So…what is a book festival, anyway?

We get two questions a lot: what is the Reader Riot?, to which we answer it’s a book festival, and then we’re immediately asked, what do you do at a book festival? After that, we get asked, how much does it cost?

Let me tackle that last one first–it’s FREE! Just come by the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library, the hub of the festival, and get your book on!

Now, onto the other two questions. Since the Reader Riot is the first book festival the Shoals has ever hosted, we want to make sure that we’re perfectly clear on what’s going to be happening and why you should be totally excited for it.

Meet our featured authors, buy their books, get them signed! (The books, not the authors!)

Probably the biggest draw of a book festival is actually getting to meet authors you may not have a chance to meet otherwise. And we mean meet them. Sure, our featured guests will be doing talks in front of audiences, but afterward, you will get to talk with them and have real, legit conversations.

You can buy their books and get them signed (which is never a bad thing to have in your personal library), but more than that, you will have a memento of personal time you spent with writers you adore and may have never been able to connect with on a personal level if it weren’t for the Reader Riot. You’re welcome.

You’ll want to get caught in this alley…

Plus–plus!–there will be a whole Author’s Alley bazaar set up where you can make friends with oodles of other authors and artists and craftspeople and presses and publishers. Between sessions from our featured guests, make sure you head over and stock up on some goodies here.

Strike up a conversation with a sci-fi author about the future of technology, or with a local historian about how the Civil War affected the area, or maybe with a romance author who can give you some tips on how to make the apple of your eye swoon.

Eat until you pop!

We’re Southern, and that means we love food. The Reader Riot is not going to let you down. We’ll have food vendors set up during the festival so you can grab a bite, head to Author’s Alley or to a featured guest’s event, or even just plop down under a tree and enjoy the deliciousness and get your belly full with a book in your hand.

Do something fun! Activities are everywhere!

The Reader Riot is not a stuffy atmosphere. It’s not boring, and even though it’s put on by a library, we sure aren’t gonna shush you. We want you to be excited about books and authors you’re going to get to meet.

But meeting authors is just the beginning. So during the festival, we will have tons of activities for you to participate in, no matter how old you are. We are going to be set up with activities geared for children, teens, and adults, so you will definitely be kept busy.

What sort of activities, you ask? We’ll have a kid’s lunch with some of your family’s favorite book characters, a writing workshop with award-winner Watt Key, opportunities to write poetry and decorate the festival grounds with it, and film screenings related to our featured authors, to name just a few things.

So…are you ready to riot?

Sounds like fun, huh? Across the two days of the Reader Riot, we are ready to take care of you. We never want you to have a dull moment, so we’ve scheduled oodles of things to keep you entertained.

And, hey, if that’s not enough stuff for you to get caught up in and keep you busy, we’re always looking for volunteers! (All volunteers get free t-shirts, too! Score!)

Hopefully all that lets you know a bit about what a book festival is and what you can expect from the Reader Riot. And if you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

See you in April!