Virtual Buckeye Book Fair Highlights Ohio Authors, Promotes Literacy


More than 100 authors in the spotlight this year

WOOSTER – When the Buckeye Book Fair became a virtual event, Executive Director Julia Wiesenberg found a silver lining.

The annual event has accelerated its schedule by offering more online programs hosted by authors in Ohio.

Attendees can find a number of programs ranging from character writing workshops to insider writing tips for young authors between November 6 and 15 on the Buckeye Book Fair website. Online book sales began on Friday and will run until the end of November.

Buckeye Book Fair presents an annual multi-day festival each year in Wooster during the first week of November. The Book Fair is a fundraiser for the Buckeye Authors’ Book Fair Committee, Inc. and its literacy award programs. Since its inception, the association has distributed over $ 200,000 in books.

This year’s Book Festival features 115 Ohio authors and illustrators on a virtual platform.

“Besides the fact that it can’t be in person, it will look a lot like the traditional book fair,” Wiesenberg said. “This year we have more programs and more authors because we have no space limitations as this is a virtual event.”

Virtual book fair

The Buckeye Book Fair is traditionally held in the Fisher Auditorium of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center Library.

The decision was made to switch to an online platform due to security and logistical concerns with compliance with social distancing and other COVID-19 guidelines, Wiesenberg said. Hosting an in-person event would drastically reduce the number of people who could attend the book fair, she said.

Authors should be more dispersed and the number of visitors should be reduced to 50% of the auditorium’s capacity, Wiesenberg said. The event typically attracts 2,500 people, she said.

With ever-changing restrictions and guidelines, she added, it was in the event’s best interest to get to the web.

While the preparations were pretty much the same, Wiesenberg said, there was the added element of organizing the technology to ensure that the virtual programs run smoothly.

She estimates that there are four times as many programs as in previous years.

“We felt there was an opportunity there, although our preference would definitely be to have an in-person event,” said Wiesenberg. “We’re finding ways to provide new opportunities this year rather than limitations, and it’s really fun.”

Ashland-area author Dandi Daley Mackall, who has published more than 500 books, said she was happy to hear that the book fair is still taking place. She has been participating in the event for over 30 years and has seen children grow up and come back with their own children.

Mackall draws his inspiration from his surroundings. Her first book published in 1979, and her writing followed her three children as they grew older. Mackall wrote children’s books when they were young, switched to chapter books, and then began to delve into adult fiction. The local author has a variety of published works for all ages.

Mackall will lead a few programs, including Insider Writing Tips: Young Authors Writing Workshop and Kids Book Showcase.

Her husband, Joe Mackall, is also a published author attending the event.

“(Wiesenberg) really expanded the workshops and the programs,” Mackall said. “I think it’s a great addition.… I think (these workshops) are an inspiration to them and to us. I love listening to the kids.”

According to the Buckeye Book Fair, proceeds from the event go to the Literacy Awards program, which supports Ohio reading programs, Ohio public and community libraries, and school librarians and teachers. from Ohio. Each literacy scholarship recipient has a special project using books written by and about people in Ohio.

The Wooster-Orrville NAACP received $ 500 to donate black-themed children’s books to the seven branches of the Wayne County Public Library.

A grand total of $ 2,000 in grants was awarded to six Ohio schools, libraries and literacy programs. According to the Buckeye Book Fair, with this year’s prizes, over $ 222,468 will have been handed out.

Promote Ohio Authors

The Buckeye Book Fair has a unique and twofold mission, said Wiesenberg.

The organization supports Ohio authors and the literary arts. It also supports reading and literacy as an educational imperative, she said. The Buckeye Book Fair and its literacy awards program bring these two missions together, Wiesenberg said.

“The way we can bring these goals together so easily is that all literacy projects use writers from Ohio and everything the organization does uses writers from Ohio,” she said.

Wooster resident and recently published author Jeannine Love has frequently attended the Buckeye Book Fair after moving to the area 20 years ago.

The art historian will take part in the book fair for the first time this year.

Although Love has written various articles and reviews, her first book was published in June. The non-fiction book – titled “Cleveland Architecture 1890-1930: Building the City Beautiful” – takes a look at architecture in an era marked by the post-Civil War and the onset of the First World War.

Love was disappointed to learn that the book fair would be virtual, but praised Wiesenberg’s efforts to create an organized and seamless book fair.

“I hope he can still be in person as he did in the past, as I was really looking forward to meeting and discussing people interested in the subject of my book,” Love said. “I thought it would be a lot of fun.”

Wiesenberg said participants will be able to ask questions of the authors at any time using the chat features or can submit questions via Survey monkey. People can register for virtual events before the book away. once we know the audience size, we’ll see where we can set up interactive sessions.

“One-on-one interaction is the hardest thing to do this year,” Wiesenberg said.

Mystery and adventure author Bob Adamov has been writing fiction since 2001. The Wooster resident said he is always on the lookout for ideas and enjoys linking historical events to fictional stories.

Adamov will present “Assateague Dark”, his latest installment in Adamov’s Emerson Moore thriller series about a Put-in-Bay-based investigative journalist. He attended the Buckeye Book Fair for at least five years.

The book fair attracts a large number of readers and allows those readers to interact with their favorite authors and meet new ones, he said. While the event is a little different this year as it takes place virtually, Adamov is confident in the committee’s ability to host the online book fair.

“It’s nice that with all of these other canceled events they’ve found a way to move forward and produce the Buckeye Book Fair this year,” he said.

Contact Samantha at 330-287-1626

Email: [email protected]

On Twitter: @SamanthaKIckes

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