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RIP Blue Ridge Bookfest

For the past eight years, the Blue Ridge Bookfest has been a cultural fixture of Western North Carolina, and an important thread in our state’s literary tapestry. Unfortunately, in an e-mail sent today by festival organizers, we’ve learned that 2016 was the last year for the festival.

“Over the eight years we hosted more than three hundred talented authors and workshop leaders,” organizer Bill Ramsey said. “We will never forget their presentations and their books. Their comments regarding the event were always positive and helpful. We send our thanks to each of them.”

The annual weekend-long event has hosted nationally acclaimed authors such as Wiley Cash, Sara Gruen, Jeremy B. Jones, Ron Rash, and many, many more. The festival was also a huge proponent of local writers, allowing many North Carolina voices to lead seminars and workshops and to exhibit in the cozy confines of Blue Ridge Community College, where the event always took place.

The remaining fund balance of $1,515.29 will be donated to the BRCC Student Creative Writing Program for use in publishing their annual book of prose and poetry. The e-mail cited rising expenses and waning attendance as the main factors in the decision to end the festival’s run.