FREE Harrisburg Book Festival celebrate authors, illustrators and storytelling this weekend

Leslie Penkunas//October 3, 2019

FREE Harrisburg Book Festival celebrate authors, illustrators and storytelling this weekend

Leslie Penkunas//October 3, 2019

From Thursday, October 3 through Sunday, October 6, Midtown Scholar Bookstore will host the seventh annual Harrisburg Book Festival. Free and open to the public, the festival will feature authors, children’s book illustrators, emerging novelists and acclaimed historians. And on Saturday morning, the festival will host two special storytimes with celebrated children’s book authors and illustrators.

On Saturday, October 5 at 10 a.m., New York Times bestselling author and illustrator Vashti Harrison will hold a storytime and read from her two bestsellers, Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, and Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World. After her readings, Harrison will take the main stage to demonstrate her drawing techniques.  Following the demonstration, Harrison will sign copies of her books Little Leaders, Little Dreamers, Hair Love, Festival of Colors, and Cece Loves Science (books to be signed must be purchased from must be purchased from Midtown Scholar).

At 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jonathan Stutzman and Heather Fox, the author and illustrator, respectively, of Llama Destroys the World, will read from their new picture book.

Other activities scheduled for the book festival:

On Thursday, October 3 at 7 p.m., author Alison Feeney, author of For the Love of Beer: Pennsylvania’s Breweries, will participate in a discussion moderated by representatives from Zero Day Brewery and Millworks. There will be a book signing and – for those ages 21 and older — beer samples following the discussion.

WITF’s Smart Talk with Scott LaMar will air live from the festival Friday morning at 9 a.m. with Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Eric Foner discussing how guarantees in the Constitution have been shaken over time.

The festival’s keynote address, slated for 7 p.m. on Friday, will be delivered by Isha Sesay, author of Beneath the Tamarind Tree, which details the April 2014 abduction of 276 girls from Chibok, Nigeria by the militant Islamic group Boko Haram.

In addition to the children’s special storytimes on Saturday, there are several events scheduled for the afternoon and evening. At 12 p.m. Rainbow Plant Life blogger and author Nisha Vora will prepare a recipe from her new cookbook, The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook: Wholesome, Indulgent Plant-Based Recipes. After the demonstration, there will be a free tasting of two recipes from the cookbook, followed by a book signing.

There will be readings and discussions at 4 by Andrew Shaffer, author of Hope Never Dies and his newest novel, Hope Rides Again; and Ian Doescher and Jacopo della Quercia, authors of MacTrump; and at 4:30 p.m. by Joanne Ramos, author of The Farm; and R.O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries.  (See the website for details).

On Saturday evening, Stephen Chbosky—author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which was made into a film written and directed by Chbosky and starring Emma Watson—will read from his newest novel, Imaginary Friend. An ‘epic work of literary horror,’ the story takes place in Mill Grove, Pennsylvania.

The last day of the festival will feature Tea Obreht, author of The Tiger’s Wife and Inland, discussing her award-winning novels and the art of storytelling at 2 p.m. And at 5 p.m., award-winning authors Ibram X. Kendi (author of How to Be an Anti-Racist) and Imani Perry (author of Breathe: A letter to my sons) will discuss new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other.

All festival activities are free and open to the public and will take place at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore, 1302 N. Third St., Harrisburg.