Yesterday, I got an email that Blair Underwood is coming to one of the Books A Million in Columbia on next Tuesday (May 25). He is promoting his new book From Cape Town With Love from the Tennyson Hardwick series, which I love. But that has me wondering: Why aren't the African American authors coming to Charleston anymore?
At one time, they did. A lot of them came to the Books A Million at Northwoods Mall. Several years ago, I remember standing in line to meet E. Lynn Harris when I Said A Little Prayer came out. I also remember meeting Essie Mae Washington-Williams and Omar Tyree (who was happy to sign my first edition copy of Flyy Girl). But sometime last year, it all stopped. In recent months, I have received emails about book events, but they all have been out of town.
I do admit that I have met a lot of authors, but also a lot of the time I've had to travel to meet them. I have met some during the South Carolina Book Festival in Columbia. I have also met authors when I went to my sorority's convention two years ago. But not everyone is willing to to drive. And not everyone is in a sorority.
I hope the Capital Bookfest will change this. The first major book festival in Charleston will be coming in November and is bringing more than 50 authors and 80 vendors to the Lowcountry. I got some details about it two months ago and it sounds like it will be a huge event.
There are also book festivals that are coming to Charlotte and Columbia later this year. But I hope that the people of Charleston come out and support this event. I feel that if we don't, we will be loosing out of more literary events and buying gas to see them somewhere else.