Book Fair brings the authors

Photo: Steve Taravella, author of Mary Wickes, and Susi Wyss, author of The Civilized World.

BY NAOMI EIDE

Takoma Park Book Fair held its 6th annual book fair, celebrating the work of local authors and publishing houses.

Megan Scribner and Ali Kahn founded the book fair six years ago to help promote their work and the work of other local writers.

“Six years ago we each had a new book out and so we thought, wouldn’t it be great if we could round up all the local authors? Especially because there are so many writers in this area,” Kahn said.

This year’s fair hosted 21 local authors who have published in the last two years. The authors sold, signed their books, discussing their work with patrons. The fair attracts a variety of genres, from nonfiction and biographies to novels.

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Click to see Book Fair poster in a larger size.

“At the fairs, themselves, its just so fun to hear the voices, even when its just the authors talking to each other,” Scribner.

Eventually outgrowing its original venue at Roscoe’s Pizzeria, the Takoma Park Book Fair expanded, increasing attendance, and moved from one space to another to accommodate the growing attendance.

“It has been so homegrown. This is the most established we’ve been,” Scribner said on this year’s fair.

Steve Taravella, an 11-year Takoma Park resident, recently completed his book on Mary Wickes, a comic performer best known as the innkeeper in “White Christmas” or as the choir director in the “Sister Act” movies.

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Merrill Leffler, author of Mark the Music. Photo by Bill Brown

Taravella became involved in the book fair as a way to introduce his book to local residents.

“It’s all about building an audience for your book,” Taravella said. “Takoma Park residents are so wonderful about supporting each other and about wanting to share works produced locally that this was just a natural fit, so it feels really good to be part of this.”

Scribner and Kahn approached Ben Homola, co-owner of Trohv, about using the store as a venue on the recommendation of Old Town Business Association director Laura Barclay.

“Ben has just been so generous with this space and flexible and just wonderful to work with,” Scribner said.

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Authors and attendees mingle at Takoma Park Book Fair. Photo by Naomi Eide

Takoma Park vendors: Capital City Cheesecake, Evolve, La Mano Coffee Bar, Mark’s Kitchen, Middle Eastern Cuisine, Republic, and Takoma Bistro, Morris Miller and S&S Liquors donated food and wine to bolster the community event.

“I think merchants of all sorts who come here have a sense of the uniqueness of this community…so that they’re more likely to want to participate in a community event,” Kahn said.  “Its just an opportunity to sort of express their generosity to do this.”

In addition to local authors, Kahn and Scribner invited Rose Metal Press and Dryad Press, to represent work from local publishers.

Abby Beckel co-founded Rose Metal Press in 2006 as a non-profit to create a space for the publication of unique genres.

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Susan Katz Miller, author of Being Both, chats with fan. Photo by Bill Brown

“We wanted to create a publisher for people doing more innovative work in the literary arts. So we do publish hybrid genres, more like flash fiction, prose poetry, novels in verse, novellas in flash. Things that other, bigger publishers aren’t doing,” Beckel said.

You can find the author’s books online through Amazon.com and at some local bookstores. Homola said Trohv will also have a shelf dedicated to selling the books of the participating book fair authors.

“We already sell tons of local artist’s work already, so throwing books in the mix is no big deal,” Homola said.

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Attendees gather around Janet Hulstrand’s table. Hulstrand is co-author of Moving On. Photo by Bill Brown.

You can follow the Takoma Park Book Fair on Facebook for more information and updates.