By: Taylor Roberts ~Staff Writer~
Literature lovers gathered on Oct. 17 in downtown Cincinnati for the ninth annual Books by the Banks Book Festival hosted by the Duke Energy Convention Center. More than 150 authors and 5,000 guests attended the free event presented by Ohio Humanities. “That’s the most authors we’ve ever had so it’s kind of a record year for us which is exciting,” Adam Baker, marketing committee co-chair for Books by the Banks, said in an interview with the Enquirer.
For the first time, the event held a short story contest that offered 12 cash prizes totaling $4,900 for first, second and third places in fiction and creative nonfiction categories for teen and adults. Books by the Banks, one of the biggest and most prestigious events of its kind in the Midwest, featured writers in various categories, including fiction, non-fiction, cooking, children’s literature, local travel, sports and more.
Nationally known authors such as Rainbow Rowell, Sharon M. Draper, Anthony Marra, Cleary Wolters, Tad Hills, and James and Kimberly Dean joined local favorites Will Hillenbrand, Molly Wellmann and Paul Daugherty to celebrate the joy of writing and reading books.
“The best part of Books by the Banks was being surrounded by people who share the same love of literature that I do. Also, meeting two of my favorite authors and getting my books signed by them was quite the highlight,” Claire O’Malley, an attendee from Anderson Township, said. The event also included a variety of fun activities and entertainment for children, teenagers and adults along with sponsor booths and an onsite bookstore from Joseph Beth Booksellers.
“It is important to host literary events like this because we have to foster a love of reading in the community. It’s more important than ever to get people of all ages excited about books,” O’Malley said. In addition to inspiring guests of all ages to read, the festival featured author panels and discussions for patrons. The popular “Writing & Getting Published” series returned this year with panel discussions covering hot topics for writers and workshops to help hone the craft of writing. “Writers are the eyes and ears of our culture. They keep wonder and curiosity alive,” story guru, screenwriter and documentary producer Bobette Buster said.
Buster is both a graduate of and Adj. Professor in the University of Southern California Peter Stark Producing Program. She is the author of Do Story — How to Tell Your Story so the World Listens, written in 2013. For more information about the Books by the Banks Book Festival, visit http://booksbythebanks. org/.