You are here
Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, the Library sponsored the yearly “Novello Festival of Reading,” which delighted readers and authors alike. It started in 1991 – the hundredth anniversary of the beginning of library service in Charlotte, North Carolina – as a venture in community service that brought authors in to read from their works and talk about them. The name was a fanciful invention: “a play on the two meanings of novel: "new" and "book of fiction” . . . it conjures up an image of Spoleto, the Charleston arts festival.” Diane Whitacre, "David Halberstam to kick off public library's first festival," Charlotte Observer, 09/01/1991, Mecklenburg Neighbors section, p.5 The first Novello Festival established a model that proved successful: Writers of non-fiction and fiction were invited, as were writers for adults and for children. Events spread out over more than a week, almost all of them free except for a couple of big draws – in 1991, journalist David Halberstam and North Carolina novelist Clyde Edgerton. The festival was well received: “Reading festival draws 2,000 people to meet authors at uptown library” ran a headline about the closing day’s events. Pat Gubbins, “Reading festival draws 2,000 people to meet authors at uptown library,” Charlotte Observer, November 24, 1991, p.1G The response confirmed the library in its ambition to make it a yearly event.
Over the next eighteen years, Novello brought in nationally known authors, highlighted local writers, held events in libraries and concert halls and gave young and old the experience again of being read to. The name became such a recognized brand that the library launched its own publishing house, “Novello Festival Press,” invited submissions of manuscripts, and saw four of the works it produced win Independent Publisher Book Awards. Captured by the Internet Archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20090224195217/http:/www.plcmc.org:80/Novell... (accessed 12/1/2018) The festival drew big-name authors and consumed many hours of staff time. Popular and trend-setting to the end, it yielded publicity and good will for the library’s investment in it. Still there was no denying that the mostly free Festival did not pay for itself, and so, when the budget ax fell in 2010, it had to go. "No Novello? What a sad twentieth anniversary," Charlotte Observer, June 28, 2010, p.8A The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has since revived the tradition of a fall literary festival: "Verse and Vino" brings in a panel of authors for adults.
- Charlotte Observer. “No Novello? What a sad twentieth anniversary.” [Editorial] June 28, 2010, p.8A.
- Gubbins, Pat. “Reading festival draws 2,000 people to meet authors at uptown library.” Charlotte Observer, November 24, 1991, p.1G
- Whitacre, Diane. "David Halberstam to kick off public library's first festival." Charlotte Observer, 09/01/1991, Mecklenburg Neighbors section, p.5
- www. plcmc.org/Novello_Press/aboutus.asp (This page is no longer live, but a 2009 capture of it may be accessed through the Internet Archive.)