Daylong book festival comes to Wellington for the first time

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When Heidi Hess looked for a new location for her second annual book and writing festival, Wellington was a natural fit.

Previously held at the Boynton Beach Mall, Hess saw a lot of potential in bringing the daylong Read It Write It Festival to the Mall at Wellington Green, transforming the shopping hub into a literary heaven.

“It’s a very family-friendly, very family-oriented community,” she said. “We’re trying to really bring attention to local and also independent authors, and I thought, Wellington would be just really a great location for that.”

This year’s festival is 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Mall at Wellington Green, with an event packed book and poetry readings, open mic opportunities, children’s activities, writing panels and pop-up workshops. Attendees will be able to meet local authors, poets and publishers to learn the ins and outs of the writing process, Hess said.

“When Heidi came to us and shared this idea with us, we looked at what she had done at the Boynton Beach Mall, and we felt really honored that she would consider coming to the mall,” Mall at Wellington Green spokeswoman Rachelle Crain said. “This gives writers an opportunity to share their talent, their creativity, their perspective on things with the community, and it gives them some exposure.”

Hess was inspired to create a book and writing festival while working for comic book publishing house Cosmic Times, whose owner, Martin Pierro, founded PalmCon. While there, she attended the Miami Book Fair with the Cosmic Times team and fell in love with what she found there. “It was so inspiring,” Hess said. “I thought, I want something like that in Palm Beach County, that’s accessible to everyone.

“I decided, I’m just going to go ahead and do this,” she said. “Let’s see what we can do. Let’s see what we can build.”

The move to Wellington from Boynton Beach was a natural fit because Wellington provides a lot of room to grow, she said.

Writers appearing at the festival include Vanessa Lane, Steve Altier and Teshelle Combs. Publishing companies include Cosmic Times, Neon Sunrise Publishing and Wayward Cat Publishing.

“Not only are we talking about publishing and talking about writing, we’re also talking about the future of the industry,” Hess said.

For more information, contact Heidi Hess at heidicreates01@gmail.com or visit www.heidicreates.net/events.

THE DETAILS

What: Read It Write It Book and Writing Festival

Where: Mall at Wellington Green, 10300 Forest Hill Blvd., Wellington

When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 25

Information: heidicreates01@gmail.com; www.heidicreates.net/events

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