I was lucky enough to attend the Savannah Book Festival this year, and it was incredible. It’s four days featuring writers from all genres and walks of life. Along with a kick-off, keynote and closing address that requires a small fee, there’s the free Saturday. Forty authors were present and shared information about their writing style, their books and how the ideas came about, along with funny stories.
I saw four authors: Alexandra Horowitz, Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, Jane Green, and Yaa Gyasi. I wanted to see more, but my ride downtown ran late, and I missed out on some of the speakers.
Alexandra Horowitz was one of my favorites. Her topic may seem strange, but that’s what makes it fascinating. Her book Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know, discusses how dogs perceive the world around them. It’s very different from us since smell is their first line of recognization. Her talk was both funny and informative. I loved it.
Former EW writer, Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s latest book Seinfeldia looks at the show about nothing as an allegory for everything. Her subject matter made for interesting discussion and questions. People wanted to know about the legality of the book and if she spoke with the stars, and what she thought of the final episode.
Though a well-known name, Jane Green is not an author I’ve read. I’m planning on remedying that soon. In any case, her talk was beautiful and hilarious. She told stories about finding inspiration and described her writing process.
The final talk I attended on Saturday was by the lovely Yaa Gyasi. Hers was the talk I was most interested in as I’ve read part of Homegoing and was enthralled. She blew my mind. In her talk, she discussed her characters and the inspiration behind the different parts of the novel. Along with it, she taught a room full of white people about history and gave them something to think about it regarding changing the future.
“A century is but a breath,” she said while reminding us that slavery, and segregation were not that long ago. One of her examples was Ruby Bridges, who at six years old was the first child to desegregate a white elementary school in Louisianna. At the time of this writing, she is only 62 years old. We’d like to think that these moments and people are far in the past when in fact these events have happened in our lifetime or our parents’ lifetime.
Ms. Gyasi had many tough questions thrown her way regarding race in America. She was poised and provided thoughtful answers each time. I’m still wrapping my mind around all she had to say.
The festival was excellent. A huge thank you goes out to Savannah and the orchestrators of this event. I’m ready for next year.