Thanks for festival

Published 9:44 pm Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A mystery authors’ festival might seem to be more appropriately set in Transylvania, the setting for Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” than in Suffolk, but the city has seen plenty of success with the festival the last two years.

What began as a request from a tourism employee to one author for her to come do a book signing quickly ballooned into an 11-author festival last year, complete with an author panel, readings and meet-and-greet.

The size of the festival more than doubled this year to 24 authors, who greeted visitors traveling from all over the state to meet their favorite writers or get advice on how to get their own work published.

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A quick Internet search reveals there’s not a whole lot of this type of thing happening elsewhere. It seems that for lovers of mystery and romance, Suffolk’s festival is quickly becoming the place to connect with authors and others who share the same literary interests.

Every city that hopes to become a tourist destination, unless it has a beach or some other ready-made attraction, must seek to distinguish itself with interesting events like the mystery authors’ festival.

The city’s tourism department has done an excellent job doing that recently. It not only is capitalizing on its natural and historic resources with things like the Great Dismal Swamp safaris and ghost walks, it also is creating new things like the mystery authors’ festival. And everything that brings in people from out of town who would not have ordinarily come to Suffolk is a boon to our city.

Congratulations to Katie Kelley, whose brainchild the mystery authors’ festival was, and the rest of Suffolk’s tourism staff for their creativity.