Literacy and youth readership is paramount in the community for former San Mateo mayor Claire Mack.
The Authors for Literacy event coming this weekend is one of the avenues that will support these ideals, while more than 50 local authors get to showcase their work to a large audience. It will also act as a fundraiser for awards granted at the annual Martin Luther King Poetry and Essay Contest.
“We’re basically raising money to give meaningful awards to students who will be trying to Achieve Dr. King’s Dream,” Mack wrote in an email.
The literacy event will be 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, 725 Monte Diablo Ave., in San Mateo.
There will be four color-coded rooms, representing the genres of writing: purple for poetry, yellow for fiction and pink and salmon for non-fiction.
Four readers in each room will be introduced will read, recite, talk about themselves or do whatever they chose during 15-minute intervals. When the 15 minutes are up, a bell is rung and the speaker will sit down. The person may go into the main auditorium where they can sell their books, according to Mack.
Expectations are high for the event, as Mack expects a large turnout with all the authors reaching out to their readers.
“We have contacted KPFA radio. ... We did a 10-minute spot of [Peninsula TV], we have contacted and left fliers [at] all local libraries and have contacted every news outlet in the Bay Area.” Mack said.
According to Mack, the showcase is organized by her and Anita Webb, president of the North Central Neighborhood Association of San Mateo, with assistance from community activists, such as Carelle Karimimanesh, Leslie Crews, Rich Hedges, many of the authors and several San Mateo citizens.
The idea for the gathering began years ago, according to Mack.
“When I had radio and television shows at KCSM and KGO, I would bring the winners of the Martin Luther King Poetry and Essay Contest to do a segment on my shows. And back in those day[s] ... the students were given bonds as their prizes. ... Those bonds are no longer available,” Mack said.
The unavailability of the bonds and the difficulty in fundraising with businesses and donors caused her look for a better method to obtain funds.
“I was a judge last year and felt the children who put so much work into their poems and essays deserve better,” Mack said, adding she approached others for assistance and ideas. “I’d like to see if we couldn’t do better for the students during 2014.”
As an author, Mack actively seeks out venues to read and sell her books. She posited that other writers had similar wants, and thus she came up with Authors for Literacy.
Every author at the event has paid $25 to read and sell their books, while they will be helping children in the San Mateo-Foster City Elementary School District.
“At most book events, people just wander around and select their books and just a few get to read. At this event, every author except me will have the opportunity to read. I think I’ll be too busy, but from my fingers to God’s ears, I hope I will have three books to sell on the 21st,” Mack said.
For more information about the event call 347-2448.