LUMBERTON — One of New York Times’ best-selling authors, Mary Alice Monroe, will be among the more than 75 authors who will gather Saturday for the second annual Book ‘Em North Carolina writers conference.
The event, which was created by local author Patrica Terrell and will be held at Robeson Community College, raises money to help with literacy efforts. So when Terrell invited her to attend the conference this year, it was an “easy yes.”
“What I particularly love about Book ‘Em is that it focuses on literacy,” Monroe said.
Monroe will be holding a panel at the conference titled “The Path to a Best Seller.”
Monroe has written 14 books, including her newest novel “Beach House Memories,” Her next book, “The Summer Girls,” comes out in July.
Along with the authors, five publishers, two literary agents, one Hollywood producer and numerous book promoters will attend the conference.
“I like to hold these events to give back to the public and for writers who are just breaking into the industry and trying to figure it out,” said Terrell, who writes under the name p.m. terrell and is co-founder of the Book ‘Em Foundation.
The event, which is free, starts at 9:30 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. There will be panel discussions and a chance to speak individually to authors. There will also be events all day for children, such as readings by authors, face-painting and crafts.
According to the Book ‘Em Foundation’s website, the goal of the foundation is to highlight the connection between illiteracy — poor reading skills — and crime. Its slogan is “Buy a Book and Stop a Crook.”
Terrell said the Book ‘Em Foundation has held writers conferences in Virginia, South Carolina and New Hampshire. She decided to bring the event to Lumberton last year.
“For the people who are wanting to get a book published or for people who are just like to read, it is a very great place to be,” said Terrell, whose 15th book will be released next month.
All of the authors attending the conference have agreed to donate a minimum of 40 percent of their proceeds from book sales on Saturday to literacy campaigns Terrell said.
Last year, the conference raised about $9,000, which was distributed to Communities In School, Friends of the Robeson County Library, and the United Way to support its Dolly Parton Imagination Library Program.
Chuck Williams, a Hollywood producer, will speak about the process used in turning books into movies.
According to the Book ‘Em in N.C. website, Williams has worked as an assistant director to such Hollywood heavyweights as James Cameron, Rob Cohen, Kathryn Bigelow, John Badham and Penelope Spheeris. He has produced films for the Sundance Channel, HBO, Showtime and the Syfy Channel. .
Dirk Robertson, a professional speaker, actor and author, who is originally from Scotland, will be at the conference to talk about his writing experience and to donate 10 guitars, five of which will be going to the Public Schools of Robeson County.
The guitars are from the Fender Music Foundation, which provides instruments to music programs throughout America.
Robertson is the author of five books and has been in three films. He has traveled from Scotland to America for every Book ‘Em event held since the first in 2004.
Robertson said he became a writer after B.B. King, the famous blues guitarist and song writer, told him he should be a writer or actor with a name like “Dirk Robertson.”
“So I just followed his advice,” Robertson said.