Thursday, February 01, 2007

Winter Book Fair on February 3 at Mall

Sometime during the night we got our first snow to really cover the ground. A very light snow even so, and it was all over by the time we woke up and looked out the windows.

It was slick enough that Gerald was willing to take me to John A. Logan College, where I was to pick up our Southern Illinois Writers Guild anthologies. Now our SIWG members can sell them at the Winter Book Fair at the Illinois Centre Mall this Saturday from 10 to 4. In fact, Gerald wanted to take the truck--partly because of the slick country roads and partly to keep the car clean. That was very generous since he has just washed his truck, and it came back from this trip dirty.

SIWG is a student organization at JALC as well open to the public. Established in 1982, SIWG has been active ever since although there were a couple of times that leadership moved and membership waned. We have been especially proud of several students who have participated in the Guild this past year. The students are very stimulating to nonstudent members, and I like to think that they can learn from older writers' experiences.

The rolling suitcase with the anthologies had been stored at the college following our participation in the AutumnFest, where SIWG had a table and authors sold their books and the anthologies. The anthologies had ended up in the upstairs storage room called "The Cage" because of the locked wire fences there protecting stored items. A student worker graciously took us up to retrieve our suitcase, and now I need to inventory what is inside in the morning.

After a couple of early anthologies produced during the beginning years, the Guild's efforts for a third one failed. Finally Carol Cross became our president, and she carried an anthology to completion in 2002. She did much more than her share of the typing and work and so did her husband Bud. Anne-Marie Legan, Hua-ling Hu, Jim Smith, and others helped her, but she was the one who got the job done. This first new effort contained poems, articles, short stories, drama by SIWG members, and it sold well for the $5 fee charged.

Inspired by that success, others have continued the editing work including Joanna Gray, Laura Warfel, Ruby Jung, Phil West, and Roger Poppen. Many members have their first publication credit through the anthology. Roger has been elected editor for the next anthology and he is already hard at work. The Guild accepted his idea of our sponsoring a contest in connection with the next anthology and opening to members and nonmembers alike. You can check the contest out at this site:>.

We are very pleased that the fifth anthology--now called The Writer's Voice Annual--is hot off the press and will be offered to the public for the first time this Saturday at the second annual Winter Book Fair at the Illinois Centre Mall from l0 to 4.

It will be an exciting day for book lovers to have the opportunity to meet all their favorite local authors in the center court. Many authors will also be reading from their works on the stage there. I have been sniffling and coughing all week since I woke up with a cold Monday morning, but I intend to be well enough to read by Saturday! I don't want to miss this special day.

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