Black Mountain Public Library to host author fair

Karrigan Monk
Black Mountain News
Clint Bowman (left) and Melisa Pressley (right) have helped organize Black Mountain Public Library's new "Write Local, Read Local" author and illustrator fair.

Black Mountain Public Library branch manager Melisa Pressley and her team noticed a gap in programming at the library and decided to fill it with a new event.

The Black Mountain Public Library will be hosting a “Write Local, Read Local” authors and illustrators fair Nov. 19.

“We don’t have anything like a literary festival in Asheville or in Buncombe County,” Pressley said. “For a few years now we have wanted to offer that kind of programming, especially in a town like Black Mountain because there are so many writers and readers here.”

Pressley said the idea started before the pandemic when they began reaching out to local authors to get an idea of who might be interested in participating. The library kept in contact with these authors and organized the event once the pandemic eased.

Clint Bowman, who has been working with Pressley to organize the fair said there will be at least 15 authors participating.

Each author or illustrator will set up their own table in the Black Mountain Public Library’s education center and will have a chance to sell their work. Pressley said they want people attending the event to think of it as a good time to buy presents for the holidays, but they will also have copies of the work to check out if money is an issue.

Pressley said she hopes the program will be successful enough to expand to other library branches in the county.

“It becomes almost like a pilot project for Buncombe County Public Libraries. If it’s successful, what we’d like to do is be able to replicate it at all the branches. We don’t quite know what that looks like,” Pressley said. “It’s something that if there’s enough interest we would love to continue and maybe grow it a little bit too.”

If the event is successful, Pressley said she hopes to not only expand it to other branches, but also add more to the fair at the Black Mountain Public Library. In the future, she said she hopes to offer readings and writing workshops during the fair in addition to have authors and illustrators available for meet and greets.

Pressley said while the library does not carry a lot of local work, it is something they are working on, and a big part of why she is excited about the event is exposure for local authors.

Bowman agreed that exposure for these local authors is an important outcome for the event and said he hopes the event can continue to grow as well.

“I don’t think anything like this has been done, in the library system anyway, before,” Bowman said. “This is like a pilot program to see how it goes to see what the response is. There’s just so many writers that are based here in Asheville, Black Mountain specifically, that we weren’t even able to get everybody. Hopefully we can continue to grow to where everybody can be represented.”

Pressley said this will likely become an annual event and if authors are interested in participating, they should look for the submission period for the next fair to start in the new year.

The “Write Local, Read Local” fair will be held in the Black Mountain Public Library community education room on Nov. 19 from 1-4 p.m.