Read all about it Book Festival: Mount Vernon Place event this weekend celebrates the written word.

September 27, 1996

OVER THE YEARS, Baltimore has produced an impressive array of writers, ranging from poets and novelists to scholars. That's why the Baltimore Book Festival -- Saturday and Sunday around Mount Vernon Place -- is such a wonderful concept. The free program will feature readings by local authors, a wide variety of music, cooking demonstrations and, of course, victuals of various sorts and imagination.

For more than eight years, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke has touted Baltimore as "The City That Reads." This festival, inspired by a similar event in Edinburgh, Scotland, is a manifestation of that theme in a way that allows all Baltimoreans and visitors to participate and be amazed at the range of literary activity here.

Consider Paul Coates. Black Classics Press, which he founded, specializes in reprints of hard-to-find landmark books. He is now on the cutting edge of a technological revolution that enables him to computer-print books on demand at 135 pages a minute. Such advances enable him to skip the age-old publisher's guessing-game -- what number of books to print -- and frees him from storage costs and problems. At the festival, Black Classics Press will hold a workshop on self-publishing.

Another tool that is changing and expanding the horizons of the written word is the Internet. The festival's Global Village area will try to explain this evolving medium with online demonstrations.

Mount Vernon Place is an urban gem. Through the efforts of its main institutions -- the Walters Art Gallery and the Peabody Conservatory -- and individuals such as businesswoman Constance Caplan, determined efforts have been made to remove tarnish from that gem. It was recently announced that the Flower Mart, Mount Vernon's traditional May festival, will resume next year after a one-year hiatus, celebrating its 80th anniversary. The Book Festival is a wonderful idea for an autumn event to draw even more people to this historic downtown site.

Pub Date: 9/27/96

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