An Edmond event celebrates books and writers 

Heartland New Day BookFest
9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday
First Nazarene church of Edmond
3001 S. Boulevard, Edmond

Readers are invited to celebrate books and encourage writing Saturday at the inaugural Heartland New Day BookFest in Edmond.

At the First Nazarene Church of Edmond, more than 75 authors and illustrators will discuss breaking into professional writing, while several local celebrities will make an appearance to read to children.

Suzy Koch, director of BookFest, hopes the festival will become a stepping stone for those who wish to publish, as well as those who already have and want to further their careers.

"We have expectations of (BookFest) being a premier destination for authors and illustrators," Koch said. "We want it to be on everyone's to-do list, if they want to publish something. It's free, so why not?"

An author herself, Koch has noticed a need for aid in gaining recognition for local authors.
"It's an exciting event," she said. "It's very unique, especially to our area and our profession."

Festivities begin Friday evening with an awards dinner when prizes are handed out to authors who registered in contests. The group held a statewide essay contest for grade school, junior high and high school students, as well as contests for authors of children's, young adult, fiction and nonfiction books. Authors who submitted their work for review may receive a sticker to be placed on their work, recognizing it as one of the best of the fest.

Events continue Saturday with the presentations and workshops to the public. Some of the scheduled appearances include former Miss America Lauren Nelson Faram and actor/boxer Tommy Morrison, who will read to children, along with local television reporters.

A panel discussion with best-selling Oklahoma authors Jordan Dane and Merline Lovelace begins at 10:20 a.m. Saturday. The pair will discuss how to write in the crime and thriller genres.
Dane's latest novel is "The Wrong Side of Dead"; Lovelace's next, "Now You See Her," will be released in May.

"These people are talented artists," Koch said. "There are about 300 published authors in our area. This isn't New York, Chicago or L.A.; this is Edmond. We have a lot of talent to be noticed." "Luke Atkinson

photo Jordan Dane.

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