Another Tucson Festival of Books is in the books!
Here at TucsonTopia, we think it might just have been the BEST one yet.
With best-selling authors, high-profile politicians, and award winning television producers at the microphone and over 120,000 attendees on the University of Arizona campus, the event is sure to be talked about for months (and years) to come.
Kudos to all of the event planners, volunteers, and presenting sponsors that made the festival possible! It’s a true gift to our city and to all of the people who travel from around the country (and world!) to be a part of it.
We especially appreciate that the entire event is free – free admission, free parking, free sessions – and thus accessible to all people, regardless of economics.
For 2015, we have a few ideas for making the event even better.
1. Consider inviting the following authors as presenters.
- Tsh Oxenreider – Founder of The Art of Simple, Author of “Notes From A Blue Bike”
- Ann Voskamp – Author of NY Times Bestseller of “One Thousand Gifts”
- Mary Oliver – American poet; Winner of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize
- Shauna Niequist – memoir writer, Author of “Bread and Wine,” “Bittersweet,” and “Cold Tangerines”
- Wendell Berry – American novelist, poet, environmental activist, and farmer
- Khaled Hosseini – Afghan-born physician, author of “The Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns”
- Dr. Alan Greene – Graduate of Princeton, Author of “Raising Baby Green” and “Feeding Baby Green”
- Robert Sears – Pediatrician and founder of the Sears Parenting Library, Author “The Vaccine Book”
- Heidi Thomas McGann – Screenwriter of “Call The Midwife”
- William Paul Young – Canadian author, best known for “The Shack”
- Katie Davis – Mom to 13 girls in Uganda, Author of “Kisses From Katie”
- Nicholas Kristof – American journalist, op-ed columnist for NY Times, winner of 2 Pulitzer Prizes
- Sheryl Sandberg – Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. Author of “Lean In”
- Gavin de Becker – best-selling author and specialist in security issues
2. For roaming Storybook Characters in costume, I’m sure little ones would love to see: Madeline, Peter Pan, Pippi Longstocking, Anne of Green Gables, Cinderella, and The Cat in the Hat. Bring back the Berenstain Bears too!
3. Speaking of costumed storybook characters, we recommend that the Children’s Area include several different outdoor and indoor photo spots with specific times when characters are scheduled to appear. Times could be listed on a sign. “Want to see Captain Hook? He’ll be here at 10:00am, 12:00pm, and 2:30pm.” Etc.
4. The ticketed Character Breakfast, presented by UA Bookstores, on Saturday morning is a fantastic concept. BUT the food quality was really pretty pitiful. Is there a culinary arts program on-campus, by chance? Perhaps they could take the opportunity to showcase their food inspirations?
5. If there are volunteers to spare (thank you, volunteers!), designate several at each parking garage and surface lot around campus. Parking is probably the biggest deterrent to locals – especially those intimidated by the more compact spots around the U and downtown Tucson.
6. Speaking of parking, the map created and distributed by Literacy Connects was a treasure! Be sure that map is easily accessible on the TFOB website and in the TFOB app. If possible, have a volunteer “live tweet” which garages might be the best bet at each hour.
7. Set up a baby changing + feeding tent in the Children’s Area. The private space could include changing pads, rocking chairs or benches for mothers who need to feed their babies, and a small toddler play area. Perhaps UAMC, TMC, the Tucson Birth Center, Little Bird Nesting Company, or a local church could sponsor the area?
8. Add additional events on Friday afternoon and/or evening. A ticketed Literary Ball might be fun – with live music, food and wine tastings, a literary-themed auction, and live readings.
9. Let’s keep the event free, but perhaps it would be best to have a pre-registration process for the sessions? Attendees could reserve tickets in advance so they don’t have to wait in long lines on the day of the event.
10. Citywide Events. What if the entire preceding week was full of bookish events throughout the city? Mother-Daughter Book Clubs, Phonics Puppet Shows, Book-Themed Menus at area restaurants, etc. Even local schools could get in on the action with monologue competitions, video book reports, and dress-as-your-favorite-character days.
Cheers! Here’s to Tucson – City of Sunshine, City of Books!
Did you attend the 2014 Tucson Festival of Books? What were your favorite sessions/booths?
What authors and characters would you like to see in 2015?