By ANDREW PAXTON
The fifth annual Tucson Festival of Books on March 9-10 promises a fun-filled weekend for bibliophiles of all ages.
The festival brings authors and writers from across the country to the University of Arizona campus for workshops, book signings, literary activities and more than 275 exhibitor displays.
As the fourth-largest book festival in the country, it is expected to draw more than 100,000 people.
More than 1,800 volunteers are needed to ensure success, in areas ranging from giving directions to escorting authors. Anyone interested in helping should visit tucsonfestivalofbooks.org for details.
Some 450 authors from every genre imaginable will discuss their writings, answer questions and sign their latest works.
One highlight will be appearances by R.L. Stine, the author best known for his bestselling “Goosebumps” series.
Check the festival website for listings of all authors.
For the first time, this year’s festival featured a Literacy Awards Competition.
The contest was organized by Meg Files, an accomplished author who doubles as Pima Community College’s English and journalism chair at West Campus.
“The festival has always been about books, but we wanted to go all-out and bring writers into the fold as well,” Files said. She believes the addition will help the festival develop prestige and attract even more exhibitors and participants.
More than 300 authors and poets from across the country submitted works of fiction, nonfiction and prose. Winners received cash prizes, including $1,000 for the top award in each category.
Several of those honored are from Tucson, and many have connections to Pima.
David Munro, who won second place in the fiction category, taught at West Campus. Craig Reinbold, runner-up for non-fiction, and Shelly Taylor, third place for poetry, both currently work at Pima. Linda Brewer, a former PCC student, won third place in the fiction category.
The top three writers have been invited to speak in a panel discussion at the festival on March 9. Among them is Tucsonan Parke Cooper, who finished first in the fiction category with “How to Not Regret It: A Step-by-Step Guide in Six Routines.”
Aspiring writers will have many opportunities to attend workshops hosted by authors. Topics range from creating characters (“Peace, Love and Understanding: Families in Fiction”) to blending genres (“History in Fiction”) and beyond (“Buried Secrets).
Despite the name, the festival offers much more than books. Science City will feature numerous demonstrations and workshops, including robotic displays, environmental presentations, astronomy expositions and animals from the Sonoran Desert Museum.