Improvisational storytelling slam will kick-off the Chestnut Hill Book Festival on Friday

It’s been said that a good book can be a lot like a good friend. The 3rd Annual Chestnut Hill Book Festival would like the community to come out and meet some new friends along with some of their creators.

Featured authors include former Inquirer reporter George Anastasia, University of Pennsylvania Professor Dr. Arthur Caplan, President of the Arab American Institute Dr. James Zogby, author and reporter Michael Capuzzo and acclaimed author Lorene Cary.

Kate O’Neill, program director of the Chestnut Hill Business Association, said that the festival is thrilled to have these and many other authors present.

“We are very grateful,” she said. “These are nationally recognized authors and so their sense of community is very large in that they gave their time to talk. It’s very exciting that they said yes.”

The festival takes place July 9 and 10, with a StorySlam kickoff event on the evening of July 8.

The StorySlam is the brainchild of First Person Arts, an organization dedicated to “transform[ing] the drama of real life into memoir and documentary art to foster appreciation for our unique and shared experience.”

This will be the first StorySlam at the festival, according to O’Neill with the CHBA. The event will take place Friday, July 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the Venetian Club.

“People put names into hat, the organization picks ten people to be part of the StorySlam, and then the audience votes for the winner,” O’Neill said.

On Saturday, a kids festival will be held from 10 a.m. – 2p.m. in Jenks Park and will feature local musician Andy Maher as well as an appearance by Kathy O’Connell, host of WXPN’s Kid’s Corner. Six children’s authors and illustrators will also be present to speak, read and demonstrate their craft for the kids.

Also on July 9, the 3rd annual singer/songwriter slam will begin. The competition starts at 2 p.m. in Buckley Park, and O’Neill said they have “some pretty amazing judges this year,” including 40-year music biz veteran Daoud Shaw, radio promoter Biff Kennedy and entertainment attorney Marcy Rauer-Wagman.

Panel discussions, of course, will also be held during the weekend.

“I think the community should know that they live in a special place, and that for a couple of days in July they can walk outside of their homes and go to these beautiful locations and hear these wonderful people,” O’Neill said.

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