PHILADELPHIA, April 23, 2007 - Booklovers from all over the city, state, and region converged in Philadelphia this past weekend--Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22--to attend the inaugural Philadelphia Book Festival. Hosted by the Free Library of Philadelphia and located in and around its Central Library on the Parkway, the Festival drew approximately 25,000 people who attended more than 100 events featuring 130 authors and performers in seven venues. Festival-goers also enjoyed a bustling literary Street Fair with more than 50 booths representing the very best in area publishers, booksellers, and independent authors.
Highlights of the two-day event included: the kick-off Storybook Character Parade where children met some of their favorite children’s book characters, including Curious George, Corduroy, and Peter Rabbit; Marley & Me author John Grogan’s discussion of life after Marley and his family’s newest canine addition; a set of wizard-themed rock from the inspired band, Harry and the Potters; a heartwarming onstage interview with Lee and Bob Woodruff; No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency author Alexander McCall Smith’s appearance in a kilt from his native Scotland; a Black Identity panel discussion featuring The N Word author Jabari Asim and When She Was White author Judith Stone; Mary Higgins Clark’s spooky reading of her debut children’s book, Ghost Ship; and an outdoor, twilight set of songs and poems from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Patti Smith.
The Philadelphia Book Festival was made possible by generous contributions from its presenting sponsor--the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; as well as its venue sponsors--Target, Citi, Toyota, and GlaxoSmithKline; community partners--the City of Philadelphia and Fairmount Park; media sponsors--WPVI-6abc, The Philadelphia Inquirer, KYW News Radio, and WPHT The Big Talker; and festival friends--Blank Rome LLP and Whole Foods. Several of the Festival’s major sponsors have already renewed their sponsorships for next year.
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The Free Library of Philadelphia system consists of 49 branches, three regional libraries, the Central Library, and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. With more than six million visits annually, the Free Library is one of the most widely-used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia.