In November 2014, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation held its first Verse & Vino event. Bestselling authors from around the country came and interacted with library supporters from around the Charlotte area, and the wine flowed freely. A great time was had by all, and the event raised much needed funds for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. In the years since then, Verse & Vino has become more than an annual fundraising event. For many book lovers, including me, it is the most-anticipated literary event in Charlotte. As a regular attendee, I have enjoyed hearing the authors’ presentations, and I have taken satisfaction in contributing to the continued success of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
At least in terms of its name, Verse & Vino reminds me of a line from Sesame Street. I sort of expect Elmo to say, “This event is brought to you by the letter V.” There is one word that starts with V, however, that nobody wants anywhere near Verse & Vino, and that’s the word virus. To its credit, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation responded quickly to the dangers posed by the coronavirus. They decided not to have an in-person event this year, but they did not cancel Verse & Vino. Instead, they organized a virtual event that will take place during the evening of November 5, 2020. Just as in years past, this year’s Verse & Vino will feature five popular authors and will be hosted by radio personality and author Sheri Lynch. And just as in years past, the event will raise funds for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
All of the authors featured at this year’s event have the distinction of being New York Times best-selling authors, and all have new books that they will discuss during their presentations. India Hicks, a writer known for her amusing books about style and design, will talk about her latest release, An Entertaining Story, in which she combines advice and stories related to the art of throwing parties. Megan Miranda, a North Carolina author, will talk about her new thriller, The Girl from Widow Hills. Christopher Paolini, the author of Eragon and several other novels for young adults, will discuss To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, his first science fiction novel for adult readers. Alice Randall will talk about her novel Black Bottom Saints, which captures the feel and spirit of Detroit’s legendary Black Bottom neighborhood, a community that is sometimes described as a midwestern rival to New York City’s Harlem. The fifth author, Christina Baker Kline, will focus her presentation on The Exiles, a historical novel set in Australia during the mid-nineteenth century. All of the books featured at this year’s Verse & Vino will be available for purchase at Park Road Books.
One of the people who has played a critical role in organizing this year’s Verse & Vino is Jenni Gaisbauer, the Executive Director of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation. In discussing the preparations for this year’s virtual event, she recently said, “We’ve worked with a team of experts in streaming media to reimagine the event’s format. We’ve retained the elements that make Verse & Vino what it is – the authors, the festive atmosphere, the community – and added interactivity and bonus features only possible on a digital platform. Verse & Vino is both an important fundraiser for our library and a joyous celebration of libraries, of literacy, and of investing together in our shared future. I can’t think of a better moment to look ahead with a community of friends and supporters.”
Anyone who is interested in participating in this year’s Verse & Vino event has several options available. For those who want to turn the event into their own party or date night, they can order packages, but the deadline for placing these orders is October 27. For those who just want to purchase a ticket to this event, the deadline is November 3. For more information about participating in this year’s event, please click on the following link: https://foundation.cmlibrary.org/verse-vino/
While I will miss the in-person event, I will be sure not to pass up the opportunity to participate in in this year’s virtual Verse & Vino. After all, participating in Verse & Vino is a wonderful way to engage in our Storied Charlotte community and support our storied public library.