“This was a difficult decision but we believe it is in the best interest of Oklahoma book lovers. It is simply too risky to have any type of in-person event right now, even with safety precautions. Additionally, we do not feel a completely virtual book festival would garner enough audience participation to warrant the costs necessary to put on such programming. The pandemic is also making fundraising and partner recruitment more difficult for non-profits and community events at this time. We are disappointed, but remain enthusiastic about the future of the Oklahoma Book Festival program. Please look for information in the coming months on a 2021 festival.”
With all of the crowds, presentations, activities, and book signings going on at the Oklahoma Book Festival on October 20, you may have missed our signs saluting Ida Sutton Williams. Ida’s daughter Laurie Williams was a major sponsor of the festival, and it was her desire to honor her mother, who once dreamed that Oklahoma would have its very own book festival. Below, see the photos and the biography from the signs outside the festival’s Headliner Tent and Entertainment Zone.
The Oklahoma Book Festival’s Headliner Tent and Entertainment Zone are named in honor of Ida Sutton Williams, former member and board chair of the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. Williams was an enthusiastic advocate of libraries and reading, and a tireless civic and cultural leader in Ardmore, Oklahoma.
Selected as “Outstanding Girl” by the 1950 graduating class at Ardmore High School, Williams left Oklahoma to pursue her education at Smith College in North Hampton, Massachusetts, where she graduated in 1954 with a degree in education and religious studies. She also attended classes at the University of Oklahoma, where she was initiated into the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. Following her marriage to James W. Williams, she moved to Washington, D.C., where she attended graduate school at George Washington University.
Williams returned to Ardmore, with her beloved husband Jim and their bright, humorous daughter Laurie, where she followed her lifetime passions of community service, philanthropy, and politics. Known affectionately as “Ida Red” by those closest to her, she was truly a “Renaissance Woman.”
Williams reflected later in life that she realized as a young person the importance of the honor system; to read and listen to a variety of thoughts, opinions, and positions; to see, study, and meditate to find answers; to use a direct source if possible such as Plato or The Federalist Papers, rather than a secondhand or textbook opinion; and to question, to think for yourself, and to have the courage to rely upon your own opinions. She also understood the importance of interdisciplinary studies, stating “what a person learns from history can be applied to art, government, ethics, science, etc.—for in human life there is an interconnectedness among all things.”
The Ida Sutton Williams Headliner Tent and Entertainment Zone honor the many local library boards and friends groups, city and county officials, and civic leaders who understand that libraries make a profound and lasting impact on the life of the individual as well as communities.
A rain-soaked Friday, October 19—that almost made planners push the panic button—gave way to a sunny and successful Oklahoma Book Festivalon Saturday, October 20, in Oklahoma City’s Boathouse District.
A book festival the state could call its own has long been a dream of Oklahoma’s literary community. Budget cuts that effectively slashed ODL’s number of employees by more than 50% over the past two decades didn’t bode well for the agency and its Oklahoma Center for the Book (OCB) to take on such an endeavor.
But take two determined employees (Vicki Mohr, administrator of ODL’s Office of Library Development, and Connie Armstrong, OCB Director), an agency director willing to use federal LSTA funds to help fund the project (Susan McVey), some influential and generous sponsors and partners, some enthusiastic volunteers, and a host of willing authors and illustrators…well, you get a book festival!
Let’s take a look at the successful event by the numbers…
This press release, promotional photos, event logo, portrait shots of the three headliners, and selected book jacket graphics may be downloaded at http://okbookfest.org/media-kit/
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Bill Young, Public Information Manager
Oklahoma Department of Libraries
Authors, poets, illustrators, and readers of all ages will convene at Oklahoma City’s Boathouse District on Saturday, October 20 for the inaugural Oklahoma Book Festival. More than 50 writers, including national bestselling authors, will be in attendance at the event, which organizers hope will become the largest literary festival in the state.
Patterned after the annual National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., Oklahoma’s literary gathering will be filled with presentations, author panels, story times, craft activities, poetry readings, entertainment, book sales, and book signings.
Headliners for the festival include David Grann, author of the New York Times bestseller, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI; Edgar Award-winning mystery and suspense novelists Meg Gardiner (Into the Black Nowhere and Unsub) and Lou Berney (November Road and The Long and Faraway Gone); and illustrator Jerry Bennett, whose clients include Stan Lee, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Mattel and Dreamworks.