Local authors prepare for Virginia Festival of the Book

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- Thousands of book lovers will descend on Charlottesville this week for the Virginia Festival of the Book, and local authors are among those presenting at the annual event.

Priya Mahadevan will be reading from her first children's book, "Princesses only Wear Putta-Puttas," a story about a child who straddles two cultures. The protagonist, Mahadevan said, is based on her own youngest daughter.

"I think many, many families in the U.S. have two cultures they balance," said Mahadevan, who came to the United States 24 years ago and became a citizen in 2005. "Since I'm a first-generation Indian, I am still very much Indian, and I would like to pass on some of the cultural aspects of my beautiful country to my kids, who were born in this country."

Mahadevan will be reading her book at area elementary schools, and she will also be having an independent book launch of her second book, "Fey Fey Says No," at the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library downtown on Wednesday.

Author Brendan Wolfe also found the inspiration for his first book in his childhood hometown.

"Finding Bix: The Life and Afterlilfe of a Jazz Legend" is the story of the early 20th century musician Leon "Bix" Beiderbecke, who hailed from Wolfe's hometown of Davenport, Iowa and whose legacy there is large and includes a running race and a music festival named in his honor.

Wolfe said he was aware of Beiderbecke's name growing up, but it wasn't until he was an adult that he dug into the musician's life. It took a long time to get the full story.

"I worked on it for 13 years," he said.

Both Wolfe and Mahadevan said they were thrilled to be selected by the festival.

"It's a great way to get yourself into the mainstream and meet a lot of fantastic authors," said Mahadevan, who used a Kickstarter campaign to help her get her first book published.

Wolfe, who has been involved in the Festival in previous years as a moderator and has attended as a guest, said he's excited to participate this year as an author.

"It's really fun to get the word out about the book, but it's also just really cool to be part of this huge event," he said.

The Virginia Festival of the Book takes place Wednesday through Sunday. For more information on the festival schedule, see the Related Links box.

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