Book fest warms up
The folks at the Virginia Festival of the Book and their leader, Rob Vaughan, left, remind us Charlottesville's grandest literary event is just around the corner. The March 21-25 fest will teem with hundreds of writers, and all but four events are free.
Forget about Doug Marlette, host of the opening lunch, and the Crime Wave lunch with Lee Child– those sold out long ago. But you can still schmooze with festival favorites Lee Smith, Hal Crowther, and Waltons creator Earl Hamner, who are hosting the March 24 Authors' Reception at Carr's Hill. Tickets are $25. And the March 21 Business Breakfast with minor-league baseball team owner/author Michael Veeck also has $25 tickets available.
You can see journalism legend Helen Thomas for free; she'll be taking questions March 25. Hamner has a panel March 24 where he'll be discussing his newest book, Generous Women: An Appreciation, with Hook favorite Donna "Archie and Amelie" Lucey. And March 24, Sesame Street's Maria– Sonia Manzano– has two events.
Lots of locals are taking part in this year's festival: Stefan Bechtel, who chronicled Hurricane Camille in Roar of the Heavens, Jim Tucker, who's continuing the work of recently deceased past-life expert Ian Stevenson, former Albemarle magazine editor Martha Woodroof, now a WMRA reporter who's written How to Stop Screwing Up: Twelve Steps to a Real Life and a Pretty Good Time, and Caroline Preston, author of Gatsby's Girl, are just the tip of the literary iceberg.
Preston will open the festival at noon March 21, when the winners of the Hook short story contest chosen by judge John Grisham will be revealed.