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BookFest St. Louis

Sally Field, Gary Shteyngart, Michael Isikoff at 2018’s Bookfest St. Louis

The last authors to appear at 2017’s BookFest St. Louis in the Central West End had just packed their bags and headed for the airport when organizers, thrilled with the success of the inaugural event, started planning for 2018’s BookFest. The organizing team, including staff from Left Bank Books, the Left Bank Books Foundation and the Central West End Community Improvement District,  the event producer, have been hard at work ever since.

Now, in what seems like the mere turning of a page, 2018’s BookFest St. Louis is less than a month away. This year’s line-up features an exciting mix of 40-plus locally and internationally renowned authors highlighting the best of contemporary literary fiction, poetry, memoir, science fiction, young adult fiction, mystery and history.  A variety of events will be held at venues throughout the neighborhood,   and there will be book-related vendors under tents in the festival zone on McPherson at Euclid. There will be live music throughout the day.

I’ve singled out several author events to bring to your attention, including the appearance of headliner actor Sally Field at The Chase Park-Plaza on Friday evening, September 21.

The entire schedule is here, and while you’re on the website be sure to check out “News & Updates.”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  Sally Field Michael Isikoff Left Bank Books Foundation Left Bank Books Gary Shteyngart CWE North CID BookFest St. Louis

Kick off BookFest St. Louis with three-time Emmy Award winner Sally Field.

LOCATION: The Chase Park Plaza (212 N Kingshighway Blvd.)

DATE/TIME: Friday, September 21, 7 to 9 p.m.

The prolific actor will discuss her new book, In Pieces, a deeply searing memoir about being a woman – a famous woman – in the last half of the 20th century.

A $37 general admission ticket admits one person to the keynote event and includes one hardcover copy of In Pieces. A $50 VIP ticket admits one person to the keynote event and includes one hardcover copy of In Pieces, preferred seating, admission to the post-event cash bar reception and meet & greet with Saturday BookFest authors, and 10% off all featured titles purchased at BookFest St. Louis on Saturday.

To purchase tickets, click here.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  Sally Field Michael Isikoff Left Bank Books Foundation Left Bank Books Gary Shteyngart CWE North CID BookFest St. Louis

BookFest St. Louis welcomes bestselling, award-winning author Gary Shteyngart for an afternoon of wit, wine and a discussion of his new novel, Lake Success!

LOCATION: Bar Italia, 13 Maryland Plaza

DATE/TIME: Saturday, September 22 at 3 p.m.

-A $31 ticket admits one person and includes one pre-signed hardcover copy of Lake Success.
-A $36 ticket admits two people and includes one pre-signed hardcover copy of Lake Success, plus a $5 rebate towards the purchase of a second copy of Lake Success at the event.

To purchase tickets, click here.

Please note: Gary Shteyngart WILL personalize your copies of Lake Success and take photos with attendees. Bar Italia will offer a cash bar at this event.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings  Sally Field Michael Isikoff Left Bank Books Foundation Left Bank Books Gary Shteyngart CWE North CID BookFest St. Louis

Have a question for the panel? Submit it here and we may ask it during the book festival!

LOCATION: McPherson Tent

DATE/TIME: Saturday, September 22, 6 to 7 p.m.

Volunteers are needed, click here to find out what’s involved. You’ll receive a BookFest St. Louis t-shirt and have a great time too.

We’re incredibly fortunate to have BookFest St. Louis in the neighborhood, so be sure to save the dates and take part. There is something for everyone, including kids’ events at Schlafly Library.

BookFest St. Louis, September 21 and 22, in the Central West End. Left Bank Books, located at 399 N. Euclid, is action central.

Bookfest St. Louis opens in CWE Thursday

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink For Children Shop News  William Burroughs The McPherson T. S. Eliot Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Patricia & Fred McKissack Mary Engelbreit Left Bank Books Ken Botnick Gabriel Tallent BookFest St. Louis Amy Stewart  How you fill your dance card for this week’s inaugural BookFest St. Louis is your call, but a word to the wise, start plotting now for which authors you want to see, what panels you want to attend, and absolutely schedule time for kids’ events and the dedication of the new William Burroughs statue at Writer’s Corner (McPherson & Euclid) this Saturday, September 23, at 6 p.m.

Bookfest St. Louis is a collaboration between Left Bank Books and CWE Business Community Improvement District. The staffs of both the bookstore and the NCID have spent months putting the weekend’s events together. There are spreadsheets galore and organizers’ brains stuffed with information about arrival and departure schedules for dozens of participating authors, neighborhood venues where the events will occur, and lists of volunteers who have offered to lend a hand.

All events (here is schedule), other than the appearances of authors Sherman Alexie and Amy Stewart, are non-ticketed events, so it’s first-come, first served. Check out Page 4 on the schedule for a concise chart of events and locations.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink For Children Shop News  William Burroughs The McPherson T. S. Eliot Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Patricia & Fred McKissack Mary Engelbreit Left Bank Books Ken Botnick Gabriel Tallent BookFest St. Louis Amy Stewart

Mary Engelbreit photographed for St. Louis Magazine

Expect a crush of Mary Engelbreit admirers to attend the BookFest’s kick-off event Thursday, September 21, starting at 6 p.m. The artist will be at the Schlafly Library, 225 N. Euclid, for a reception and conversation with Left Bank Books’ proprietor Kris Kleindienst to discuss Mary Engelbreit From the Archives, a monthlong exhibit of Engelbreit’s rarely seen early work and ephemera from Left Bank Books’ collection. A book signing for the Engelbreit’s latest, The Bedtime Book, will follow. The exhibition remains on view until September 29.

