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posted: 9/25/2013 12:18 PM

Glen Ellyn's Bookfest celebrates reading

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These are the themes of Glen Ellyn's fourth annual Bookfest Saturday, Sept. 28, and the featured speaker fits it to a tee. New York Times best-selling author Ayana Mathis, a former waitress from Brooklyn, will discuss her debut novel "The Twelve Tribes of Hattie."

The book, set against The Great Migration when 6 million African-Americans migrated north from the Jim Crow south, was selected as Oprah Winfrey's first novel for her Book Club 2.0. Mathis, a graduate of the University of Iowa's writer's workshop, will speak at 2:30 p.m. on the second floor of the library with a book signing to follow.

"It's great to have an author come in and tell you what their inspiration is, maybe read a passage," library Director Dawn Bussey said. "A lot of people can identify with being a first-time novelist. It's fun to celebrate books and the minds behind them."

The event, presented by the library, the Bookstore and Bundles of Books is a daylong literary festival for readers and writers alike with author events, book signings and interactive book-themed programming.

"It's a celebration of books," said Amy Franco, the library's adult programming librarian. "There's tons of information for first-time writers and also so much for people who just like to read, people who enjoy books and want to find out what's coming next."

Free and open to the public, Bookfest kicks off at 9:30 a.m. with the PitchFest at the library. The fast-paced program gives prospective novelists 60 seconds to persuade an audience that their book should be the next read.

Book-loving kids can try venturing over to The Bookstore, where Matthew Cordell, a Chicago-based illustrator and author of children's books will read from his latest books at 10 a.m.

The celebration of books continues with the author trade show, where local authors will discuss their writing careers and share their books with interested readers. An author luncheon panel will follow with Mathis and other writers and literary agents from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at The Village Links of Glen Ellyn Club House. Hopeful writers can hear about experiences in writing and publishing and acquaint themselves with people who might be supportive in their writing adventures.

Tickets for the luncheon are $20.

"We've tried to design this event so there is something for everybody," Franco said. "If you are thinking about writing a book and putting pen to paper, there's something for you. If you just like reading books, there's something for you at this event."

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