“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.”
A rainy morning and a day where the wind came sweeping down the plains didn’t stop a record crowd from turning out for the 2nd Oklahoma Book Festival on Saturday, September 21.
Festival vendor Factor 110 estimates more than 3,000 individuals headed to the Oklahoma City Boathouse District to hear the 100+ presenters from Oklahoma and across the nation as they discussed their latest books—an increase from last year’s estimate of more than 2,500 in attendance.
Headliners were the big draw, with a total of 427 people attending sessions in the Ida Sutton Williams Headliner Tent to hear presentations on popular current titles, from Scott Pelley’s Truth Worth Telling, to WK Stratton’s book on the movie The Wild Bunch, to Mystery writer Anne’s Hillerman’s latest work, The Tale Teller.
Happy New Year! With all of the holidays behind us—and the snow day behind us, and all of the entries in the 2019 Oklahoma Book Awards here or on their way—it’s time to give you that fall roundup of Center for the Book activities that we’ve been intending to do for the past two months.
In case you missed our salute to Ida Sutton Williams at the Book Festival, here it is.Ida’s daughter Laurie Williams was a major sponsor of the festival, and it was her desire to honor her mother, who dreamed that Oklahoma would have its very own book festival someday. Dreams come true.
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…