Wednesday, September 28, 2011

SoCo Book Festival Favorites: from Letterpress to Literacy, from Book Publishers to Book Mobiles

Teresa LeYung Ryan

I spent Saturday at the 12th Annual Sonoma County Book Festival in Santa Rosa's Courthouse Square. Book lovers young and old wandered along 4th Street from 10-4. Booths showcased local book sellers, self-published authors, indie publishers and small presses, as well as a public library sale. Several stages held professional panels, author talks and poetry readings.

Struck by the plethora of creativity in my county, I enjoyed chatting with people such as author/ photographer Thomas Cooper about his book Tankhouse: California's Redwood Water Towers From a Bygone Era. I ran into a former teaching colleague who connected me to a professional networking group; I got information from a local nonprofit to pitch a story to Petaluma Patch; I took pictures with fellow Redwood Writer, Teresa LeYung Ryan, writing coach and author of Love Made of Heart and Build Your Writer's Platform & Fanbase in 22 Days (ebook and print edition). Check out her blog's event recap.

Here are some of my favorites. If you couldn't make it to the festival, at least you can do a virtual tour:

Iota Press
Iota Press
"What draws you to letterpress?" the people at the booth asked as I browsed. The aesthetic, the antiquity, the physicality of each printed letter. Based in Sebastopol, Erick Johnson offers custom printing, as well as workshops in typesetting and letterpress. His Iota Quarterly ($30/year) features "poetry, yarns or graphics." The animated way he speaks clearly demonstrates his enthusiasm for the artful arrangement of words on paper. From his website: "I have an interest in the graphic powers of type and ink fused with literary art."

Executive Director Paul Heavenridge's goal is to make Petaluma the lifelong-learning capital of the country. He's starting with WordUp! A Community Learning Fair, an inaugural event October 30 to support literacy programs in local schools. The line-up will include Anne Lamott and Petals and Bones--both whom I've blogged about before. According to their website this nonprofit provides:
free, top-quality multimedia educational materials... to literacy and education organizations. We assist education and literacy programs with consultation in the areas of technology support, educational material, funding, and assessment.

Cameron + Company  
Last week I interviewed for an internship with this boutique publishing house, based in Petaluma, which creates and distributes "high quality books and calendars with a focus on photography, art and publications of regional interest." Founded in '64 by aerial photographer Robert Cameron, author of the Above [San Francisco, etc.] series, the company has managed to stay in the family. I spotted publisher Chris Gruener at the festival and photographed him for a post on their company blog. 

Sonoma County Free Bookmobile
Director Glen Weaver left a full time job to start this nonprofit. He partners with the Literary Arts Guild to "promote literacy and a love of reading by giving away high quality books"--particularly serving children and elders living in rural and low-income areas. They've given away 35,000 books to date! But they need volunteers for sorting, donation pick-ups, event research, promotion and more. I suggested he check out Big Brother Mouse, based in Laos, which delivers books to remote villages by riverboat and elephant! Look for that blog post soon...

Poetry Flash
This literary review and calendar for the west "builds community through literature, providing literary writing, access to literary activities, information, and inspiration to writers and the public through publishing and events." Along with former US Poet Laureate Robert Hass, they sponsor the Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival--coming up October 1, noon-4:30 at Berkeley's Civic Center Park. To support the event, I purchased a gorgeous print by Poltroon Press of Hass's 2010 poem, July Notebook: The Birds, as memento.

Author and artist Samuel Farinato created The Hyperquizzitistical Alphabet According to Edgar Allan Poe, a witty self-published book that's not your typical illustrated alphabet book. Also a contributor to Siren Comic Collection, Farinato offers his illustration services to the storybook market, as well as the book and gaming market, from sci-fi/fantasy novels to board/card/role-playing game materials.

Linda Joy Meyers, Cindy Pavlinac & Kate Farrell

Finally, these Redwood Writers--reviewer Linda Joy Myers, cover designer Cindy Pavlinac and editor-in-chief Kate Farrell--showed off their new anthology, Wisdom Has a Voice: Every Daughter's Memories of Mother. The introduction was written by my fellow MFA colleague at USF, Amber Lea Starfire, who has an informative blog, Writing Through Life. Her mission is "to empower others to make meaning of their lives, achieve their creative and expressive potentials, and tell their stories, by helping them access their inner wisdom and creative power through the act of writing."


Amber Lea Starfire said...

Nicole, thanks for the review of the Book Festival, the pictures, and link to my website. Reading your post was the next best thing to being there!

Arletta Dawdy said...

Great review when it makes me wish I'd been there!

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