Author expo showcases local talent

Author expo showcases local talent

Margaret McNulty, assistant director of the Woonsocket Harris Public Library, displays some of the books by local authors that will be available at the library’s author expo on Saturday. (Breeze photo by Lauren Clem)

WOONSOCKET – On Saturday, local writers and dedicated readers will descend on the Woonsocket Harris Public Library for an author expo hosted by the Association of Rhode Island Authors in partnership with library staff.

Readers will have the opportunity to purchase signed books directly from the authors and speak with writers about the publishing process, while authors will have the chance to connect with readers in the community and perhaps meet some new fans.

The author expo will take place at the Woonsocket Harris Public Library from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 9. The event is free and open to all ages. Books will be available for purchase.

“We need to support our local people, and what better venue than a library to be a concierge for our local community?” said Margaret McNulty, assistant director of the library.

Books by 24 authors will feature a variety of genres, including fantasy, romance, mystery and nonfiction, and be suitable for readers from children to adults. The event is the first of its kind to be held in Woonsocket.

“We’ve had authors come individually, but this is our biggest event we’ve had,” said McNulty.

The expo follows in the success of many similar events hosted around the state by the Association of Rhode Island Authors, which member and North Smithfield-based author Bob Sherman said includes about 279 members of all ages and genres around the state. According to Sherman, the event prioritizes authors from northern Rhode Island, but readers can expect to meet authors from other parts of the state as well.

“Here, we wanted authors who live in northern Rhode Island. Once we hear from those folks, we open it up to anyone else,” he said.

The organization serves as a support network for local writers working to promote their books and navigate the complexities of the publishing process. While new formats like self-publishing, e-books and online retailers have opened up opportunities for writers in recent years, they’ve also created new questions about how to connect with readers in the modern literary world.

According to McNulty, the expo is a good opportunity for young writers interested in learning more about the publishing process to connect with writers who’ve done it before.

In an age of large publishing houses and bookstore chains, McNulty said local writers can still hold sway with readers, especially in the summer, when readers seek out works that showcase Rhode Island’s ocean landscapes. Works by authors at the expo will include some of those beach reads, but they’ll also include books that call to mind the northern part of the state.

While the library does not currently have a “local authors” section, McNulty said she hopes to form one with donations of books from some of the authors at the expo. She said she hopes the event helps bring readers together with writers whose stories they’ll enjoy and gain an appreciation for the work that goes into writing a book.