Since it opened nearly three years ago, Bright Side Bookshop has been hosting events that provide opportunities for people to meet their favorite authors and gain insight into their writing processes.
Sam Butler has been Bright Side’s events coordinator since February. Butler’s favorite part of being the events manager is seeing everything fall into place.
“Author events are a really important part of a bookstore,” Butler said. “In the book world, people have their favorite authors, and they’ll read anything that author writes. It’s always exciting when we get to meet the author behind such an enrapturing book, and it’s an experience many people, including myself, enjoy.”
Butler said she loves the moment when the author is done speaking and everyone goes to the signing table. She said it’s wonderful to hear all the positive comments about the book and the author.
“It’s amazing to hear people telling how much they loved the book, how it changed their life or how many people they recommended it to,” Butler said. “The praise for the author is my favorite part, because you can see in the author’s eyes that they worked so hard, and this is how they get their gratification.”
In the future, Butler hopes to bring in more authors, especially children’s and young adult authors, to inspire readers of all ages. Since the shop opened, at least 100 authors have participated in this event. Local favorites, such as travel writer Kevin Fedarko and wilderness author Craig Childs, have done repeat events as well.
Local authors usually reach out to Butler if they’re interested in participating in an event. Occasionally, authors from out of town will contact the shop if they’re going on tour and would like to do an event.
Most author events at Bright Side are relatively intimate, with anywhere from 10 to 30 atendees. However, local favorites usually draw large crowds, no matter how many times they have held events.
Recently, author of “Verde River Elegy” Jon Fuller stopped by the bookshop for his own author event. He gave a presentation on his book and met with locals afterward to discuss the Verde River and sign copies of his book.
“I’ve done a lot of technical writing, but this was my first published book,” Fuller said. “I’ve found a lot of people from Flagstaff love the Verde and go down there a lot, so I always love to swap stories with them.”
Fuller’s advice to new writers is to keep writing, because practice will ensure improvement.
The Northern Arizona Book Festival is an annual literary event with readings, workshops, panels and book signings. These kinds of events are heavily marketed toward NAU students.
“Sometimes going to these events can be very educational for students and aspiring writers, because you get to see other people who have achieved things they didn’t think possible,” Butler said. “Our events can also help students figure out what they want to do after college. For instance, we’ll be hosting an archeologist in November, so these events can really be geared toward specific interests.”
Butler said reading is essential for creativity and passing on information.
“Movies and TV have only been around for about a century, but books have always been there,” Butler said. “In a way, reading feels like returning to our roots.”
English major Grace Buckley said she hopes to be a writer one day. She looks to published authors for advice and to learn the ropes of the writing world.
“I think it’s really cool that Flagstaff is hosting so many authors, big and small,” Buckley said. “It’s very important for students to have this kind of experience.”
Those who want to learn more about Bright Side Bookshop’s events can stop by the shop, which is located on San Francisco Street. A detailed list of upcoming events can be found on the shop’s Facebook page.