HomeCommunity NewsBurbank Book Festival Ready to Bind Readers, Creators

Burbank Book Festival Ready to Bind Readers, Creators

By Jackson Tammarielo

Burbank Leader

There’s good news for book lovers and aspiring writers — a group of local authors are organizing to bring the first annual Burbank Book Festival this fall.

The “cozy and celebratory” festival will be held at Three Sisters Coffee and Tea on Saturday, Aug. 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The page-turning event will feature 20 authors covering a wide range of genres including young adult fiction, romance, comic books and poetry.

Attendees can expect shelves with extra stocks of books for purchase and meet a rotating host of authors every hour to sign books and chat over coffee and scones. “Bookish goods” will also be sold, including tote bags, notebooks, coffee mugs and other arts and crafts for kids, which Isler said is just in time for the beginning of the new school year.

Festival co-founder Emily Barth Isler said that the festival is a multi-dimensional community building event between readers, writers and everyone in between.

“Everybody will have something to talk about, because even if you don’t know anyone there, you can talk about ‘what book are you buying,’ and ‘did you get it signed?’” Isler said.

Isler and co-founder Erin La Rosa originally floated the idea of a small book signing event for just the two of them. They thought of inviting a few fellow authors, but as they brought in more and more colleagues, they realized there was potential for a larger event.

“I think Erin knew five or six people, and I knew five or six people. So we thought, ‘oh, you know, maybe we’ll get 10 people,’ and now we have twice that confirmed,” Isler said.

Their hope is that this will be the first of many more Burbank book festivals. Though the first event will be limited to local and traditionally published authors, they hope that with a bigger venue and more support, independent authors and writers of other literary genres can join them in the future.

“We knew we were going to have to keep things small enough that we could handle all of the details and all the scheduling and everything,” Isler said. “But it’s been delightful to see how many people want to volunteer and get involved and that’s going to allow us to grow.”

Amy Spaulding, who writes young adult and romance novels, said she is excited to meet both avid readers of her books and others who might pick one up for the first time. “We spend so much time alone in front of our computers, it’s great to be around one another in real life,” Spaulding said.

Reading books has become — or rather, returned to become — a valued and important activity in the post-COVID world, said Isler, who writes middle-grade fiction. She added that it can help readers feel seen, especially children, and serve as a conversation starter for tough subjects.

“Kids are so hungry to talk about hard things, and oftentimes parents and teachers don’t know where to start the conversation, and kids don’t have the vocabulary necessary to ask the questions,” she said. She added that books have the “incredible opportunity” of being a common language between children and adults to start those conversations.

Author Jennifer Chen, who writes young adult romance and fiction, hopes that the festival will inspire readers and writers alike to further their love of reading and creating.

“We are such a diverse wonderful array of artists,” Chen said. “My grand dream is that someone opens an independent bookstore in the heart of Magnolia Park that can be a gathering place and event space.”

Those interested in learning more about the Burbank Book Festival and its authors can visit burbankbookfestival.com or @burbankbookfest on Instagram.

The inaugural Burbank Book Festival, featuring 20 authors, is coming to Three Sisters Coffee and Tea on Saturday, Aug. 10.

First published in the June 22 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

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