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    As the weather gets cool, there’s nothing better than curling up with a good book by the fireplace. Don’t get too cozy, though, because you’ll want to head to the ninth annual Books by the Banks! From the Kid’s Corner and Teen Scene to publishing how-to panels and author meet-and-greets, read on for all the page-turning details about this year’s event.

    The 9th annual Books by the Banks will be held Oct. 17 at the Duke Energy Center.
    The 9th annual Books by the Banks will be held Oct. 17 at the Duke Energy Center.

    For bookworms, there aren’t too many things more satisfying than sitting down with a good book; except maybe attending one of the best book festivals in the Midwest.

    Books by the Banks: Cincinnati USA Book Festival is an annual celebration in the Tri-State that has one goal: To entertain and enrich of lives of those living in Southwest Ohio/Northern Kentucky by presenting and promoting authors while celebrating the joy of literacy and lifelong learning through reading.

    “The day-long festival (taking place on Oct. 17), which is free and open to the public, features more than 150 national, regional and local authors and illustrators, book signings, panel discussions and activities for the entire family to enjoy,” explains Books by the Banks Planning and Operations Team Leader Sandy Bolek. “The festival is one of the biggest and most prestigious events of its kind in the Midwest.”

    Bolek adds that in addition to many local and regional authors, best-selling national authors are also in the lineup, including Rainbow Rowell, Anthony Marra, Kevin Kwan, Sharon Draper, Tad Hills, James and Kimberly Dean and John and Sherry Petersik.

    “Activities for the entire family to enjoy will take place in the Kids Corner and Teen Scene,” adds Bolek. “Panel discussions will take place throughout the day as well.”

    While you can meet all of the authors in the Author Pavilion, some of those attending will discuss their work and other musings in rooms 206, 211 and 212 at the Duke Energy Center. Panel discussions and sessions at 10:00 a.m. including Memoirs, Liftoff: Writers with 1st Books and Cookbook Conversations. The 11:00 a.m. sessions include Thrillers, African American Leaders in the Fight for Civil Rights and Kevin Kwan while 12:00 p.m. sessions are John and Sherry Petersik, New Fiction and True Crime. The 1:00 p.m. sessions will feature Rainbow Rowell, Cincinnati Then and Now and Spirited Libations. The final sessions of the afternoon, which begin at 2:00 p.m., include Notable Nonfiction, Children’s Middle Grade and Anthony Marra.

    Bolek says that the Author Pavilion will not only include these special sessions, but it’s also an opportunity to purchase books and even get them signed by the authors in attendance.

    The local organization Women Writing for (a) Change will be hosting the popular “Writing & Getting Published” series, which includes panel discussions covering hot topics for writers as well as workshops to help you hone in on the craft of writing.

    Those who are planning on bringing little ones with them will love the Kids’ Corner. Children’s book authors James and Kimberly Dean, Tad Hills and more will be in attendance as well as book characters and library mascots including Bad Kitty, Curious George, Paddington Bear, Rufus the Reading Dog, Wild Thing and Shakespurr the Library Lion. Musical crafts, Playhouse in the Park, face painting, a music lab, balloon twisting and a performance by The Singing Library Joel Caithamer will also be at Books by the Banks.

    Teen Scene, a space designed just for teenagers, will feature interactive author events including the Iron Chef of Writing, Lip Sync Battle Royale and a VIP meet and greet. Other activities at Teen Scene include 3-D printers, Egg Bot, LED throwies, cassette tape notebooks, trivia and locker bling as well as a photo booth, arcade games, a juke box, an interactive chalkboard and a collaborative coloring wall.

    There’s also a new offering to this year’s festival: cash prizes. “For the first time ever, the festival will award cash prizes to authors selected for its inaugural Author Awards, sponsored by the Scripps Howard Foundation,” says Bolek. “Fans can vote on the Books by the Banks website for several People’s Choice categories. Separate awards for a short story writing contest sponsored by The George and Margaret McLane Foundation will also be awarded to selected adult and teen entrants.”

    There are several sponsors for this year’s event including: Ohio Humanities, George & Margaret McLane Foundation, The Louise Taft Semple Foundation, the Scripps Howard Foundation, The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr. US Bank Foundation, Northern Kentucky University and The Library Foundation of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

    The 9th annual Books by the Banks will be held on Saturday, Oct. 17 from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. at the Duke Energy Center. Admission to attend is free.

    To learn more about Books by the Banks, click here.