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Read and talk all about it at Dahlonega Literary Festival
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Nathalie Dupree


Listen as Mark Braught talks about the book illustration process.

With New York Times bestseller Steve Berry and cookbook author Nathalie Dupree, this year’s Dahlonega Literary Festival is set to be one of the best ever, organizers say.

Along with Berry and Dupree, there will be 14 other authors at the event to showcase their works.

“Well, it kind of grew all by itself,” said Sharon Bacek, festival committee chairwoman. “Brian Corrigan is a professor of Renaissance Literature at North Georgia College & State University and he’s also a published author and he’s a personal friend with Steve Berry, so he put us together with him.

“It really was kind of a whole system, you get two or three authors that are good and then they tell you about this one or that one and it just grows.”

Berry, who lives on the Georgia coast, is known for bestsellers like “The Third Secret,” “The Templar Legacy” and most recently, “The Venetian Betrayal.”

Dupree, a nationally-known cookbook author, has been featured on many TV shows on PBS, The Learning Channel and The Food Network.

From 4 to 4:45 p.m. Saturday, Dupree will be at  Montaluce Vineyards’ La Vigne restaurant and will prepare shrimp and grits from her latest “Shrimp & Grits Cookbook.”

This year marks the fifth year for the literary festival and the first time the event will be held in the summer.

“We’ve had it in February in the past and we wanted to try August because we could do some events outside and we wouldn’t have to worry about the weather,” said Barbara Weltzien, festival committee member.

Other authors who will be featured are Jack Bass, Dana Wildsmith, Karen White, Walter Sorrells, Patricia Sprinkle, William Rawlings, Lenore Hart, Cathy Kaemmerlen, J.L. Miles, Julie Cannon, Mitchell Graham and Jackie K. Cooper.

Mark Braught, an illustrator from Commerce, will appear with wife, Laura Knorr-Braught who also is an illustrator.

“We were both there last year,” Mark said. “Last year we kind of let the crowd take over. I think sometimes they come with questions and so obviously I want to make sure they get what they want out of it.

Sometimes we’ll talk about the process, what you need to submit to publishers to get published.”

Braught added that going to speaking engagements is a great learning opportunity for him.

“A lot of times we get to see other people that we know that do the same thing,” he said. “It’s fun to exchange ideas and thoughts and these are good opportunities for that.”

Braught has been an illustrator for children’s books for 25 years and Laura Knorr-Braught also has been in the business for years.

The authors will participate in panel discussions and readings, and signings are scheduled for both festival days at the Lumpkin County Community House on the square.

Another highlight of the weekend will be the lunch with the authors at restaurants around the Dahlonega square. Restaurants like The Crimson Moon, Wylie’s Restaurant and Corkscrew Cafe will be participating, among others.

Children’s activities, located at the Visitors Center, range from face painting to storytelling, reading and performances from the Holly Theatre.

“The scavenger hunt is always a big winner,” Bacek said. “This year it is the Literary IQ scavenger hunt and there are clues around the square in different merchants’ stores and there is a $100 prize for the winner.” Weltzien added that parents should help children with the scavenger hunt.

“Families did it last year and had a great time ... I think it’s more oriented toward adults and families,” she said.