Blog: Gene Alloway, Robin Agnew, & Bill Castanier

"The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read," -Thomas Jefferson.
Add the organizers of Kerrytown's Bookfest to this week's list of recommended reads. Gene Alloway, Robin Agnew, and Bill Castanier will survey Ann Arbor's literary and book arts community and the city's book shop culture.

Gene Alloway - Opening Up the Book Festival

This past weekend, the Kerrytown BookFest had its 8th incarnation. Over 30 authors and other presenters attended, along with over 95 vendors and over 3,500 visitors. Like any festival, books were bought, authors and illustrators were asked how they do their magic, children learned new crafts, and friends new and old explored a part of Ann Arbor cu nearly as old as the city itself.

But in those similarities, the Kerrytown Bookfest is different in an important way. We highlight the authors, illustrators, book artists, publishers, printers, and readers in our region of Michigan and Northern Ohio and Indiana. Thanks to the original foresight of Tom and Cindy Hollander and the Kerrytown District, we have been able to tap into the vast creative history and activity of our region for nearly a decade.

As electronic books and readers grab headlines, perhaps some see book festivals as the last honors of a passing era. We don't. We view books and the community that creates, shapes, produces and shares them as one of the most vital in our region. Great authors, great libraries, great publishers, and the quiet, persistent book workers, artists, and printers thrive here, nourished by our ongoing history and community with books. We do honor the printed book, but more importantly, we honor those people and organizations who spent years shaping Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the surrounding area through books. We also share with visitors the efforts, the art and craft, the inspiration, and the sheer determination it takes to keep our book culture vibrant.

That culture is deeper than many think. We have a wealth of award winning authors, poets, playwrights, illustrators, artists, and book workers. We also have publishers who gave voice to banned authors and helped create important works of art and learning. We have bookshops that are respected by international collectors and scholars. We have innovative printers, large and small, who have improved and expanded the art of the printed word. We also have renowned university and public libraries that house treasures unique in the world, and treasures that bring the world, one book at a time, to the young and those hungry for knowledge among us.

And we've had them for over one hundred and fifty years.

So what does the future hold for books and the Kerrytown BookFest? Discovery and community. There remains a great future for the printed and bound book, both as a useful technology and a work of art. We will continue to support efforts toward that end, and to present themes that highlight important and exciting parts of our book arts community. With our sponsors, other organizations, and the many book people in our area we will do our best to create a space where discovery and wonder and learning can occur. We will do all we can to grow that community further into its next century. Most of all, we hope you'll join us.