The Festival of Books returns to Detroit

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Every year hundreds of people travel to Detroit’s Eastern Market in search of the latest and greatest in literature. The Detroit Festival of Books provides authors, illustrators, and readers alike the chance to browse and buy varying genres of literature.

This event, hosted in Shed 5 at Detroit’s Eastern Market, is the largest book festival in Michigan according to the Detroit Festival of Books website. The festival is a nonprofit that is “dedicated to promoting the joy of reading and the rich culture surrounding it”.

Author Rochelle Riley poses at her table presenting her new book “That They Lived” at Detroit’s Festival of Books.

Author and former Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley set up shop at the annual Detroit Festival of Books to sign and sell her latest book, “That They Lived.” Riley said she attends the summer festival to get insight on local bookstores and to support small businesses.

“It is a book of essays that I wrote to go with photographs that a young Seattle mom posted of her daughter – as famous African American women – every day of Black History Month,” said Riley. “Our goal is to teach all children that every great person was once a child.”

Illustrator Audrey Benjaminsen poses at her vendor’s table at the Detroit Festival of Books.

Audrey Benjaminsen is an illustrator, educator and freelance designer that has been a vendor at the festival for the last two years.

“I love to continue to make my own work and events allow me to have a place for that to happen and reach out to people so that’s why I love doing this,” said Benjaminsen. “I love reading and a lot of my work is based on or inspired by literature.” 

Benjaminsen said she was introduced to the festival by another illustrator that encouraged her to share her art. She now travels from Ann Arbor to be a part of the festival.

“I really like being part of this event because it represents a lot of values and interests that I have,” said Benjaminsen. 

Carson Krome travels from Livonia to attend the Detroit Festival of Books every year. 

“My family is from Detroit … and my dad has always instilled the importance of literature, so he brought us here,” said Krome. 

Krome said she is building her classroom library in preparation for becoming a teacher. She said she mostly reads mythologies and is currently reading “American Black Folktales,” so she can show her students “the variety of books and not just white-written, white-illustrated, white-centered.”

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