Each year, the Mesa Book festival hosts a wide range of panels and discussions for attendees to engage with the literary arts in whole new ways.


The 2023 Mesa Book Crawl will have A LOT of Activity. Check back to this page often as we will be updating panels, participants and more over time. Names listed in Bold are the designated moderator for a given panel.

Holiday Tree Reading

Benedictine University hosts a great holiday tree in their front lobby, which makes for a fantastic space to host readings with kids. Here is the schedule for who is reading to kids and whatr book they will be reading. Schedule is subject to change.

 Reading 10:30am:  Mesa City Councilmember Julie Spilsbury

 Reading 11:30am: Mesa Mayor John Giles

 Reading 12:30pm:  Mesa City Councilmember Alicia Goforth

 Reading 1:30pm:  Mesa City Councilmember Mark Freeman

 Reading 2:30pm:  Mesa City Councilmember Jennifer Duff

Featured Room: Gillett Hall

The Big Room with space for 100+ attendees to comfortably sit and watch panels or other programming in store for the Mesa Book Festival.

 10:00am: Lisa & Matt McMann, A Life in Writing- NY Times Best Selling author Lisa McMann and Monsterous Series author Matt McMann sit with moderator Sharon Skinner and talk about thier lives as writers.

11:30am: Showcase: East Valley Children's Theater-  

1:00pm: Natalie Wright, An Independent Author Success Story- Award winning author Natalie Wright sits with Duncan Rittschof and talks about her climb, the work, and how she intends to grow her writing career momentum.

2:30pm: Award Ceremonies, 2023 Black and White Awards- join us and see who wins the 2023 Alan Black award for Fiction and the 2023 Priscilla White Award for Poetry.  Hosted by Festival Director Bob Nelson.

4:00pm: Arizona Rennaisance Festival- who knows what will happen? 

Main Street Patio/The Ben-U Nest

by the El Multi Tacos & Tortas Food Truck, Beanchain Coffee Cart and Holly Chaffle table.

Live Music: 10:30am-11:30am Roger Weidabach

Live Music: 12:00pm-12:30pm Mark Greenawalt

Live Music: 1:00pm-2:00pm Eddie Unplugged

Live Music: 2:30pm-3:00pm Mark Greenawalt

Panel Room 1: The Reader's Track

Panel: 10:00am: Comics- What Should We Be Reading
Description: Discuss the valley's locally made comics that people should be picking up.
Panelists: Russ Kazmeirczak, Marcus Campbell

Panel: 11:30am: It’s a Post GOT Fantasy World, What Fantasy Should Be on Your TBR
Description: What fantasy should people be reading today?
Panelists: August St Claire, Elenor Rose, JJM Czep

Panel: 1:00pm: Better Business through Reading- Great Books on Business
Description: Panelists talk about great business mentor texts.
Panelists: Lalit Kumar, Kelly Lydick

Panel: 2:30pm: Biographies- Compelling Books of the People that Influence Our Culture
Description: who's life story has made a great, well, story.
Panelists: Jamar Washington

Panel: 4:00pm:  Your Best Reads of 2023
Description: What's in your read pile?
Panelists: Avily Jerome, Kelly Lydick, Brenda Stanley

Panel Room 2: The Writer's Track

Panel: 10:30am: How Can Writing be a Sustainable Career Financially?
Description: How exactly can you make money doing this?
Panelists: Brenda Stanley, Jamar Washington, Jeremy Broyles

Panel: 12:00pm: Writing Across Genres- A Talk on Diversification
Description: creating books across multiple genres... easy?
Panelists: Bruce Davis, Stephanie Contreras

Panel: 1:30pm: AI, Metaverse, Media Books: the Impact of Technology on Publishing
Description: How has technology impacted an age old form?
Panelists: JJM Czep, Eleanor Rose, Avily Jerome

Panel: 3:00pm:  Book Banning- A Discussion on the Impact to Culture
Description: How does the act of banning books impact society?
Panelists: Jeremy Broyles, Lalit Kumar, August St Claire

Panel Room 3: The Hot Wire Track

Panel: 10:00am: Poets of the Arizona State Poetry Society
Description: Talk verse of all kinds with the state's official poetry society. 

Panel: 11:00am: Scociety of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Independent Author's Panel
Description: These authors have built their own businesses. learn from them.
Panelists: Sohrab Rezvan, Beth Lewis, Dan O'Mahoney, Ginger Scott, moderated by Kathie McMahon

Panel: 12:00am: Mesa Public Library
Description: Talk books, the Stuffbrary, Seed Library, ThinkSpot and everything else your library has to offer you!
Panelists: The world's greatest Librarians

Panel: 1:00pm: 

Panel: 2:00pm: SCBWI- PAL Author Showcase
Description: Welcome DaVon Sanders, Karen S Chow and others as they share their success stories and challenges as authors published by publishing houses.
Panelists: Karen Chow, Matt McMann, DaVaun Sanders, moderated by Todd Gordon

Panel: 3:00pm: SCBWI Illustrator Session - Jim Paillot: Art of the Book Presentation
Description: This presentation will provide an overview of the illustrator’s journey and working process, highlighting the ins and outs of creating art for children's books and will include a Q & A and portfolio reviews.
Panelists: Jim Paillot

Panel Room 4: Kids Need to Read

Thank you to Kids Need to Read for providing a FULL ROOM of children's programming all day long at the Book Festival. Bring the kids to engage in fun art activities and presentations through the day!

10 am -10:45 am: Kailie Pew
The Monster Above the Bed

11 am-11:45: Open art space

12:00-12:45: Eboni`e Fields
The Magical Hummingbirds Series

1 pm-1:45: Open art space

2 pm-3 pm: William Hart
Elephants Are Not Artists

3 pm - 3:30: Open art space

3:30-4:30: Katie Evans
Aunt Claire’s Pet Care Series

4:30-5:00: Room closed


Panel Room 5: The Publisher's Room

Looking to start a relationship with a Publisher? Panel Room 5 is your place to plan your visit. While we list the Publishers below, each publisher is managing their own process for seeing prospective authors. Apparopriate links to the information will be provided here. Additioanl overflow panels may be hosted here.

Panel: 11:00am: Bookish Places in the Valley
 Not just bookstores, but cool spaces that book lovers should know about.
Panelists: Christina Estes
, Patrick Hare

Panel: 1:00pm: The State of Poetry in 2023
 Who’s writing and who’s reading.
Marcus Campbell, Christy White, Patrick Hare

Publisher: 3:00pm: Brick Cave Pitch Hour
Looking to meet: Sci-fi & Fantasy Authors
Process details: 


Thank You To Our 2023 Sponsors!

Ting internetFirst Things FirstBook Coaching by SharonKids Need to readSCBWIBenUBrick Cave58aafbc7e894a.hires

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Upcoming Events

2024 Mesa Book Festival
07 Dec 2024;
10:00AM - 05:00PM
ArtsGiving Day 2025
20 May 2025;