Spring – Time for the Virginia Festival of the Book!

If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, the Vernal Equinox (aka Spring) begins at 0114 Tuesday, March 20. My Celtic ancestors called it Ostara (in truth, the Christians may have “borrowed” that name and turned it into Easter) and celebrated the fact it was time to plant, that the earth was being reborn. Anyone who has watched the daffodils and crocuses pop up lately, it indeed seems like a rebirth.

For writers, it can mean emerging from our dark, wintery writing caves into a world of light and inspiration. Yeah, that may be pushing it. As I was weeding my flower bed yesterday, I wasn’t inspired at all.

There is a spring event–and I’m sure this was planned–that will kick-start your winter-dulled writing senses, and that’s the Virginia Festival of the Book (VFTB). From March 21 – 25, not just Virginia writers will come to Charlottesville, VA, to celebrate “The Book.” I can’t think of a better way to start off the Spring. And, with the exception of several lunches with speakers, it’s free.

Once again, much like the multiple panel choices at AWP three weeks ago, I have a busy schedule of indulging my love of books and writing for four days.

VFTB offers something for everyone–from the fledgling scribbler to the established author, for poetry fanatics, lovers of historical fiction, writers of creative non-fiction and history. The list approaches being endless. If you click on the link above, you can scroll through the schedule for each day and see I’m not exaggerating. I’ll have to pack snacks and water, because I haven’t left myself much time for lunch.

These panels are not particularly craft-focused, as in a “how to” workshop, though hearing the publishing stories of panel members and how they approach writing is certainly instructive–and inspiring.

Then, there’s the book fair. Truthfully, I can’t add many more books to my shelves until I winnow and donate to the local library, but that never stops me. Where the AWP Book Fair seemed to focus on small press publishers and literary magazines, the VFTB Book Fair is wonderfully eclectic–there’s something for everyone. Just expect to exceed your book-purchasing budget for the year.

I like the fact that something that celebrates books–and by association, their writers–is free. VFTB is produced by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, a non-profit organization, which provides grants and funding for educational and cultural activities around the Commonwealth. I’m not affiliated with either organization, other than as a citizen of the Commonwealth who benefits from their work, but I’ll still make a pitch for donations. I want the VFTB to be around for my book-loving grandchildren to enjoy.

I’m sure most every state has something similar to VFTB, but as a true Virginian (i.e., born here) I have to brag on this one. Try it. You’ll love it.

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