Tuesday, May 22, 2012

2012 South Carolina Book Fesitval

Wonderful.  That is the best word I can use to describe the 16th Annual South Carolina Book Festival.  I had so much fun and got to a chance to meet (and re-meet) some wonderful authors during this two day event in Columbia.  

After waking up early Saturday morning and driving about an hour an a half to the Capital City, I arrive at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.  And the first person I see when I arrived is Kwame Alexander.  And he notices that I'm wearing my Capital Bookfest tee.  I also met with my friend Valinda (who was volunteering at the festival) at the door and she took pictures.  For those who have seen these pictures on my Facebook page realize that I am not smiling in that one.  When Valinda took the other picture, it looks like I'm frowning. But I was getting ready to smile when she took that picture.

After greeting Kwame, Valinda and I went to see Kimberla Lawson Roby.  She talked about her new book The Reverend's Wife (which I've already read - and need to do a review), plans to keep the Curtis Black series going (her husband told her if Victor Newman's been doing it for 30 years, Curtis can too) and future books (one in January, a Curtis Black novel next May and back to Alicia Black in 2014).  There is also talk on bringing Curtis and his family on the big screen. Afterwards, she signed books and greeted us all.

Valinda with Kimberla

After Kimberla's talk, Valinda tells me that I should meet the authors representing Strebor Books (Zane's publishing company). There I met Zane's sister Charmaine Parker, Allison Hobbs, Suzetta Perkins and Shamara Ray.  They were all very nice and I was so glad to meet them!

Suzetta, Shamara, me, Charmaine and Allison

I caught the tail end of the Powerful Nonfiction panel featuring Andrew Skerritt.  His book, Ashamed to Die, has been on my radar for a while, since it deals with AIDS in a South Carolina community.  When we met and he found out I was from Charleston, he said that he wants to speak in Charleston and visit the city! Hopefully we can make that happen!

Tyora Moody, me and Stephanie L. McKenny

With Karissa Thomas
During lunchtime, while many people went to to the first Pat Conroy session, I went to look around at the booths, which are mostly independent book publishers, book sellers selling "antique" books and independent authors.  I met South Carolina residents Tyora Moody and Stephanie McKenny, who had a booth together. Both of their books have popped up on my radar so I was interested in meeting them.  They were so nice!  I also meet Karissa Thomas. Her books are about life skills and self-improvement. I really like her message!

Erika Marks and Miranda Parker at their panel
I attended the First Novels panel to support Twitter friend/Facebook friend/fellow member of the Shemar Moore fan club Miranda Parker.  All three authors talked about their books and the writing process.  Miranda said that she was contacted by her publisher after her work was entered into a contest. Now she is about to release her second novel next month. It was great seeing her again after meeting her at the National Book Club Conference.  I also met the other authors on the panel (Ann Hite and Erika Marks) and got their books too (Little Gale Gumbo had been on my radar).

Miranda and I

I got my books signed by Zane before she took the stage.  She talked about how she got into publishing, her career, plans for the future (including a new show on Cinemax, publishing more authors under Strebor, screenwriting and coming out with Chocolate Flava 3).  And Addicted is going to be a movie!  Some brave soul asked Zane about 50 Shades of Gray.  She responded that this is not the first time that erotica has been mainstream but is glad for its success.

After meeting Eric Jerome Dickey (and giving him a huge hug, because I was so excited meeting him - true fan moment #giggles) after Zane's talk, Valinda and I hung out with Women Empowered By Books (WEBB) Book Club out of St. Helena's Island (outside of Beaufort).  We had great time talking about all kinds of stuff! Thanks ladies! And a shout-out to For Sisters Only Book Club out of Spartanburg for the great conversation while we waited for Zane.

Sunday started out with Eric Jerome Dickey in action.  He read from his new book An Accidental Affair (which I am reading right now). And for those who want to know about Gideon (like I do!), Eric said that he will bring him back after the next book.  His love of travel is shown throughout his novels and he admits that he like to stay away from the tourist areas and explore where the people live. And don't you see the big smile of my face! (#giggles)

Next up was Pat Conroy! He was on a panel with three of his best friends (who all wrote books).  It was interesting, to say the least. I stood in line for about an hour waiting to meet him (it was worst the day before, where they had to cut people off at closing - he signed for three hours).   He was very nice and loved the fact that I was from Charleston.  I also got to meet Wiley Cash, whose book A Land More Kind Than Home, has been getting great reviews. I looked around the exhibit hall one more time before I headed back home.

This was my third time attended the SC Book Festival (I attended in '07 and '10) and this was the best time I've had. The organizers did a wonderful job of having activities for people of all ages and colors.  I will be definitely attending this event again and will encourage more of my friends to come!


  1. Girl, you need to write a book. I'll promote you. You are good!! Great and outstanding blog!!

    1. Thanks! You will be my unoffical publicist when I get that book done (may be one day).

  2. Great Job Maya! I'm sorry I missed it this year. I'll try to make it next year if it doesn't fall on dance recital weekend or race weekend. You are the best. I have Ashamed to Die on my radar and will add it to the fishbowl.

    1. Thanks Cat! It used to be during the month of February, but they changed it to May last year.

  3. Maya, it was wonderful to meet you and thank you so much for being so supportive of our panel! It was my first time at the Festival and I feel so fortunate. It was truly an honor to connect with readers like yourself. I hope to see you at next year's Festival! Erika

    1. Thanks Erika! It was nice meeting you too! I look forward to reading Little Gale Gumbo and will be on the lookout for your new book in October!