Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Local festival to bring "The Walking Dead" to Providence

Those who attend The Providence Literary Festival on September 13 at the Providence VFW will be a part of history in the making. Not only will they have the chance to meet a NY Times Bestselling Author, they will also have the chance to listen as the author himself presents the world premiere first reading of his book “The Walking Dead: Descent” a month before it is released to the public.

That author is Jay Bonansinga, a Chicago-based author of both fiction and non-fiction. His credits include Bram Stoker finalist The Black Mariah and International Thriller Writers Award finalist Shattered as well as four Walking Dead novels that have all been named NY Times Best sellers.
“When I first started putting this event together, I reached out to some authors I knew online and asked for some names of people I could get who might get us some attention,” said Matthew Alan Hughes, a Providence native. “Jay’s name came up, and at the time I had just finished reading the third book in the series. I did not think there was any way he would come to Providence, but I asked anyway.”
“It has much to do with Kentucky being walker territory and within driving distance,” Bonansinga said when asked why he was interested in coming to the event. “And also being in on the ground floor of something. This could become like the Cannes film festival, and I was there at the start!”
Bonansinga became involved in the Walking Dead phenomena through his agent, who was friends with the agent of Walking Dead creator and Kentucky native Robert Kirkman.
“They were looking for a horror novelist to work in a different medium for The Walking Dead,” Bonansinga said. At that point the graphic novels were already a hit, and the television show was just about to air on AMC. “I’d read issue one through five of the graphic novel and thought it was great, but I didn’t know much about the TV show. I had no idea what I was getting into.”
Bonansinga’s reading will be held across the parking lot from the VFW at the Providence Community Food Bank. Although the festival itself is free, there will be a $10 admission fee for the reading due to capacity issues. Tickets will be on sale starting at 10:00 a.m. in the day of the event.
In addition to Bonansinga, the event, which will last from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., will feature twenty local and regional authors. Their genres will range from horror to financial self help. There will be both fiction and non-fiction authors on hand as well.
“I really had no idea we had this much talent in our area,” said Hughes. “Jay Bonansinga will draw the crowds, but this event is really about those folks. We’ll have authors there who are educators, masons and factory workers during the day, but pound out stories on their computers at night. Those folks really need their local communities to get behind them.”
Hughes is an author himself.  He has published two horror novels and has been included in three separate horror anthologies. In 2012 he was part of an anthology called The Ghost IS the Machine which featured fifteen horror authors, including Hughes and Joe Hill, the son of horror legend Steven King.
“I’m a horror author and of course Jay is a horror author, but I don’t want people to think this is just going to be about horror,” Hughes explained. “We have something for everybody. If you like to read, you need to be there.”
Hughes said he hopes to make The Providence Literary Festival a yearly event with the intention of bringing at least one highly successful author to town each time. A strong showing of support from the community will help to make that dream a reality.
“A lot of authors have a busy schedule, and not all of them are willing to take a chance on a unknown event the way Jay did,” Hughes said. “If we have an unbelievable turnout this year, we can use those numbers to attract other authors in the future.”

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