In the days leading up to last year's Authors on the Greene at Historic Smithville, organizer Wendy Birkbeck, owner of Smithville's Through the Looking Glass tea shop, was nervous about how things would go. When the date finally came, it succeeded far beyond her expectations.
On Sept. 14, Through the Looking Glass will hold its second annual Authors on the Greene event.
Birkbeck said she's confident it will be an even bigger success than the first.
"It was just a really nice day," Birkbeck said. "Everything went smoothly. It was great, so I'm hoping we get at least double the people we had last year."
This year's event, which will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., features area authors whose works are in all genres, from biographies to children's books. It also will feature a musical performance in the gazebo by local artist Rebecca Nell.
Birckbeck got the idea to hold the event from one of her neighbors in the village, the alternative clothing shop Underground, which holds a biannual event called the Smithville Artwalk that features the work of dozens of area artists on the Village Greene. The second of this year's Artwalk will take place Sept. 7 at Smithville.
Last year's Authors on the Greene event drew 42 authors, while this year's boasts a roster of 51, its expansion the result of to positive word-of-mouth in the local writing community, Birkbeck said.
Hammonton author Paul Pedersen took part in last year's event after he heard about it through a friend, Brian K. Johnson, who owns the Herban Legend boutique in Smithville. Pedersen said he had a great time participating both because it afforded him an opportunity to talk shop with other authors as well as meet the public.
"It's a great day for authors, and it's a great day for the public, because the authors will open up to anybody who will sit there and talk to them," Pedersen said.
Pedersen will showcase his book "The Legendary Pine Barrens," a collection of short stories about the region, some of them original and some riffs on well-known tales.
Birkbeck has been getting word out through local media and Facebook, and many authors have been advertising it on their personal websites, so Birkbeck is expecting a big crowd this year.
When it first opened in May 2011, Through the Looking Glass offered a wide variety of books in addition to its exotic teas and tea accessories, but the bookstore element returned poor profits, so she scaled back her efforts.
Still, Birkbeck keeps room on her shelves for local authors, who she believes to be an important part of local culture.
Having these authors at her event is a privilege, she says, and one that the community should take advantage of.
"They'll sit there and talk to somebody for as long as somebody needs to be talked to, about the area or their books," Birkbeck said.
"All the authors are just so friendly and open and nice."
Contact Braden Campbell:
If you go
Through the Looking Glass' second annual Authors on the Greene
11a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 14
Village Greene at Historic Smithville
See facebook.com/authorsonthegreene or call 609-568-6234.