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Bowling Green, Kentucky hosted SOKY Book Fest on Western Kentucky University’s campus the last weekend of April.

Angie Thomas presented as one of the keynote speakers, demonstrating her activism through the spoken and written word. She urged the audience to use their own voices to make a difference as well. I noted that these opportunities present themselves more often than we realize because they seem so small or ordinary. Thomas’s readers laughed repeatedly with her pop culture references, particularly when she shared that she couldn’t relate to Twilight during its popularity reign (I found that to be a positive sign). A message we all needed to heed, Thomas spoke poignantly, intelligently and engagingly about the importance of using our voice rather than remaining silent.

Ann Gabhart returned again, this time coinciding with the release of her latest historical fiction novel The Refuge. She even remembered speaking to me last year, so we had a nice chat about her books and the disruption social media makes on the reading life. A Kentucky resident herself, Gabhart shared her historical influences on her books during a panel discussion I attended.

This festival brings so many authors and readers together and gives numerous opportunities to learn about the writing process through author panel discussions and even writers workshops. The authors engage with the readers as they mingle, and the whole experience brings so much insight. I have enjoyed each of my visits immensely.