Now in its fourth year, the Free Library Festival is the Library’s annual burst of ideas and inspiration! Well on its way to becoming a Philadelphia tradition, the Festival weekend is packed with free programming for all ages, including talks by bestselling authors, poetry readings, musical performances, tours of the Library’s special collections, and programs and activities just for children. A fun, free way to spend the day, the Free Library Festival connects book lovers from throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

Here’s a look at some featured authors, vendors, dealers on display, and more.


Chang-rae Lee | The Surrendered
Chang-rae Lee is the author of the acclaimed novel Native Speaker, the New York Times bestseller Aloft and the New York Times Notable Book A Gesture Life. The Surrendered, his new novel, “looks to be Lee’s epic masterpiece,” commented novelist Junot Díaz. Following three characters throughout the Korean War and well into its aftermath, the novel “bursts with drama and human anguish as it documents the ravages and indelible effects of war…not to be missed,” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
CLEAR Writer’s Salon: Room 108
Saturday, April 17 at 2:00 PM

Harlan Coben | Caught
Mystery writer Harlan Coben has won the Edgar Award, the Shamus Award, and the Anthony Award–he is the first author ever to win all three. His books have debuted at no. 1 on the New York Times Best Sellers list, and his novel Tell No One was adapted into a critically acclaimed French film. The author of more than 37 books, his work includes bestselling novels Long Lost and Hold Tight, as well as the Myron Bolitar mysteries, stories of an ex-basketball star turned sports agent who works part-time as a private investigator. Caught is his latest thriller.
Saturday, April 17, 2010 at 1:00PM
Main Stage: Montgomery Auditorium

Yann Martel | Beatrice and Virgil
Yann Martel is the author of The Life of Pi, winner of the 2002 Man Booker Prize. The story of a young boy—shipwrecked and stranded at sea—with a Bengal tiger and other wild animals, The Life of Pi explores issues of spirituality and practicality through the child’s relationships with the animals aboard his lifeboat. The novel, which earned comparisons to the works of Hemingway, Marquez, and Beckett, became an international bestseller, with millions of copies sold worldwide. In his long-awaited new novel, Beatrice and Virgil, Martel also uses animals to discuss the human condition–in this case, the limitations of language in understanding and describing the horrors of the Holocaust.
Saturday, April 17, 2010 at 4:00PM
Main Stage: Montgomery Auditorium

Antonino D’Ambrosio | A Heartbeat and a Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears
In A Heartbeat and a Guitar, writer/filmmaker Antonino D’Ambrosio tells the story behind Johnny Cash’s little-known 1964 protest album, Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian. Inspired by the Native People’s rights movement, Cash’s controversial lyrics were deemed “unpatriotic,” the Ku Klux Klan threatened stores that carried the album, and radio stations across the country pulled the album from rotation. D’Ambrosio is the writer behind the book and documentary Let Fury Have the Hour: The Punk Politics of Joe Strummer, inspired by The Clash’s cultural activism; he also wrote, directed, and produced the film No Free Lunch starring comedian Lewis Black.

This author event will be accompanied with music performed by Anthony Rizzo, and David Milone and Anthony Roman of Radio 4.
Saturday, April 17, 2010 at 4:00PM
Performance Stage: Shakespeare Park

Tom Moon | 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die: A Listener’s Life List
Tired of listening to the same old music? Check out Tom Moon’s 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die. A music critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer for nearly 20 years, Moon is a two-time recipient of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Music Journalism Award and has contributed reviews to GQ, Rolling Stone, and National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, among others. In this book, Moon uses his expert knowledge to direct listeners to exceptional recordings in genres ranging from classical to jazz, rock, pop, blues, country, folk, musicals, hip-hop, and more.
Sunday, April 18, 2010 at 12:00PM
CLEAR Writers Salon: Room 108

