TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Nine years after it began the Tucson Festival of Books has become one of the largest in the U.S.
Brenda Viner is one of the founders. She says, “The early days we were closer to five or six acres. We're now ten acres. We've spread almost from Old Main to Campbell."
Mayor Jonathan Rothschild says the festival is good for the local economy and good for an educated population.
"People who read and read critically are what we need as a society what we've always needed as a society.
The festival is free but so large it calls for some planning. Events are free but the biggest events do require tickets. Advance ticketing is already finished but 25 percent of the seats will be open for last minute walk-ups.
The Festival produced a 63 page guide. The Arizona Daily Star published it in last Sunday’s paper. It will be in distribution boxes throughout the grounds. They other thing they've done is create a phone app that works on both Android and iPhone. The good thing about the app is if there's a last minute change, maybe a presentation in a new room the app will show it.
Plan on checking map in the guide to see where to go, including for parking. Most surface lots near UA are free. CatTran shuttles will make the rounds, and you can come in by streetcar.
Among the presenters will be two people dedicated to finding poetry in the world around them: United States Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera and Tucson Poet Laureate TC Tolbert.
Herrera feels poetry in Tucson's Saguaros, the landscape, and ties to Mexico.
He says, “That's a lot of rich material and a lot of Spanish and indigenous culture so we have a lot to work with, you know? And the trans community, LGBTQ community the artist community we have here. I am totally in love with this city."
Tucson Poet Laureate TC Tolbert says, “The hearts that I experience in Tucson are truly overwhelming. They're actually a lot like the Saguaro I would say in that there's some toughness and also a lot of tenderness on the insides."
If you want to see the poets or any of the authors, the Festival is so large it takes some planning to make the most of it.
You can see schedules on an extensive website and there are printed guides on site.