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Winston-Salem's Bookmark Festival

Danny 4 Peace

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Bookmarks, a book festival that's free to the public, will be held from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at Old Salem. The festival is presented by the Junior League of Winston-Salem, which has lined up a phenomenal list of 108 national, regional and local authors for book signings, readings, presentations and demonstrations. Nationally known authors include novelists John Ehle of Winston-Salem and Michael Chabon, who is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and the screenwriter for Spiderman 2; nonfiction writers Maya Angelou of Winston-Salem and Tim Tyson; mystery writer Nevada Barr; and children's-book writers Carol Boston Weatherford, Carmen Tafolla and Kim Underwood. Stage and screen star Rosemary Harris of Winston-Salem will give a reading, and acclaimed storyteller Donald Davis will perform. The festival offers a plethora of fiction, history, mystery, travel, poetry, folklore, Appalachian fiction, nonfiction, cookbooks, storytelling, workshops, children's and youth literature and music. Booksellers and food vendors will also be on hand. Bookmarks is an event that has evolved from two successful Junior League of Winston-Salem projects: the annual Read to Me Festival and the annual Book and Author luncheon. The 2003 Read to Me Festival drew 2,200 participants. With this kind of lineup of writers in one place, I have a feeling that they will exceed that this year. Get there early. For more information, call 722-9681 or visit the Web site at www.bookmarksbookfestival.org

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Readers, writers gather for Bookmarks festival

More than 5,000 attend, Junior League organizers say

By Sherry Youngquist


Some children went a-sailing on pirate adventures yesterday. Others nearby shouted "Bravo!" at the end of a reading about an animal symphony.

Their enthusiasm left many parents smiling as they maneuvered strollers and bags of reading loot at the first Bookmarks festival in Old Salem.

"I didn't realize it would be so big and so many people," said Helen Grosch, who walked around the festival with her friend Sara Nutter.

"We just left the children's events. There were so many performers over there. It was hard to leave," Nutter said.

Bookmarks: Winston-Salem's Festival of Books was sponsored by the Junior League of Winston-Salem. The daylong celebration of writing, reading and storytelling attracted more than 5,000 people, organizers said. There were more than 100 writers taking part in readings, workshops, panel discussions and demonstrations.

Organizers say they hope to make Bookmarks an annual festival.

"Everybody needed something new, something happening close to downtown," said Bridget Reynolds of the Junior League of Winston-Salem. "We try to remember 9/11 today. We try to pull it in a positive direction, to think of something positive today."

Mayor Allen Joines said that the festival is an important part of the region's move toward an economy based on knowledge. In a welcoming ceremony yesterday, he spoke about the need also to remember the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Joines introduced three recipients of the Medal of Honor - Joseph Marm, Rodolpho P. Hernandez and Bob Patterson - who were included in the book Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty. Gordon Roberts, another Medal of Honor recipient, was unable to attend.

Rosemary Harris, a Winston-Salem actress who plays Aunt May in the Spider-Man movies, read aloud an essay from the book depicting a 20-year-old Hernandez who in 1951 charged North Koreans in an effort to allow fellow soldiers time to reload and regroup.

Hernandez was badly wounded and at one point was pronounced dead before others realized that he was alive.

Hernandez, speaking later in the day at a panel discussion, said he never felt he was a hero.

"The men who are dead are heroes," he said.

Some asked Hernandez, Marm and Patterson whether, if they could do it all over again, would they? And to that, each answered that he would.

"I was young and carefree," Marm said. "If I knew what I know now, I might have second thoughts. But you have to do certain things in combat.... Most recipients feel they wear the medal for all the brave soldiers who were in that battle with us whose actions go unsung."

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