Read the event announcment for schedule and other information.

What happens at the Bookfair?

There is a podium set up in the back of the store, with about 30 chairs and some benches. Beginning with the sixth graders at 9:00, we will rotate students at the podium so that each one has a chance to read from their work to a real audience. Before and after students read, they are encouraged to listen to each other. Meanwhile, the store is open for business as usual, and people will be milling around with coffee and shopping for books. Vouchers can be printed here.

What is the wishlist?

Our teachers have set up a wishlist for books they would like to see in their classrooms for student resources. You can buy them right away, and there will be a board where you can remove a tag so we don’t all buy the same book. In addition, every purchase that an SOA person makes (be sure to use the voucher or mention at checkout that you are with SOA) sends a portion of the proceeds back to the Creative Writing Department.

Where and when do students need to be there?

They should be at the Barnes & Noble in Mount Pleasant Towne Centre, with their selected reading, at least 15 minutes before their scheduled time. They should check in in the back of the store with their writing teacher.

Do they need to wear anything special?

They should be dressed in dressy casual clothes — neat and presentable. They don’t need to be as fancy as some of them might get for church, but it isn’t the venue for teen grunge clothing. They have been offered a chance to be treated like adult professional writers, and they should rise to the occasion. Combed hair, brushed teeth, etc. If the t-shirts are here, they can wear Creative Writing shirts.

What sort of behavior is expected of them while they are there?

They will be serving as ambassadors for the Creative Writing Program and SOA. Gum chewing or smacking, hair-twirling, texting, whispering, frappuccino slurping, kicking and nudging one another are all distracting and unacceptable. Even if they are out of sight while waiting to read, they are within earshot. Every reader deserves a group of respectful listeners. In addition, if they are seated, they should look around periodically and see if someone’s parent or grandparent needs a chair.

How can parents help?

Well, since we get a percentage of every sale purchased with a voucher, use vouchers and do your holiday shopping. Have a coffee or sandwich in the cafe (using the voucher). Invite your friends and neighbors to shop that day and hear the kids. Explain the reading and the program to baffled onlookers who aren’t expecting 12-18 year olds to read their own works out loud like seasoned writers. We will have a table set up where people can check wish lists. If you want to volunteer, email Jennifer Courville at to sign up.

If we want a book that’s not here, can we really buy it online and have the Creative Writers still get a benefit?

Yes. Support the SOA Writing Program by shopping at BN.COM/bookfairs and using Bookfair ID 10565265 from 11/19/11 to 11/24/11.

All you ever wanted to know about Wordfest
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