Before the Verse & Vino committee recovers from one literary weekend, the dates are set for the next, and attention quickly turns to identifying, inviting, and confirming five featured authors. Karen Beach, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation’s deputy director, spearheads this effort with a finesse she attributes to equal parts experience, tenacity, gut instinct, luck and timing.
Every year, attendees tell us that the author lineup sets our events apart from other annual fundraisers and festivals. The combination of authors must strike the right balance of genre, personality, and audience appeal. Each must have at least one New York Times bestselling title, and a fall book release.
Over the years, Beach has developed relationships with publishers and literary agents across the country, and she cultivates those relationships each spring at the Book Expo America convention, where our team collects books, recommendations, and observes the speaking style of prospective invitees.
Once home, invitations are sent to our top choices, and the waiting game begins. As each invitee accepts or declines to appear, the entire slate is reviewed for balance before another invitation is issued. As authors confirm, members of the committee read each new book – often pre-published copies – and provide descriptive summaries to Todd Murphy, the event planner who develops the look of a vignette for each author, where they’ll sign books in environments straight from the pages of their imaginations.
On the evening of Verse & Vino, every detail comes together as the authors mingle with readers and celebrate the importance of our Library and all libraries…and we know we’ll do it all again next year.