Thirty authors - including Manteca High graduate and New York Times bestseller William Kent Krueger - are signed up for the inaugural Great Valley Bookfest debuting Saturday, Oct. 27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley.
The free event features five venues where attendees can listen to authors make their presentations and ask questions. There also will be a number of gourmet food trucks plus arts and crafts style vendors as well as new and used books for sale.
Other activities include a kids’ Halloween costume parade, writers’ workshop, self-publishing seminar, slam poetry performances, and cooking demonstrations.
A series of tents around the manmade lake in front of the movie theater will provide the venue for the presentations and other activities including the cooking demos. The gourmet food trucks will be parked in the drop-off zone for the theatre while the road running in front of the theater - from Bass Pro Shops to the roundabout with a fountain will be closed to accommodate arts and craft vendors. The meeting room inside Bass Pro Shops will also be used.
“We’ve had tremendous response from authors and those interested in attending,” noted Ton Raymus, who is the lead organizer of the event.
Raymus noted they have had to turn away authors. All of the authors - both local and out-of-the-area - are attending at their own expense.
Raymus was inspired by a bookfest she attended in Decatur, Georgia - a suburb just outside of Atlanta.
“They had large crowds of people - adults and kids - attending,” Raymus said. “There are a lot of people who love to read.”
It didn’t take long for her idea of a bookfest in Manteca with its central location to the Northern San Joaquin Valley to catch traction. Organizers expect to pull in attendees from throughout San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties as well as part of the East Bay including Livermore and Pleasanton.
The authors attending cover a wide array of disciplines from children’s books to poetry, fiction, fantasy, nature, history, politics, western, mystery, cookbooks, suspense, romance, adult romance, and self-help.
A third of the authors have valley ties. Besides Krueger who is a 1969 Manteca High graduate there are Manteca residents Linda Kay and Kerry Harris, Ripon residents Don Moyer, Rob Kroese and John Mangelos, Oakdale residents Kim Van Meter and Valerie Murphy, retired Manteca High counselor Steve Sonntag, as well as Cherish A. Doll of Salida and Linda Abbott Trapp of Valley Springs.
Other authors are Jennie Chadwick, Sue DePolo and Gary DeiRossi, Linda Knoll, Claudia Newcorn, Scott Lankford, Rick Deutsch, Jay Feldman, Major Mitchell, Amy Smith, Allison Brennan, Peggy Howard, Ken Albala, Rima Barkett and Claudia Pruett, Loretta Ichord, Maureen Minnehan Jones, and Jacque Graham.
Krueger is the highest profile author among those attending.
After graduating from Manteca High, Krueger (he goes by Kent) briefly attended Stanford University before being kicked out for radical activities. After that, he logged timber, worked construction, tried his hand at free-lance journalism, and eventually ended up researching child development at the University of Minnesota. He currently earns his living as a full-time author. He’s been married for 40 years to his college sweetheart. He makes his home in St. Paul.
Krueger writes the New York Times bestselling Cork O’Connor mystery series, which is set in the north woods of Minnesota. His work has received numerous awards, including the Minnesota Book Award, the Loft-McKnight Fiction Award, the Anthony Award, the Barry Award, and the Friends of American Writers Prize. His novels have been translated into more than a dozen languages and optioned by Hollywood. He does all his creative writing in a little St. Paul coffee shop whose identity he prefers to keep secret.