The first annual Mendo Lit. Fest was a great success, thanks to the hard work and vision of my friend and fellow Ukiah Writers Salonnette, Dot Brovarney! We had a really decent turnout, and it was gratifying to see so many people take the time on a beautiful Saturday morning to come out and share their love of books, writing, and all things literary.
The Mendo. Lit. Fest kicked off with a keynote presentation by bestselling author, Gary Soto, on Friday, June !st. The free activities on Saturday, June 2nd, included panel discussions, book readings, poetry readings, play performances, and wonderful booths by local booksellers.
I began the day with a reading of my book, "Otto's Rainy Day" at the Children's Tent. The children's book readings, unfortunately, had a fairly low turn-out. I only had 3 in mine, and I think the numbers never rose beyond 7. However, the book making activity drew quite a crowd with 17 kids. The writing workshops, though, were very well attended. I co-led "Discovering the Children's Writer in You -- from Idea to Submission"; with Gretchen Maurer, also a Ukiah Writers' Salonette. We initially had 6 people registered. When I arrived at the Lit. Fest, there were 11 on the list. By 1:30 pm., the list had jumped to 20. Eventually, 25 people came to the workshop! Our workshop was at the end of a long day, so thank you to all who came out and participated.
After my workshop, I headed to the Little Theater on the Mendocino College campus to watch the Hot Shorts -- an encore performance of 3 of the ten minute plays that were performed at the New Plays Festival. After a long day, I was ready to sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. However, after the performances, all the directors and writers of the plays at the New Plays Festival, even though they were not performed as part of the Hot Shorts, were called up on stage for a Q & A session with the audience. Great questions, and great fun!
Finally, my day ended with an Author's Reception at a local store where we could sip wine, nosh on pizza, chips and guacamole, and other yummy hor d'ouevres, and hobnob with other writers, and all the volunteers who made this day possible. I'm truly looking forward to next year's Lit. Fest!