Jimmy Gownley | Amelia Rules: The Tweenage Guide to Not Being Unpopular
Called a “Peanuts for the 21st century” (Comics Buyer’s Guide), Jimmy Gownley’s Amelia Rules comic book series has been nominated for an impressive eight Eisner Awards and earned the author the 2008 Pennsylvania Library Association’s One Book Award. In the latest addition to the series, The Tweenage Guide to Not Being Unpopular, Amelia adjusts to life in a new town after her parent’s divorce and navigates her school’s social circles as she and her friends attempt to avoid being unpopular. Gownley is also the author of Shades of Gray Comics and Stories and co-founder of Kids Love Comics, an organization dedicated to promoting comic books and graphic novels as tools for literacy.
Saturday, April 17, 2010 at 2:30PM
Sprint Story Hour Room: Children’s Dept

Sapphire | Push
Sapphire is the author of two collections of poetry, American Dreams and Black Wings and Blind Angels, as well as the brutal, poignant novel, Push. In Push—the basis for the 2009 prize-winning film Precious—Precious Jones cannot find a way to make a better life for herself. Physically and emotionally abused by her mother, sexually abused by her father, overweight and illiterate, Precious is saved by an incredibly determined teacher who teaches her to read and shows her the power of telling her own story. The film adaptation won the 2009 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize, as well as the Audience Award, and was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards this year, one of which actress Mo’nique won for her role as Precious’ mother.
Sunday, April 18, 2010 at 12:00PM
Main Stage: Montgomery Auditorium

Antwone Fisher | A Boy Should Know How to Tie a Tie: And Other Lessons for Succeeding in Life
Born in an Ohio prison to a teenage mother, Antwone Fisher was placed in foster care, where he suffered 12 years of abuse at the hands of his second foster family. Emancipated and homeless at age 17, Fisher set a new course for his life by joining the United States Navy and serving for 11 years. He revealed his remarkable survivor’s story in Antwone Fisher—an award-winning film written by Fisher and directed by and starring Oscar Award winner Denzel Washington—and in his New York Times bestselling memoir Finding Fish. Fisher is a recipient of the prestigious Humanitas Prize and a 2003 NAACP Image Award, and was named on Variety magazine’s list of “Fifty People in Hollywood to Watch.” His other works include the poetry collection Who Will Cry for the Little Boy?, the acclaimed short film My Summer Friend, and more than a dozen scripts for Hollywood.
Sunday, April 18, 2010 at 3:00PM
Main Stage: Montgomery Auditorium


Mark/Remarque: A Collaborative Portfolio and Other Work by Philadelphia Printmakers
The word remarque is a historical printmaking term which refers to rarity, testing, concept amplification and boundary extension. Historically a remarque was a small vignette image in the margin of a print which related thematically to the main image. This exhibition features the collaborative portfolio Philadelphia Mark:Remarque, consisting of twenty-eight prints by Philadelphia area artists; one additional print by each artist; and several remarqued prints from the Free Library’s Print & Picture Collection. The exhibition is an independent project of Philagrafika 2010, Philadelphia’s international festival celebrating print in contemporary art.

This exhibition will be on display from March 19 through June 20, 2010, during regular Library hours.
Saturday, April 17, 2010 at 9:00AM
West Gallery: 1st Floor

Tours of Parkway Central
Come tour the many treasures of the Parkway Central Library! The Beaux-Arts building opened its doors in 1927, and when you see the updated technology in the newly renovated Music Department, you’ll see that we have come a long way! The tour includes a stop in the Children’s Department to see beautiful paintings by the famed local artist N.C. Wyeth, and the Library also showcases a full collection of Children’s Book Week posters, dating back to the 1920s. Enjoy a behind-the-scenes sneak peek in our closed book stacks, and end the tour with visit to our green roof project.

Meet in the Main Lobby near the information desk for tours leaving on the hour from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.; tours run both days.
Saturday, April 17, 2010 at 1:00PM
Tours of Parkway Central: Main Lobby
Sunday, April 18, 2010 at 1:00PM
Tours of Parkway Central: Main Lobby

Second Annual First Person Inter-City StorySlam: Philly vs. Washington D.C.
It’s not your mama’s StorySlam when the City of Brotherly Love goes head-to-head against the Beltway at the 2nd annual Inter-City StorySlam! Join master storytellers from Philadelphia’s First Person Arts as they compete against the talented tale-spinners from SpeakeasyDC. They’ll be crafting five-minute true stories on the theme “All About My Mother.” Last year’s Slam against Chicago played to a packed house, and it’s time for round two! Come show your love for Philly’s finest raconteurs.

