Sophomore marketing major Finn Le was startled to see an email inviting her to the Inaugural Local Authors Day.
“At first I thought my book would only be on the shelf,” Le said.
Le wasn’t expecting to actually speak on a panel with other authors. She joined 15 other authors on Thursday at Eunice and James L. West Library to participate in the event, which was held in the Orientation Room and included three panels: personal development, poetry, and fiction. Wesleyan’s bookstore set up a table to sell the authors’ books.
“I feel somewhat proud,” said Le, whose self-published book features photos of Wesleyan international students. “I did not expect it (my book) to go anywhere because honestly I just made this project for fun.”
Even so, she had a supporter in the crowd.
“I know one person that has a book, Finn, and I came because I saw her name,” sophomore business management major Anthony Harper II said. “She’s one of my best friends and I really wanted to see her accomplishments.”
The crowd didn’t quite meet reference assistant Risa Brown’s expectations in numbers but it exceeded them in quality.
“I really expected a huge crowd,” Brown said. “I put out 50 chairs and thought ‘Oh, I hope that’s enough’ but I feel like the people who came were really interested so in that regard I’m very pleased with who came, the good discussion that we had and just how receptive everyone was to everyone else. That part was really good.”
Brown, who organized the event, had certain criteria for the Wesleyan student, teacher, or alumni authors that participated in the event.
“My criteria was that I wanted them to write fiction, poetry, or memoir,” Brown said. “I didn’t want them to write in their academic field. I wanted something outside of the norm, outside of their job description. I didn’t know how many we’d get.”
The authors responded beyond Brown expectations.
“I thought maybe if we get two or three that would be a nice discussion but it just seemed like the longer I’d advertised it the, the more people responded,” Brown said. “I didn’t get anybody that had written a memoir, which I thought was kind of interesting, but I did have the two authors that had written person development, self-help kinds of books. Though it was strictly limited to those categories, we just had so many people that just came out.”
Another one of those authors that responded to the call was Dr. Twyla Miranda, director of the Ed.D. program. Miranda is the author of Longfeather Ponds: A Bobcat’s Tale, Longfeather Ponds: A Chipmunk’s Tale, and The Beagles’ Tale: A Longfeather Ponds Adventure.
“Risa asked,” Miranda said. “It was a good chance to share books but also to hear from all these other great authors.”
Miranda’s favorite part of the event was listening to her fellow fiction authors, Dr. Steve Sherwood and Dr. Chris Manno, talk about their books. Brown agreed.
“My favorite part was just being almost one on one with the authors at the event even though everybody was watching,” Brown said. “I got to ask the questions that I really wanted to and I got amazing responses. I was excited at how in-depth and how insightful their answers were.”
Brown hopes to do the event again next year and include even more authors.
“Well, I hope we have another event,” said Brown. “I would just like the opportunity to meet more authors. I don’t feel like I found them all this time so I think that would be my next thing.”