Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Novello Festival of Reading in Charlotte October 9th!

This weekend in Charlotte NC is a Tribute to Novello Festival of Reading!  Here's the info on my panel, Saturday October 9th:

1:15 p.m. Young Adult
Carrie Ryan: Dead-Tossed Waves, Forest of Hands & Teeth
Karon Luddy: Spelldown
Joyce Hostetter: Comfort, Blue, Healing Water

I have a very deep love for the Novello Festival.  For those of you who don't live in Charlotte (or for those who do and didn't know about Novello), it's a festival put on by the Charlotte/Mecklenburg library system (PLCMC) that began in 1991 (this would have been the 20th anniversary) and, as its name implies, is a festival that celebrates reading.

I first heard about it in 2007.  The day after I sold my book to Delacorte Press I found out that Libbra Bray, another Delacorte author, would be one of the guests at Novello and that it was happening that weekend -- less than a week after my deal went through.  I couldn't believe my luck!  So my husband and I both went down to hear her speak and nervously, I stood in line to meet her and I introduced myself and told her I'd just sold to the same house she wrote for.

ZvU - even back in 2007!
She leapt up, gave me a hug, signed my book (yay team zombie!) and I walked on air for weeks after.  It's hard to explain how awe-filled that moment was for me -- I'm such a huge fan of Libba's writing and I spent half of the festival staring at her and thinking, "One day, that could be me! I could be on a stage talking about my books!  One day, I'll have a book on the shelves people might ask me to sign."  And of course Libba was so funny and gracious and flat out awesome... she was so welcoming to me as a brand new author.

I always remember that feeling -- how full I was on the absolute joy of that day at Novello.

So I was upset when I learned that, because of budget cuts, Novello had been cut from the PLCMC budget.  I wasn't surprised by the news -- I'd seen the signs, library budgets all over the country are being slashed and all told, a festival can be expensive and perhaps that money could go to keeping a library open one more hour or day a week -- a service desperately needed.

Luckily, there are people in Charlotte who were unwilling to let Novello go.  Who very smartly realized that there's a difference between reviving something that's mostly dead rather than all the way dead.  They decided that when the economy gets better it would be easier to say "hey, can we allocate a little bit more to this existing program?" rather than "hey, can we restart this program that had to be cut?"

A professor with UNC Charlotte, Mark West, and a former librarian and owner of Black Forest Books and Toys, Pat Siegfried, worked tirelessly to put together a Tribute to Novello to keep the tradition going.  Authors chipped in their time and hopefully the Charlotte community will turn out and prove how important it is to keep events like this going.

When all is said and done, I feel so amazingly honored to be part of the Novello tradition.  Three years ago, mere days after signing my first book deal, I dreamed of this moment.  I feel so amazingly lucky that it's coming true.


Amy McNelis said...

Cannot wait to meet you at Novello tomorrow, Carrie! I will be facilitating your panel. I was lucky enough to teach one of Pat's employees a few years ago and I now teach June's son (her partner in the toy section of the store).

Hopefully you could visit my school sometime. What a treat that would be...we are Trinity Christian tiny that our library is MY CLASSROOM!

My favorite Novello moment was meeting Pat Conroy. Never forget that.

Love your blog.

amy mcnelis

nothankyou said...

typical for things like this to be happening when i'm OUT of town. (i live in Charlotte, too)

Let us know if you'll be doing anything else around here soon :) I'd love to meet a fellow YA author. (and an experienced one at that, since i'm a noob in the published world!)