A day for books

Three floors of the Hannon Library will be dedicated to the celebration of all things literary today during the second annual Ashland Book and Author Festival.

Local and regional authors, publishers, booksellers and calligraphers will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and workshops and performances are scheduled throughout the day. Attendance and parking are free.

The book festival affords the Hannon Library a chance to show off its collections, including Shakespeare's Second Folio and Fourth Folio. Library dean Paul Adalian said the folios drew the largest crowds at last year's festival.

Workshops include "Sideways: Writing the Unconventional Poem," and "The Engaged Literary Audience," in which dramatic literature is read by spectators.

There'll also be a panel presentation by mystery and crime writers, a poetry open mic and Trista Wilde's "Fame: Perspectives on Fantasy and Reality Set to the Beat of British Invasion Rock & Roll."

Kasey Mohammad, an SOU writing professor, will give a presentation about the school's new summer writing program called Institute of New Writing\Ashland.

Also planned are panels discussing a book on Oregon Shakespeare Festival actors, rare books and book collecting, and "Writing Speculative Worlds," addressing horror, fantasy and paranormal genres.

SOU librarian Dotty Ormes will lead a performance of three oral folk tales that inspired Shakespeare's "Cymbeline," and another poetry performance session will be led by Michael Holstein, an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute instructor.

Children can participate in a morning or afternoon session of Kids Corner, in which licensed childcare professionals will engage youngsters in storytelling and crafts.

The number of participants about a week before the festival was 81, said Fela Winfrey, the library's event coordinator.

She said this year's festival is more interactive than last year.

"It's more of an opportunity for people to get involved in the activities," Winfrey said. "There's a lot more action, if you will, going on."

Organizers say 550 people attended last year's event. They are hoping for 700 this year.

Adalian said the festival is good for the authors, the university, the community and the library.

"It's a way to meet the authors and a way for the university to reach out to the community," said Adalian, adding that many residents believe only students are allowed inside Hannon Library.

But all are welcome, and books can be checked out when a person joins the Friends of the Hannon Library. Membership will cost $35 today, down from the normal $45 fee, he said.

The Friends of the Hannon Library bought the folios in the 1970s, Adalian said. He does not know what the cost was then, but said the Second Folio, which is more rare and more valuable than the fourth, is worth "several hundred thousand dollars."

During the time when Shakespeare wrote and lived, plays were written on scripts for the actors, who often threw them away once the play had finished its run, Adalian said. After Shakespeare died, some people decided to round up the scripts and collect all of his plays in a folio, Adalian said. Shakespeare's First Folio was published in 1623.

The folios at SOU are originals. The Second Folio was published in 1632 and the Fourth Folio was published in 1685. They are kept in the library's collections room, which is air-conditioned and humidity-controlled, Adalian said.

Vince Tweddell is a freelance writer living in Talent. Reach him at vince.tweddell@gmail.com.

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