3,000 pupils to participate at annual English Festival
Participants must read books on the festival reading list before competing.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Nearly 3,000 pupils from more than 150 middle and high schools across the region will fill the halls of Youngstown State University's Kilcawley Center Wednesday through Friday for the 28th annual English Festival.
The pupils must read seven books on the festival's booklist in order to attend. During the festival, students hear lectures from authors, attend workshops and labs on writing, poetry and journalism and compete in various contests.
About 1,000 students will be on campus each day of the event.
Opening ceremonies are set for 9 a.m. Wednesday in the Chestnut Room of Kilcawley Center, and awards ceremonies will be at 3:15 p.m. each day in that same location.
Featured speakers at this year's festival are authors Will Hobbs and Nancy Pearl.
Thomas and Carol Gay lecturer
Hobbs, author of many award-winning books for young readers, is the festival's Thomas and Carol Gay Memorial Lecturer.
He's written 18 books: Seven are American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults, six are Junior Library Guild selections, nine are designated outstanding Books for the Teen Age by the New York Public Library and several are honored as outstanding trade books in social studies and science.
Hobbs' "Ghost Canoe" received the Edgar Allen Poe Award as the best young adult mystery of 1998, and his best-selling novels "Downriver" and "Far North" are included in the American Library Association's list of the "100 Best Young Adult Books of the Twentieth Century".
Pearl is the festival's James Houck Lecturer.
She began her career as a librarian, and in 1998, she established the "If All of Seattle Read the Same Book" program, a community reading initiative that has been copied by cities and towns all over the country.
In 2003, she published "Book Lust," a work that categorizes recommended books into nearly 200 clusters with titles like "Techno-Thrillers," "Biographical Novels" and "Shrinks and Shrinkees." The work has been so successful that she followed it with "More Book Lust" in 2005.
Pearl has a family connection to Youngstown.
Her cousin, Stephen Sniderman, recently retired from YSU's English Department and for many years was a member and co-chairman of the English Festival Committee.