First annual Connecticut Book Festival to celebrate local authors in October

Connecticut has a rich literary tradition with many well known authors having made their mark here, including Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe. While there is no official count, a rough estimate of published authors in Connecticut today puts the number around 200.

Celebrating this legacy and fulfilling its mission to promote authors and help them sell books, the Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association will host its first annual Connecticut Book Festival on Saturday, Oct. 1, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the West Hartford Conference Center. The free event has been in the planning for close to a year.

The association used to set up at the Big E for a dozen years but a post-pandemic rule change now only allows Connecticut businesses, versus associations, to exhibit there, said CAPA founder Brian Jud. He came up with the idea for launching their own festival to help authors market themselves and sell books while meeting readers and fans. “The Big E was a big hit so we thought what we will do is replace it with a series of book festivals. This is the kickoff and we will do this in different parts of the state,” he said, noting they hope to have several festivals a year spread geographically across the state.

The festival will feature close to 50 authors and while final details are still being worked out, there will be book sales, opportunities to interact with authors and perhaps panel talks as well. Audiences of all ages are welcome to this family-friendly event that will offer both children’s and adult’s books in a variety of literary genres from new and established authors.

Author Elsa Kurt is vice-president of the Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. 

Author Elsa Kurt is vice-president of the Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. 

Courtesy of Elsa Kurt

Author Elsa Kurt is not only one of the featured authors exhibiting here but as vice-president of CAPA, she is very enthusiastic about the festival. “We are super excited about this, we are putting all of the components together for our readers and for our authors, of course,” she said. “We just want to put something together that is really special with a great variety of authors. We are getting a feel from both our readers and authors as to what everyone wants as that is obviously our biggest goal — to give everyone what they are looking for.”

CAPA president Robyn-Jay Bage said this event will showcase Connecticut authors while giving them a venue to get their books into readers’ hands. “We know how tough it is for authors to gain visibility, particularly now, in the aftermath of the worst of the pandemic,” she said. “Readers can expect to meet and interact with 40-50 Connecticut authors, have opportunities to attend readings and perhaps pick up a few new favorite reads.”

The festival is designed to appeal to both serious bibliophiles as well as casual readers or those getting a jumpstart on holiday gifts. “Signed books make amazing gifts for readers,” Kurt said. “We encourage people to come and check it out, if not for themselves than for the reader in their life.”

Connecticut author Liz Delton will be at the Connecticut Book Festival Oct. 1. 

Connecticut author Liz Delton will be at the Connecticut Book Festival Oct. 1. 

Courtesy of Liz Delton

Author Liz Delton is looking forward to engaging with readers at the festival. “I’ll be signing and selling my books, which is one of my favorite parts of being an author — getting to meet people who love reading, then actually handing over my book to someone who is interested in it. It’s one of the great rewards!” she said.

For more information, visit ctauthorsandpublishers.com.