Archive for the ‘Novello Festival of Reading’ Category

Novello kicks off with a very funny start.

October 9, 2009

The first Novello event, an Evening with Christopher Buckley, was a hoot! But don’t take our word for it — read the article by Pam Kelley of the Charlotte Observer, Satirist Christopher Buckley keeps audiences giggling at Novello kickoff.”

If you missed last night’s event, it’s not too late to get tickets to another Novello event that’s sure to be a hit — A Novello Evening with Clyde Edgerton on Friday, October 23. One of North Carolina’s favorite authors, Clyde Edgerton and his band, the Rank Strangers, promises to provide a Novello evening unlike any other. Readings, story songs, food and fun are all rolled into one wonderful evening. Tickets are $35, and you can purchase online.

See the entire Novello lineup, including free events for both adults and children, at


A Celebration of African American Poetry

October 30, 2008
This past Thursday, our Novello Festival of Reading event was “Grown Dkleep Like the Rivers, a celebration of African American Poetry.”  What a great celebration of local talent this night turned out to be! The senior drummers from the McCrory YMCA started the evening for us — a terrific group of 21 senior citizens, ages 55-84.

Other participating artists and poets included: T.J. Reddy, Connie Williams, May Orr, Emery L. Rann III, Willie Stratford, Jr., a group of teens from A.D.A.P.T. (African Diaspora Arts Program and Theater), Quentin Talley, and SlamCharlotte poets including Bluz, BlkSwan and Mike Simms. We were also pleased to introduce Leslie Corbin, winning poet in a recent WQNC sponsored poetry contest.

T.J. Reddy at Novello

Tom Hanchett, historian at the Levine Museum of the New South and Theresea Elder, a community activist worked with the Public Library to bring the vision for this program to life as part of Novello.

Tom Hanchett summed up the evening with this great comment: An awesome event….(made) visible the vibrant traditions right here in our own community, honoring elders who have gone on, connecting past masters with the rising generation, and helping us all realize that the joy of words is not just something found on the Best Seller lists, but something we all can create.

McCrory YMCA Drummers
McCrory YMCA Drummers

And the Winner Is….

October 27, 2008

Tuesday, October 21st showcased one of the perennial favorite events at Novello — Carolina Writers Night. This year’s event featured John Hart, author of Down River and King of Lies. A Salisbury, NC native, Mr. Hart talked about the sometimes challenging scenario of inventing characters in a story based in his home town. Everyone wants to guess who the real character is!

Kate Betterton introduces her debut novel

Kate Betterton with debut novel

Carolina Writers Night also featured Ann Wicker, editor of the Library’s Novello Festival Press publication Making Notes: Music of the Carolinas and a special reading & musical performance by Kevin Winchester. Kevin’s story “Catching Smoke” is featured in Making Notes.

The night wouldn’t be complete without the release of our latest Novello Festival Press (NFP) publication and 2008 Novello Literary Award winner, Where the Lake Becomes the River by Kate Betterton. Sure to become a favorite, this book is now available for check-out at your library, and is on sale in PLCMC library locations and area bookstores.

We also announced the 2009 Novello Literary Award-winning book, Cow Across America by Dale Neal. Chosen from among 86 recent manuscript submissions, Cow Across America will be published by the Library’s Novello Festival Press and released at next year’s Novello Festival of Reading.

Graphic Novel Titans: Harvey Pekar & Alison Bechdel

October 24, 2008
Alison Bechdel talks about her work at Novello

Alison Bechdel sharing her work at Novello

Friday night, Graphic Novel readers were in for a treat as the Library brought both Harvey Pekar and Alison Bechdel to our Novello Festival of Reading.  Pekar shared his beginnings in comics — how he originally thought that comics were a intrinsically limiting media, but then realized that comics are just words and pictures and you can do anything with words and pictures! Bechdel showed us how she goes about creating with some new software she’s working with. It’s always a treat to see the creative process. These phenomenally successful, award-winning authors were down to earth, funny, and generous in answering lots of questions from the audience. This event, and the audience, demonstrated that graphic novels aren’t just for kids. If you haven’t discovered graphic novels yet, check out our collection at the Public Library.

Armistead Maupin Captivates Novello Crowd

October 17, 2008
Armistead Maupin at Novello Festival of Reading

Armistead Maupin at Novello Festival of Reading

Captivating sums up last night’s Novello Festival of Reading program. Armistead Maupin seemed like he was talking to good friends and the audience responded the same way. Maybe it was because of his NC roots, but I have a feeling this is how Mr. Maupin is with everyone. He was witty, candid, and at times poignant about his personal life and how those moments have played a role in his writing.

Malcolm Campbell, an advisor to the Library’s Novello Festival Press and a professor at UNC Charlotte, acted as interviewer/facilitator for last night program and did a great job exploring the basis for many of Maupin’s characters.  What we learned is that his work is autobiographical in nature — each of his characters gives us a little insight into Maupin himself.