Here is a recent video showing KSDK’s Dana Dean interview with Mary Engelbreit and Kris Kleindienst on Show Me St. Louis.Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink For Children Shop News  William Burroughs The McPherson T. S. Eliot Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Patricia & Fred McKissack Mary Engelbreit Left Bank Books Ken Botnick Gabriel Tallent BookFest St. Louis Amy Stewart  Photo courtesy of Lee Towndrow, Little, Brown

The weekend’s opening event is a special one, “An Evening with Sherman Alexie,” which takes place Friday, September 22, at The Sheldon in Grand Center, the only BookFest event that occurs outside the immediate neighborhood.

The appearance by National Book Award recipient Sherman Alexie is a coup for BookFest St. Louis. After the recent publication of  his memoir, “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” the acclaimed poet, short story writer, novelist and performer cancelled most appearances on his book tour due to exhaustion. But he has kept BookFest on his schedule (the author is also participating in a Young Adult Panel at The McPherson Saturday at noon). Here is an interview with Alexie conducted by reporter Stefene Russell in the 9/13/17 issue of St. Louis Magazine.

A $40 general admission ticket admits one person to Friday’s keynote event and includes a hardcover copy of “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me.” A $75 VIP ticket admits one person to the keynote event, includes a signed copy of “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” and a 10th Anniversary edition of National Book Award-classic “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” plus a Meet & Greet book signing with Sherman Alexie. (Please note: VIP tickets are now SOLD OUT.) Purchase general admission tickets at TheSheldon.org.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink For Children Shop News  William Burroughs The McPherson T. S. Eliot Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Patricia & Fred McKissack Mary Engelbreit Left Bank Books Ken Botnick Gabriel Tallent BookFest St. Louis Amy Stewart

On Saturday fans of Amy Stewart’s Miss Kopp’s series will have a chance to have tea with the author at Mary Ann’s Tearoom, 4732 McPherson, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

Tickets for Miss Kopp’s High Tea are $70 per person and include an exclusive presentation and book signing by Stewart, a hardcover copy of “Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions,” a specialty cocktail inspired by the book and full-service high tea, with tea, scones with jam, sandwiches and dessert. To view the menu and to make a reservation, look here.

In addition, The Central West End will complete the Writers’ Corner project at Euclid and McPherson with the installation of a William Burroughs sculpture during a dedication ceremony at Left Bank Books on Saturday at 6 p.m. The completion is being funded by The Central West End Association and the Community Improvement District North.

From the press release:

“The Burroughs bust, by local artist Vlad Zhitomirsky, stylistically celebrates the Beat Generation author’s flair for the disjointed and bizarre, which can be found in his well-known works including ‘Naked Lunch,’ ‘Queer’ and ‘Junky.'”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink For Children Shop News  William Burroughs The McPherson T. S. Eliot Sherman Alexie Shanthi Sekaran Patricia & Fred McKissack Mary Engelbreit Left Bank Books Ken Botnick Gabriel Tallent BookFest St. Louis Amy Stewart

You may have noticed that the sidewalk next to Pi is being repaved today in preparation for Saturday’s dedication. What’s happening is that the T. S. Eliot sculpture, above right, is being moved from Left Bank Books to Pi, above left, and William Burroughs, who had a longtime connection to Left Bank Books will “reside” next to the neighborhood bookstore.

There are so many fabulous events on the schedule that I encourage you to visit the website and check them out for yourself. Here is a very small sampling:

Children’s Storytime at 10:30 Saturday followed by Middle Readers Meet & Greet at 11 (authors Treton Lee Stewart and Kat Zhang) at Schlafly Library.

Memoir Panel at 3:30 Saturday at 510 N. Euclid featuring George Hodgman (Bettyville), WU’s Kathleen Finneran (The Tender Land), and Ann Edelstein (Lifesaving for Beginners).

“A Special Trust” – Remembering Patricia & Fred McKissack honoring beloved St. Louis children’s authors takes place at Left Bank Books Saturday at 7 p.m.

Literary Fiction Panel II at 3 p.m. Saturday at The McPherson, featuring debut novelist Gabriel Tallent (My Absolute Darling), Shanthi Sekaran (Lucky Boy), Whitney Terrell (The Good Lieutenant).

Prufrock & Other Observations at Dressel’s Pub at 8 p.m. Saturday. Celebrate 100th anniversary of St. Louis poet T. S. Eliot’s Prufrock, etc. with an intimate performance by a diverse coalition of St. Louis’ best poets.

The Festival Zone: Approximately 26 vendors and literary organizations will participate in The Festival Zone situated along McPherson east of Euclid (which will be blocked off to traffic as far east as The Vino Gallery) from 11 to 5 on Saturday. There will be live music, demonstrations, rare book sellers, local artisans and more. Some neighboring restaurants will also be selling food and beverages at outside tables.

Peek inside local bookmaker Ken Botnick’s studio! Tour the studio, watch press demonstrations and view limited edition copies of books by Mary Jo Bang, William Gass and William S. Burroughs. The studio will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Located at 4814 Washington Blvd. #240.

I also want to acknowledge the CWE venues who have agreed to host events: The McPherson (the recently-opened event venue), Mary Ann’s Tearoom, Schlafly Library, The Vino Gallery, 510 N. Euclid (formerly The Improv Shop), Llywelyn’s, Brennan’s, Gamlin Whiskey House, Dressel’s Pub, and Left Bank Books. Here once again is the schedule of events for Bookfest St. Louis.

Parking is free on The McPherson lot which will be accessible from Taylor Avenue east on McPherson. Paid parking is available on the Euclid lot (what many of us still call the Herbie’s lot), just north of McPherson. Other than McPherson east of Euclid to Walton Row, CWE streets will remain open during BookFest St. Louis.