The 18th Concord Festival of Authors gets underway on Oct 20 and runs until Nov. 7, offering readings and lectures from some of the most famous writers in the world.
Rob Mitchell has run the festival for 18 years, and he shows no signs of slowing down. He said in the early years, it was a "three to four day long weekend," but now it has "stretched out" to two weeks.
"Each event stands on its own," he said of the various authors speaking at different venues throughout the town.
Andrew J. Bacevich is the opening night speaker, who will talk about his book, "The Limits of Power," and during the following days, he will be joined by 45 other authors over 19 days and 28 events. Venues include the library, the Congregational Church, Harvey Wheeler Community Center, even Emerson Hospital and more.
Mitchell said he starts "about seven months in advance" to plan out who he can get to speak, and line up venues. He finds out who is writing new books, all of which are available for purchase at the author's event, and what is being promoted so the most current hot talent comes to Concord.
One topic is "new literary voices" on Sunday, Oct. 24 at 3 p.m. at Kerem Shalom on Elm Street where Iris Gomez, Adam Haslett, Mary E. Mitchell and Cynthia Morrison Phoel will speak about their work hosted by Concord's own Jim Leahy.
Emerson Hospital, a sponsoring organization, is hosting Kevin Davies, author of "The $1,000 Genome" on Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the hospital. Davies wrote "Cracking the Genome" and is the founding editor of Nature Genetics, a journal of the science.
Mitchell can usually be found traversing through town from place to place, wanting to sit in, but also being in charge and putting out myriad fires that crop up, such as seating in a particular room and other ticket sale issues. While most of the events are free and open to the public, seating requires advance reservations and some are paid appearances.
The Friends of the Library are at every event managing book sales and generally assisting with the festival. The Friends are presenting "Suspense Night" on Friday, Oct. 29 at the library where Elyssa East, author of "Dogtown" will be joined by Rosemary Herbert, who wrote "Front Page Teaser, and Raffi Yessayan, author of "2 in the Hat."
David Macaulay, speaking on Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. at the library, is the author of the well known "The Way Things Work" about the human body.
One paid event not to be missed (if you can still get a ticket) is "Breakfast with the Authors," this year featuring Brunonia Barry, Gish Jen and Jon Katz, hosted by Suzanne Koven. The breakfast is at the Colonial Inn.
Mitchell hosts a radio show on WBNW where he interviews authors and gets to know them. He loves to introduce unknown authors on his show and at the festival.
"Even better than putting the festival together is that I will get people on the way up," he said. "That is a lot of fun."
He said 2010 will have "no changes" to the format, although the content changes year to year.
For a complete schedule, go to www.concordfestivalofauthors.com.