The Second Annual Kansas City Literary Festival is past now and I noted that John Mark Eberhart, Book Editor for the Kansas City Star has a few observations about what the future might hold in store for this young event. His assessment, which appeared in the Sunday arts and entertainment edition of the Star, was a good honest look at the event.
Eberhart noted that the event did a good job of recognizing local authors and giving poets a strong presence at the event. But Eberhart sees a problem with the lack of big name draws. It isn't that they have not been booked, but in the two years hear - circumstances have lead to last minute cancellations of the top billed authors both years. Such things are bound to happen. That is why he urges the powers that be to book top name authors across several genres. It both broadens the pool of public interest and lessens the chance that the event looses it's top draw, as there would be more than one.
These suggestions are wise ones. If there was much of an increase in foot traffic at the event the second year, I could not tell it. I don't believe it was any less attended, but I didn't see measurable growth.
The planners do deserve a lot of credit. But there were shortcomings. The official web site was black till quite close to the event. Something I found inexcusable for an event that was anticipated even as last years packed up.
I can't say enough about the support they have given the poetry community. The poetry stage was well organized and featured a good cross section of local talent.
The organizers would do well to take Eberhart's Sunday article and use it to shape a blueprint for next years event. It would do a lot to assuring this thrives in Kansas City for years to come.