BELFAST, Maine — The third annual Belfast Bound Book Festival should draw plenty of bookworms, authors and poets to the midcoast city this weekend.
It’ll also bring in at least one politician-turned-writer with just a smattering of name recognition: former Sen. Olympia Snowe, who will sign copies of her new book, “Fighting For Common Ground: How We Can Fix The Stalemate In Congress,” on Sunday afternoon at Left Bank Books on Church Street.
Marsha Kaplan, one of the three owners of the bookstore, said Tuesday that all three are thrilled that Snowe will swing into Belfast.
“Whatever your political stripe, this woman has tried so hard to find common ground so problems could be solved,” Kaplan said. “How can you not want to say thank you?”
She said that Snowe’s book weaves together her personal history and tales from her 40 years of public service in a way that is “wonderful.” When the long-serving senator announced in 2012 that she would retire after 33 years in Congress, citing partisan gridlock and extreme polarization, the public’s response, Kaplan said, was powerful.
“It really brought a laser beam to that issue of dysfunction,” she said.
The bookstore owners spent some time in June wooing Snowe to see if she would come to Left Bank Books. When the politician said that she could come Saturday, the owners told her that they already had scheduled Maine authors Brenda Gilchrist and John Ford, Sr., that day, and would need to make re-arrangements for them.
“She was completely gracious,” Kaplan said. “She didn’t want to move the two people who were already scheduled.”
Snowe will sign books from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, with Gilchrist, of Deer Isle, talking about and signing her book “Waltzing with Bracey: A Long Reach Home,” from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Ford, a former Maine game warden and Waldo County sheriff, will talk about and sign his new book, “This Cider Still Tastes Funny!” from 3-4:30 p.m. Saturday.
Other highlights of the festival include scholarly lectures at the Old Professor’s Bookshop on upper Main Street, nautical authors presenting at Belfast’s newest bookseller, Nautical Scribe Books on Church Street, and a tour down Main Street of the “Please, Be Seated!” public art bench installations with a poetry reading at each seat. Bella Books on High Street will hold a special customer appreciation day on Saturday, with food, drinks and homemade cookies.
The festival also will feature “Brodie the Moose,” a friend of the Purple Baboon gift shop on Front Street. That store is hosting children’s book author Lynne Plourde, according to Breanna Pinkham Bebb of Our Town Belfast, the group that is coordinating the festival.
“The book festival is an opportunity for our business community to promote itself to those who love books,” she said.
Belfast Bound Book Festival will be held in the city’s downtown from Friday, July 26 to Sunday, July 28. For more information and a complete schedule, visit the website www.ourtownbelfast.org.