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Book Fair provides platform for authors and local businesses

The Iowa City Book Fair was on Oct. 14 and featured both local and national authors to promote their books.

Natalie Dunlap, Reporter

A display at the Book Festival is made unique from the others by the row of lights hanging from the table.

Jeffrey Ryan’s 1985 Volkswagen has taken him across the country to promote his book, and this past weekend it rolled into Iowa City.

Ryan was one of several authors that set up their booths at the Merge building downtown Saturday morning for the Iowa City Book Fair. A display of colorful paper backs, business cards, pamphlets and food sat on foldable tables, where attendants of the fair had the opportunity to speak with the authors one-on-one about their stories.

“Appalachian Odyssey” and “Blazing Ahead” are Ryan’s two books. “Appalachian Odyssey” is the true story of how Ryan and his childhood friend hiked the Appalachian Trail piece by piece in the span of 28 years.
“I was five years from the end of it and I had taken good notes and been taking pictures the whole time. I finally realized this was gonna be a book and I wrote it and it really took off,” Ryan said.

The Iowa City Book Festival has substantially grown over the past nine years with new events and more partners such as Iowa Writers House, Ice Cube Press and the Iowa Review. The book fair has been the main attraction since the first event in 2008.

“The book fair has really been a key part of it from the very beginning,” said John Kenyon, City of Literature Organizer, who’s been running the festival since 2012.

Eliza David wrote the first book of her series in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) of 2014. The five book series took took a total of eight months to write.

“All of my books are self published so I’m indie to the core,” she said.

David came to Iowa City from Chicago in 2000 and this was her third year at the fair.

“One thing I like about coming to the book festival is I’m one of the few romance writers here so it kind of gives me a little niche so I can be kind of that romance voice for the community,” David said.

One of Kenyon’s goals each year is to broaden attendant’s exposure to different kinds of books.

“[I want to] shine a light on the great work being done by authors here in Iowa City,” Kenyon said. “But also try to bring in the best and brightest writers for around the country to expose them to Iowa City’s audience and to show people in Iowa City what’s out there.”

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Book Fair provides platform for authors and local businesses