address from Candice Millard, who will be speaking about her latest book “River of the Gods.”
The address will be at the Harbor Springs Performing Arts Center from 7:30-8:30 pm She will be discussing the golden age of Egyptology, discovery and how history is often relating on unsung heroes.
Saturday is packed full of events, kicking off with a picture book reading at 9 am and ending with an all presenter signing and happy hour from 5-7 pm Throughout the day, authors will be speaking about how songs influence storytelling, how science impacts fiction and multiple discussions of family and memoirs.
As the event wraps up Sunday, there will be a discussion regarding psychoanalysis and Sigmund Freud’s extrication from Vienna, and one about how language and memory work together.
This is followed by a 12-person panel for a question-and-answer event, with at least one person on the panel to represent each of the eight genres at the convention.
The event closes with a ticketed-only luncheon with Vishwesh Bhatt, bringing recipes from his cookbook “I Am From Here” to Northern Michigan.
Some events require individual ticket purchases.
For the full schedule with locations, visit hsfotb.org/2022-schedule.
While there is not additional availability for people who missed the chance to register, Gillard encourages people that are interested to save the date for next year’s festival, which will take place Sept. 22-25, 2023.
For more information on the festival and events throughout the year, you can sign up for the festivals newsletter at www.hsfotb.org.