More details about this event, including names of the storytellers from both cities will be announced soon!
Saturday, April 17, 2010 at 5:00PM
Main Stage: Montgomery Auditorium

Ju-Taun (pronounced “zha- tawn”) is an up-and-coming R&B group that hails from Camden, New Jersey. Their smooth style mixes vintage soul music with rhythm and blues—a sound inspired by artists such as Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson. The group gained national attention when they placed second out of thousands of competitors in the MTV hit series MTV’s Top Pop Group. Ju-Taun has toured widely and performed with dozens of famous musical artists, including Chris Brown, Ashanti, Lyfe Jennings, Jagged Edge, Mary Mary, 112, and Tyrese, among others. Their new album, Love Changes Things, was released in June 2009, with notable tracks including “Go Slow” and “Get@Me.”
Sunday, April 18, 2010 at 1:00PM
Performance Stage: Shakespeare Park

TOON Books Authors and Illustrators
An imprint of comic books designed especially for developing readers, ages four and up, TOON books are written by veteran children’s book authors and renowned cartoonists as well as new talents, and have garnered many awards and extensive praise. Join us for a talk by TOON book authors:

Geoffrey Hayes | Benny and Penny in the Toy Breaker
A bestselling author and illustrator of over 40 books for children, Geoffrey Hayes is the winner of the 2010 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for his book Benny and Penny in the Big No-No. His original works for early readers include the classic Bear by Himself and the popular series Otto and Uncle Tooth and Patrick Bear. In his latest book, mice siblings Benny and Penny must find a way to play without toys when their cousin Bo, the “toy breaker,” comes for a visit. Mr. Hayes will be appearing with TOON editorial associate Leigh Stein, who will perform his book.

Nadja Spiegelman and Trade Loeffler | Zig and Wikki: Something Ate My Homework
Written by Nadja Spiegelman and illustrated by Trade Loeffler, this comic book follows the cyclopean alien Zig and his best friend—an encyclopedic robot named Wikki— as they hunt for a pet on a strange new world, where all of the animals seem to want to eat them! A graduate of Yale University’s English program and daughter of the graphic novelist Art Spiegelman, this is Nadja Spiegelman’s first book. Trade Loeffler is the author of the webcomic Zip and Li’l Bit, and has worked as a web designer for Scholastic books, where he contributed to sites for Harry Potter and Captain Underpants.
Sunday, April 18, 2010 at 1:30PM
Sprint Story Hour Room: Children’s Dept

A swinging, high-energy zydeco band, Zydeco-a-Go-Go’s motto is, “Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!”or “Let The Good Times Roll!” Formed in 1992, Zydeco-a-Go-Go is the Mid-Atlantic’s premier practitioner of Louisiana dance music, combining Cajun two-steps with Creole zydeco and classic New Orleans rhythm & blues to keep people moving all night (or day!) long. And just in case you were wondering—zydeco is a syncopated dance music that pairs an accordion with a frattoir or rubboard. The members of Zydeco-a-Go-Go are experienced musicians who have toured with other famous artists, and their album, Let the Good Times Roll, has been highly praised, with Louisiana radio station KBON adding it to their regular playlist.
Sunday, April 18, 2010 at 4:00PM
Performance Stage: Shakespeare Park

Free Library Festival Street Fair and Literary Marketplace

The Free Library Festival’s Street Fair and Literary Marketplace is the place for adults and children alike to explore what’s new in the literary world by visiting the many bookstores, publishers, cultural organizations, and authors who are on-site to sell books, share their missions, and promote literacy in all its diverse forms.

Exhibitors and Vendors at this event include The Academy of Natural Sciences, Chemical Heritage Foundation, Dorrance Publishing, Laurel Hill and West Laurel Hill Cemeteries, Not For Tourists, Philadelphia Great Books Council, Philadelphia Science Fiction Society, Philadelphia Stories, Walk a Crooked Mile Books, Wooden Shoe Books, and more. For a full listing of vendors and exhibitors click here

For a full listing of authors, events, and more; check out the Free Library Festival’s website.

Culture The Free Library Festival of Philadelphia is Coming April 17th and 18th