This year’s Authors Among Us book fair will be the first under the Chautauqua Literary Arts Friends’ new president, Norma Rees.
“I’m really doing it this year, whereas last year I just showed up and poured lemonade,” Rees said. “So it’s been fun making contact and having other people make contact with authors I’m not familiar with yet.”
The event, now in its fifth year, will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday on Bestor Plaza. Authors Among Us is sponsored by the Friends, and is meant to introduce people at Chautauqua Institution to the writing of local authors. Many of the writers at the book fair have participated in the Chautauqua Writers’ Festival or Chautauqua Writers’ Center workshops.
The following authors will present their works at the Authors Among Us Book Fair:
Mary Anne Morefield
Susan Dworski Nusbaum
“For the community of writers that takes the classes, it’s a satisfying finale of their work,” Rees said.
Rees said Authors Among Us offers a nice amount of exposure for the authors, and for the community at large, it’s a good way to experience a Sunday at Chautauqua. Visitors can sample local literary arts at the book fair and check out the artwork at the Chautauqua Crafts Alliance Show, since the two events overlap in time and location.
This year’s book fair has eight confirmed authors. While the number is down from last year’s event — which Rees said is mostly due to people traveling — it just means that it’ll be a “more intimate circle.”
Rees said seeing the interactions between authors is exciting for her, and that Authors Among Us offers a good way to get people reading books by local writers. She said the relaxed setting helps with this.
“These are just ordinary people who have written a lot and now have their books published,” Rees said. “There’s a nice ‘You can do it, too’ type of energy.”
It also means Rees gets to draw on her past career as a flight attendant, which she said has given her some experience with getting people organized, encouraged and comfortable.
“I’m a people person, so my favorite part is roaming around and chatting with the authors, ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ and encouraging people to come see us,” Rees said.
The book fair is also a reminder of why people should read the work of local authors, Rees said, because it can be surprising how far the work can reach.
“I think it’s good to read local authors and see how expanded your world can be,” Rees said. “You can live here, but write beyond.”