An evening with Armistead Maupin also turned out to be an evening with the stars….Robin Williams, Olympia Dukakis, Laura Linney, Rock Hudson….we heard lots of funny stories about Maupin’s working and personal friendships with each.

One bit of exciting news for Armistead Maupin fans: He shared that one of his books is being turned into a Broadway musical. Keep your ears open for more info on that.

Khaled Hosseini draws largest Novello attendance in history

October 16, 2008
Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, attracted more than 2300 individuals last night for the Library’s Novello Festival of Reading. “Overpowered by the experience”….. “genuine”…..”very humbled speaker” were comments I heard last night and this morning from attendees. He helped many of us better understand the Afghanistan culture.

Were you there last night? If so, tell us what you thought. If you missed it, Mike Collins of “Charlotte Talks” on WFAE 90.7fm served as interviewer of Dr. Hosseini for Novello. The program was taped for broadcast on WFAE and will be aired on October 24th at 9am and again at 7pm on “Charlotte Talks.”

His books have remained favorites among readers since The Kite Runner was released in 2003 — and are consistently among the most popular books checked out at PLCMC. We were lucky to be among 1 of 5 U.S. public libraries where Dr.  Hosseini was appearing this year.

Booksigning after Novello program
Booksigning after Novello program

I loved hearing Dr. Hosseini say (very genuinely) how grateful he is for the public support he has received from his legions of fans and attributes much of his literary success due to the word of mouth recommendations from librarians and workers in indepdendent bookstores.

A few things that Dr. Hosseini shared with us last night:

  • The drive to create was always there, even as a small child. But, he didn’t think he would ever have the opportunity to earn a living by writing — therefore he initially went into medicine.
  • He read a lot as a child, especially condensed versions of classics. The first novel he ever read in its entirety was  The Exocist.  He was 10 years old! The funny thing was that he read this book (which inspired the horror movie of the same name) as a serialized feature in a women’s magazine.
  • Recommendations of other writers with Afghanistan roots: West of Kabul, East of New York: an Afghan American Story by Tamim Ansary; and The storyteller’s daughter  by Saira Shah.
Fans waiting for their books to be signed following Khaled Hosseini's program

Fans waiting for their books to be signed following Khaled Hosseini

Book Lust with Nancy Pearl

October 12, 2008
Nancy Pearl Signing Books and Her Librarian Action Figure

Nancy Pearl Signing Books and Her Librarian Action Figure for Novello Attendees

Here’s what I learned this afternoon about Nancy Pearl:

  • One of her best friends is Wade, the UPS delivery guy who until her recent move delivered about 100 books a week to her home
  • She’s got a thing about loafers with tassels
  • She still checks out books from the library, even though a lot of publishers send her books to review
  • She clearly and personally remembers why libraries and librarians matter so much to children and has, I’m positive, gone on to impact the lives of so many youngsters (and adults) just like Ms. Whitehead did for her when she was growing up in Detroit.

Nancy doesn’t think she’s great at small talk — but the crowd at today’s Novello Festival of Reading event was clearly listening to every word she said. In fact, most of us had pen and paper out to quickly catch all the titles and authors she mentioned to us this afternoon.

Want to know just a few a her recommendations from today? Lee Child if you like to read thrillers; The Paperboy by Pete Dexter; Sunshine by Robin McKinley; I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith; and Andersonsville by MacKinlay Kantor for Civil War history buffs. 

For more great insights from Nancy Pearl — a person whose knowlegde of and love for books is unmatched — you need to check out one of her books. Book Lust, More Book Lust and Book Crush are waiting for you at the public library.  We would love to introduce you to a few great books.

Timmy & Susana Abell Charm Families

October 12, 2008

On Friday night, Timmy & Susana Abell charmed children and adults alike at the Library’s second event of this year’s Novello Festival of Reading. With stories, puppetry, music and more, this fun evening brought to life the importance of words, imagination, and the sharing of stories. Even the small babies in the audience were mesmerized when Timmy Abell asked us to close our eyes, listen to mus

Susana Abell introduces her puppet

Susana Abell introduces her puppet to the audience

ic played on his penny whistle, and to just let our imaginations take flight. This evening brought storytelling back to the Novello program lineup thanks to the coordination of library staff that take part in Frontline Storytellers, a special library initiative to share storytelling with our community. Check out the Libary’s ongoing schedule of storytelling programs to find more great opportunities for your family.


Novello Kicks Off With Author Scott Turow

October 3, 2008
author Scott Turow

author Scott Turow

Were you there last night? Over 300 readers joined us for the first of 15 Novello events this month. Turow talked about how he began as a struggling writer before gaining worldwide appeal and answered lots of questions from the audience ranging from marital counseling to baseball to how he balances life as writer and practicing attorney.

Tickets are still available for many 2008 events. Come join us for great evenings with Armistead Maupin, Colson Whitehead, Sara Paretsky, Khaled Hosseini, Harvey Pekar/Alison Bechdel and others.

Even though 2008 is underway, we we are planning for 2009 and beyond. Who do you want to hear in future Novello years?