On Dec. 5 at 4 p.m., Main Street Books owners Jerry and Diane Shepherd, along with 25 local authors, opened their double doors to Hattiesburg residents for their Author Extravaganza.
The authors sat behind folding tables, chatting and signing copies of their books while patrons made their way around the room.
Owner Jerry Shepherd said he believes people enjoy Author Extravaganza being so near the holidays.
“They have an opportunity to buy current, signed editions of books, and those books make great gifts for friends and family,” Shepherd said.
Kathy Chase Young, former USM student and current children’s book author and early childhood educator at First Presbyterian Church of Hattiesburg said this event gives patrons the opportunity to connect with authors and learn the stories behind the stories.
Jerry and Diane Shepherd choose authors for this event based on recently published books from Mississippi publishing companies – including University Press of Mississippi and Nautilus Publishing Company, which author Neil White created – and recommendations from The Clarion Ledger.
“There are so many authors here there’s no parking for customers,” White said.
Such a large group of writers affords diversity of both genre and personality.
The Shepherds frequently have author signings, art sales, and special events benefitting local charities. Once a month, the Shepherds host the
Mississippi Writers’ Guild.
“This is a rich area for writers, and this bookstore is helping to encourage reading in the community,” said Guild member and short story author Mary Beth Magee.
Main Street Books’ next event is a Victorian Christmas Candle Lighting on Dec. 10 at 5 p.m.