An annual book festival is about to begin its 16th year of providing grants to area literacy programs at public and school libraries, as well as other places. The North Texas Book Festival is a contest that includes book awards, a weekend conference, and a book buying and selling event.


Area authors pay to attend the weekend event and the money raised goes to area literacy programs. Funds from the 2017 festival went to literacy programs affected by Hurricane Harvey, as well as Sanger Public Library, Bertha Voyer Memorial Library in Honey Grove, Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Denton, and others.


The first portion of the festival is the book trailer competition which has already begun. Book trailers can be seen on the NTBF website.


“Self-published and small press authors who have published a book in the last three years can enter up to two books,” NTBF Treasurer Katherine Boyer said. “Our major reason for the festival is to provide grants of $500-$1,000 to the area literacy programs. The fees are varied for different things and according to whether they are members. We have a committee who reads and recommends the grant recipients.”


Voting for the 2018 book trailer portion of the contest begins on Jan. 1. Anyone can vote on the book trailers on the North Texas Book Festival website and the top three trailers will each receive a prize.


For the book awards competition, judges will choose the best entrants in each category and prizes will be given at the April 2018 festival. Top three awards will be given for each book category.


“We have judges who read the book award entries and score them in several areas,” Boyer said. “Because we target self-published and small press authors, it gives them a chance to sell their books, interact with readers and each other. There are many really good books written by these authors and we love giving them a chance to shine.”


Thomas F. Grooms, who held a book signing at the Denison Public Library in December, will be at the 2018 festival along with Amanda Thrasher, another area author who won first place for the young adult and general fiction for her book, “The Greenlee Project.”


“We have a chuckwagon breakfast where readers and authors can interact in an informal setting,” Boyer said. “Then, we announce the winners of the grants and book award. We choose a featured author at the beginning of the process and the chosen author Janet Sever Hull — and this year we have included her illustrator, Vicki Killion Guess — who gives the keynote speech.”


This will be the second year that authors who write Spanish novels have been invited to take part in the book awards. With entrants from Spain, Chile, Ecuador, Florida and Texas, Boyer said that the competition has grown a lot in the last few years.


“We had a TV star join us one year,” Boyer said. “Alex Cord of ‘Airwolf’ fame has written some books and came to sell them.”


The 2018 festival will be held April 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The awards and keynote address will be at 9 a.m. preceded by a breakfast. All books have to be in by Dec. 31 and book trailers have to be in by Jan. 1.


“We will accept author registrations until all tables are filled, then we will put people on a waiting list,” Boyer said.


Literacy programs wishing to receive grants from the North Texas Book Festival can register on the festival’s site. Authors wishing to take part in the festival can also register at ntbf.org.