Local News

Where the authors meet readers: Bookstock 2015

Browsers take in the literary delights at the annual Bookstock literary festival, held in Woodstock over the weekend.

By Stephen Seitz

WOODSTOCK – It’s not called hoarding when you pile up the books.

Cindy Martin of Andalusia, Ala., was one of many visitors who left with an armload of fresh purchases.

“This is how I have fun,” she said. “I’m a schoolteacher in Alabama, and I’m always looking for new things to read.”

Every year, Bookstock: The Green Mountain Literary Festival attracts readers and authors to the town of Woodstock in central Vermont to hear the poets, meet new authors, and attend readings on wide-ranging topics from history and psychology to more prosaic subjects as retirement, gardening and cooking.

This year, the Coolidge Foundation sent its education director, Diane Kemble, to spread the word about the 30th U.S. president.

“We thought it would be a wonderful idea to bring some of the books about Coolidge to Bookstock,” she said. “The Plymouth site is just 15 minutes away, and  it’s a good chance to talk about the historic site as well.”

Over in the vendors’ area, the state of New Hampshire had a strong presence this year.

Hobblebush Books is a small specialty press based in Brookline, N.H. Besides their line of books, the company also specializes in cover design, and it assists small publishers and academic presses. Publisher Sid Hall said his company works with such schools as Harvard and Boston University. The company also helps those who self-publish to create their final products.

“We specialize in poetry,” he said. “I’m a poet myself. We do what we call the Hobblebush Granite State Poetry Series. We publish the current poet laureate of New Hampshire, the previous one, the previous one to that, and a number of other topnotch New Hampshire poets.”

Hall said this was his first appearance at Bookstock.

“It’s a great crowd of people who know books and love books,” he said. ”We’ve made some great contacts with people. It’s been fun.”

Another first-time vendor came from Whitefield, N.H., in the far northern part of the state. Rebecca Matthews, accompanied by her husband and daughter, writes fiction for the Christian market.

“Back in the early 2000s,” she said, “I wanted to share what it was like when somebody started a relationship with Christ, and how that would look in their relationships with other people. I just started writing the novel, and I’ve enjoyed it greatly. Now, I’m on my third adult fiction, my second children’s book.”

While many writers of such fiction publish on their own, Matthews has found a publisher for her work.

“I do have a publisher, Tate Publishing from Mustang, Oklahoma,” she said. “They’re a Christian-run family organization. They’re great to work with, and I’ve now been made publisher for life, so for the rest of my books I don’t have to pay a fee to get started.”

She said her work has been well received thus far.

“I’ve had great reaction for my first book, ‘The Light Within’,” Matthews said. “My second book, ‘Marie’s Watch,’ deals with mental illness, and I’ve had mixed reviews on that one, but in general my three books have been received very well.”

Ron Miller, Bookstock’s executive director, said things had gone well this year and that attendance had been good.

“Now we’ll take a few months off,” he said. “Usually, we start to think about the next one in December, and start planning in January.”

Bookstock runs for three days every July on a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. For more information visit bookstockvt.org.

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