Books in Bloom celebrates art of literature May 20

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Books in Bloom Festival returns to Eureka Springs from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 20, at the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa.

What started 15 years ago as the idea for a modest garden party to celebrate the connection between people who write books and the people who read them has grown into a much-anticipated event that brings renowned authors from all over the country to speak and read from their work.

"With every festival, our goal is to present the public with a virtual bouquet of accomplished and amazing writers," said Jean Elderwind, co-chair of the event. "We try to find a balance of topics and genres so†there is something for everyone to enjoy."

The setting for the festival is the lush gardens of the historic Crescent Hotel and Spa. Bright white tents, book cover pennants and fresh flowers all add to the festive atmosphere. All afternoon, authors speak in the conservatory overlooking the gardens, or in the authorís tent set among the flowers. Authors preside over their booths to greet fans and sign books when not presenting.

This yearís literary guests include Lisa See, Marcus Sakey, Deborah Crombie and Lisa Wingate in the conservatory and Anita Paddock, Trenton Lee Stewart, Mohja Kahf, Martin Philip, Amanda McKinney, Kent Bonar, Michel Stone, Susan Ericksen and David Welky in the authors tent.

Lisa See is traveling from the West Coast to talk about her experience as the descendant of Chinese immigrants, and how family and tradition colors her fiction. Martin Philip will return to the Ozarks from his current home in Vermont to share his experiences in becoming a master baker after giving up a career in finance.

Kent Bonar, a foremost expert of Ozark flora, will speak about his decades-long quest to discover and catalog the trees and plants of Newton County. Deborah Crombie will describe how a girl from Texas has become famous for her police procedurals set in Great Britain.

Marcus Sakey is an author in the midst of a meteoric rise, seeing each novel he's written zoom to the top of bestsellers lists and snapped up by filmmakers. Lisa Wingate is a master storyteller who is inspired by true life events and weaves them into compelling tales.

Books in Bloom is a free event, produced by the Carroll and Madison Public Library Foundation, and made possible by an array of generous sponsors and the festival underwriter, The 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa. The festival takes place rain or shine, moving into the hotel lobby and veranda if needed.

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