In 2019, we hosted or collaborated on 274 author and book events in our community, as well as celebrated Bookmarks’ 15th Festival of Books & Authors! The 2019 festival was one to remember. It featured a space-themed children’s area with a mobile planetarium, storytimes, panel discussions and workshops with 57 award-winning and best-selling authors. They included Mac Barnett, Cece Bell, Casey Cep, Dhonielle Clayton, Lesa Cline-Ransome, Angie Cruz, Dave Cullen, Martha Hall Kelly, Ann Mah, Téa Obreht, James Ransome and Renée Watson.
Last year, we also celebrated two years in our bookstore and presented programming that encouraged conversations, educated and entertained. We explored a range of topics, including the opioid epidemic, yoga, music, tattoos, race and class, poetry, familial relationships and Italy. For youth, we hosted regular Saturday storytimes, hosted Harry Potter Birthday Trivia, explored “How Girls Achieve” with Sally Nuamah and celebrated Angie Thomas’ young-adult book On the Come Up, with students performing original works inspired by her writing.
We were thrilled to be chosen as the 2019 community partner for the Chamber of Commerce’s Winston Under 40 program. It was one of more than 115 organizations and community groups in the Triad that collaborated with us this year.
Some of the amazing authors we hosted in 2019 included: Anne Bogel, Ben Folds, Stuart Gibbs, Jasmine Guillory, Jean Kwok, Beth Macy, Frances Mayes, Joe Mills, Ann Patchett, Louise Penny, Lisa See, Lee Smith and Jacinta White. For many authors, we were the only tour stop in the Triad or our state. We won Best Bookstore for the second year, as named by the community through the Winston-Salem Journal, and began hosting two new book clubs, Book Buzz and Well-Read Black Girl.
Our authors visited dozens of schools (pre-K through university), and we donated more than 12,000 books to children and school libraries. Our “Book Build: Fostering Connections by Building Collections” outreach effort has now placed 15,000 of the 25,000 books we have pledged to donate to Forsyth County public school libraries. We were honored that the American Association of School Librarians recognized us last year for this effort.
Moving into 2020, we will finish our Book Build initiative and hold our 16th festival on September 26, a later date than in years past. Please plan to join us on August 13 for our Preface Party and Fundraiser to learn what’s new in 2020, or attend one of our many events each month. At any given time, we have more than 16,000 unique titles in our bookstore’s inventory. Please come visit; our staff is truly exceptional at recommending books.
We will continue to curate Bookmarks’ books and events with our community in mind and with the hope to connect and inspire readers for many years to come!
Happy reading and best wishes,
Ginger Hendricks, Executive Director