Monday, September 26, 2011

A Great Annual Event: Northwest BookFest, and a Great Organization: The Women's National Book Association

Every year there's a great book lovers/book industry confab called Northwest BookFest in the Seattle area. This year it's on October 1 and 2. Up to ten thousand people are expected to attend, and Karlene and I will be two of them! Heather would come, too, but she lives too far away :-(

There will be hundreds of best-selling and local authors at BookFest, with over fifty author panels, book signings,writing and publishing workshops, award-winning journalist and artist presentations, and programs for all ages. In addition, several large publishers, literacy groups, writers associations and Seattle newspaper groups will have booths at BookFest. And, of course, there will be food and wine.

If you live anywhere near Seattle, try to make it to BookFest (10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. each day). Click here for the program. Karlene and I will not only be there to check out all the good stuff, but we're going to be among those who represent the Seattle Chapter of a great organization called the Women's National Book Association (WNBA--no relation to basketball--this WNBA was formed in 1917!). WNBA Seattle will have a table at BookFest, so if you can come to the event, stop by and say hello! Even though Heather won't be able to make it, she's a member of WNBA, too, and I'm taking a copy of her book to show off.

So, a little more about the WNBA, in case you'd like to join a chapter near you. Founded in New York City before women had the right to vote, the purpose of the national organization is to promote reading and support the role of women (and men) in the community of the book. Libraries have always been at the core of the WNBA, and over time, the organization's embrace expanded to include everything from literacy initiatives to reading groups and hands-on support for the creation, development and promotion of books . Each chapter develops its own mission statement, as well as honoring the national purpose. In Seattle, ours is: Connecting book lovers with professionals in the book industry, and promoting women's careers in book publishing.

There are opportunities for writers who are WNBA members to be involved with educational efforts regarding these goals, meet authors and others involved in various aspects of the book industry, and also get support for their own efforts to publicize their books (more about that below).

There are now ten WNBA chapters across the U.S., including Boston, Charlotte, Detroit, Los Angeles, Nashville, New Orleans, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., in addition to New York. You can be a member whether you live in one of those cities or not. (The national website, below, explains how.)

The WNBA maintains a presence at the United Nations as an NGO (non-governmental organization); is the sponsor of National Reading Group Month across the country (each chapter holds an event with author panels and other literary discussions to "celebrate the joy of shared reading"); and each chapter participates in Great Group Reads—a program through which major publishers select books they want to promote and send copies to the chapters each summer, then the members who read them report their evaluations, and the national WNBA committee announces its selections for that year.

National WNBA also publishes a magazine called The Bookwoman, where these and other activities are reported, and news from each chapter is presented. If you, as a member, have done something publicly notable with your writing, like winning a contest for aspiring authors, or publishing a book etc., your chapter can submit an article about that to be published in the magazine. Bookwoman goes to libraries and bookstores across the country, as well as to each member. And finally, the national WNBA website is a goldmine of information and opportunity. Chapters can submit up to three book cover photos to be included on a featured books page of the website, where the photos will rotate (one of these could be your published book). And, there are opportunities for members to have their book-related blogs listed on the national website, too.

Here's the link for the national website:  Check it out.
And if you're interested in  the Seattle Chapter, go to for information about upcoming events and how to join. Karlene is the Seattle Chapter Membership Chair and will help you out!

How exciting to think about getting to meet some of you in person through a fun, productive book organization. That would be wonderful!



  1. I wish I could be there with you ladies but I'm so happy to have joined WNBA! Next year this is on my list of events to attend. One of our Indie Elite members, Cyndi Tefft, author of Between will be there!

  2. I will look for Cyndi, Heather, thanks! I wish you could be here this year, too!

  3. It sounds great! Silly me still has yet to go to a conference. ;)

  4. Your new agent might push you that direction, Lydia! But I know how hard it is when you've got kids and a job.

  5. There are so many clubs, I can't decide. This one sounds great!

  6. Laura, it's a fun way to get to go listen to author panels that the chapter you join sets up, and to get to know other writers/book people. A nice break from working so hard at your job all the time. But yes, organizations can take your time, so you have to be selective! Personally, I find WNBA a comfortable blend of intellectual and pragmatic.

  7. Linda, Thank you for sharing both exciting opportunities! I'm looking forward to seeing you at BookFest... and, so glad we found the WNBA.

  8. Hi! As the force behind the start of the Seattle chapter, it is so gratifying to see you enjoying the Association and bringing it into the Seattle lit community. Let us know if you need anything else to make this a great experience! (I assume you know that you can give away copies of the latest edition of the Bookwoman?) Best, Joan

  9. Hi Joan, so great to meet you! Yes, we're loving the Seattle WNBA, and looking forward to lots of networking, good programs and great energy interacting with the book community. Bookwoman is wonderful, and you're so right--giving it away will be a wonderful way to spread the word about the WNBA. Thanks so much for mentioning it, for your support and your offer of help. And for stopping by!

  10. Em, I wish you could, too! Are you anywhere near a wnba chapter? Might be worth a look.

  11. Hi Linda,
    I found your blog through Julie Fedderson's blog post comments. And I am a fellow Seattle writer! What a small world :-)
    I will definitely try to come to the BookFest and find you, ladies.
    All the best,

  12. Wow, that is fantastic, Angela. I can't wait to meet you. I'm scheduled to be at the WNBA booth from 4-6 p.m. on Saturday. (Don't you love Julie? She makes me laugh so much, her blog is a special treat.)

  13. Angela... we'll be looking for you! I'll be at the booth 2-4.

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