Book Lovers Migrate South for the 2014 Savannah Book Festival

This past weekend I fled Atlanta’s latest round of snow and ice sequestration for the warmer climes of the Hostess City of the South–Savannah, Georgia. Although Savannah is just a quick, four-hour drive from Atlanta, this was my first time visiting the state’s oldest city. I was there courtesy of VisitSavannah to attend the 7th Annual Savannah Book Festival.

It seems I wasn’t the only one who migrated south this past weekend in search of better weather. I heard so many stories from people who were eager to escape snow and ice in different parts of the country. In fact, the weather prevented three authors from speaking in Savannah. The festival kept attendees apprised of schedule changes via the festival website and social media accounts. Volunteers handed out print copies of the revised schedule just outside the venues on Saturday.

I arrived late on Friday, so I wasn’t able to attend the keynote addresses of Scott Turow and Mitch Albom at the Trustees Theater. All festival events took place around Telfair and Wright Squares on Saturday. More than 250 volunteers and dedicated Savannah Book Festival staff and board members worked on the festival. Ex Libris, the bookstore at the Savannah College of Art and Design (better known as SCAD), sold books and merchandise in a dedicated tent in the middle of Telfair Square.

An alternative name for this year’s festival could have been the “Oprah’s Book Club Festival” as there were no fewer than four authors whose books had been previous Oprah’s Book Club picks. Wally Lamb and Anita Shreve both related their tales of getting “the phone call” from the famous talk show host whose book club picks quickly land on the bestseller lists. Alice Hoffman said she didn’t get the phone call from Oprah when Here on Earth was selected because the talk show host was on trial in Texas at the time.

Deens at Savannah Book Festival

Paula Deen (left) and Jamie Deen (right) talking to Savannah Book Festival attendees. Jamie Deen was there but I did not get his photo.

Saturday’s sunny 60-degree weather and a stellar lineup enticed thousands to the Square. Although a blustering wind twisted the flags atop their poles and kept people in their warmest jackets, many who waited in long book signing lines were treated to a celebrity chef sighting or three, as Paula Deen joined her sons, Jamie and Bobby, at their hometown book festival. The Deens talked with fans in line and signed copies of their cookbooks.

You could also scoop up a fun literary treat at Leopold’s Ice Cream. The store named ice cream flavors in honor of the authors and books featured at this year’s Savannah Book Festival. Here’s a picture of Melanie Benjamin enjoying a cup of her ice cream, “The Aviator’s Vanilla.”

Melanie Benjamin with The Aviator's Vanilla

“Me and my ice cream!” tweeted Melanie Benjamin (@melanieben). Leopold’s Ice Cream in Savannah named a selection of their sweet treats after authors appearing at the Savannah Book Festival.

I plan to write separate posts about some of the author talks I attended because I found myself taking copious notes with my iPhone. In addition to witnessing the great speakers on the stage, I had a chance to catch up with a couple of good friends who joined me in the  audience.

Alison and Anita

Alison and Anita pose in front of the Penguin Books truck at Savannah Book Festival. Photo courtesy of Anita Loves Books – February 15, 2014.

Here’s a photo of me with my book blogger friend, Anita of Anita Loves Books, in front of the Penguin Books truck. I told Anita that we should quit our day jobs and become Penguin spokesmodels, but I’m not sure she’s sold on the idea. They should at least let us drive the truck o’books, right? More to come…

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5 Responses to Book Lovers Migrate South for the 2014 Savannah Book Festival

  1. Erika Marks February 17, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

    Oh, I thought of you there, Alison, and so wished I could join in the fun–thank you so much for sharing the celebration with those of us who couldn’t get there. I love the pic of you and Anita! Bet it was a blast!!

    • Alison Law February 17, 2014 at 6:27 pm #

      Always fun, but less fun without you, Erika.

  2. Janie Watts Spataro February 17, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

    I look forward to hearing about the authors’ talks, and thanks for sharing!

    • Alison Law February 17, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

      Thanks, Janie. The author talks that I attended were phenomenal. Too much to be contained in one Savannah Book Festival post.

  3. Rhiannon February 18, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

    Thank you so much for writing this post. I wished I could have attended (maybe next year). Love the picture of you and Anita!

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