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SOU library hosts Ashland Book and Author Festival

The Hannon Library on the Southern Oregon University campus is whisper-quiet right now. Students have fled for the summer. Professors aren't researching for their next lectures. The rotunda is empty of staff figuring out their next moves.

But come Saturday, cover your ears. There will be a flurry of literary, musical and social activity from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the Ashland Book and Author Festival, which will take over all three levels of the library.

More than 65 published authors and many of the region's publishers and small presses will be participating in the free public event.

Throughout the day, writers who specialize in poetry, fiction, nonfiction and even cookbooks will read their work. After each writer's 15-minute speaking segment, he or she will be available to answer questions and sign books.

But, says organizer Paul T. Adalian Jr., this is more than a book sale.

The festival is designed to gather together people who write books, work with books, make books, read books and appreciate books, he says.

Writers interested in a book deal can meet publishers and see how their sample manuscript can be made "distribution-ready" for Kindle, iBooks and Nook by Folium Partners, which has created hundreds of audiobook apps and the self-serve publishing website FoliumBookStudio.com.

Festivalgoers can meet two former punk rockers turned author — Danbert Nobacon of Chumbawamba and Ryan Bradley of several bands — who will read from their adult fairy tales and short stories at 1:45 p.m. in the Digital Media Room.

Or at 11 a.m., book lovers — from Osher Lifelong Learning Institute instructor Barbara Hopfinger to Ashland Mayor John Stromberg and jazz musician Bil Leonhart — will reveal the impact of reading on their lives.

At 3:15 p.m., a mystery fiction writing panel will be led by Edgar Award winners Tim Wohlforth and Bobby Arellano with Clive Rosengren, Justin Hocking and Cher Fischer, who wrote the eco-mystery "Falling into Green."

"Cher Fischer lives in the Bay Area and has a following with fans here and everywhere," says organizer Laurie Baden, who contacted participants for what she believes is the first festival of its kind in the Rogue Valley.

Authors who live in the valley, write about the area or who work with local publishers were invited to present at the festival.

Ashland doctor Bonnie Nedrow will debut her new detox cookbook and Alissa Lukara will speak on how to use writing to heal at a panel discussion that begins at 12:30 p.m.

Writer, editor and publisher Molly B. Tinsley of Fuze will surprise the crowd with her memoir about her parents' health decline. At 1:45 p.m., Tinsley will lead a panel discussion with local publishers from White Cloud Press, Ashland Creek Press and Exterminating Angel Press.

For preschoolers through fourth-graders, there will be storytelling, a special tour of the library at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and an opportunity to meet artists Betty LaDuke and Meera Sensor, whose works are part of the library's permanent art collection.

Sabina Nies, who owns small-scale bookbindery SUN Book Arts in Ashland, will show the children how to make their own books.

"We want children to see what a college library looks like," says Baden, who adds that the Start Making A Reader Today program is participating in the event.

The festival, which is sponsored by the Friends of Hannon Library, is to remind the community that the library is open to the public year round, says Adalian. Librarians will give tours, including a look at the 4,000-year-old cuneiform tablet and Shakespeare's Second and Fourth Folio, published in 1632 and 1685, respectively. Chalk artist Ben Smith, a Southern Oregon University student, is using chalk drawings throughout the campus to help direct people to the Hannon Library.

There will be displays of art books by Demecina Gray, Dale Muir and Nies, and fine art letterpress works by Cathy DeForest. Sophia Bogle of Red Branch Book Restorations will demonstrate the art of book repair and offer free estimates on restoring the public's worn or damaged books.

Performances include Middle Eastern and Chinese music, which Ronnie Malley, who is a member of the music ensemble of Oregon Shakespeare Festival's "The White Snake," will play throughout the event, and a dramatic reading of Shakespearean poetry by Mary Maher and Geoff Ridden starting at 12:30 p.m.

Reach reporter Janet Eastman at 541-776-4465 or jeastman@dailytidings.com.