BookFest brought Edgar Award-winner Dandi Daley Mackall to local middle schoolers

By Michelle Eckerle, Marketing and Communications intern

For immediate release…
Wednesday – May 21, 2014

The annual Northern Kentucky University BookFest was a celebration of reading and writing hosted for local middle school students and teachers.

The event included an opportunity for students to meet featured author and Edgar Award-winner Dandi Daley Mackall. Students were also given a chance to discuss books they have read, participate in workshops with experts on literary themes, and win awards and recognition for their own accomplishments in reading and writing.

Mackall has written 400 titles for children and 25 for adults. She won an Edgar Award for her book, The Silence of Murder, which along with her Larger Than-Life Laura were featured books at April 25 event.

Mackall went out into the audience before she spoke to the students and connected with them by incorporating her own childhood memories of participating in a writing contest. According to, the author won a contest at age 10 for “Why I Want to Be Batboy for the Kansas City A’s.”

Kristi Brock, BookFest coordinator, said Mackall’s talk had an impact. “By the end of her speech, they were surrounding her like a rock star,” she said. Mackall engaged the students and contributed to their understanding of reading and writing. She helped enhance the audience’s experience and encouraged them to have fun while learning.

NKU President Geoffrey Mearns, a former federal prosecutor, also presented a BookFest session on John Grisham’s Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer. After his talk, students asked about topics such as double jeopardy and other legal issues that were explored in Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer.  

BookFest was created in 2001 when a group of language arts teachers and college English professors planned a day for middle school students to have fun with reading and writing. Each year, students are required to read selected books before they attend BookFest. When the students arrive, they participate in fun competitions and workshops about their readings. A featured author is selected to visit NKU’s campus to meet with students and discuss books with them each year. Some of the previous featured authors include Gary Schmidt, Heather Henson, Silas House, Andrea Cheng, Shelly Pearsall, and Jeff Stone.

Next year’s BookFest, which will take place on May 1, 2015, will feature National Author Winner of the 2011 Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award Margaret McMullan. Her award-winning novels include In My Mother’s House, Cashay, and When I Crossed No-Bob. The University of Evansville professor’s short stories have also appeared in publications around the globe.

For more information about BookFest, visit bookfest.

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