Bookmarks, a literary non-profit based in Winston-Salem, will host its tenth annual, free Festival of Books on Saturday.

Executive Director Ginger Hendricks has been excited to see how the event has grown over the years.

“The thing that we’re very proud of is that we’re now the largest book festival in North Carolina,” said Hendricks.

Hendricks is a Salem College alumna who became Executive Director of Bookmarks in 2010. She is a lifelong lover of literature who also writes fiction and nonfiction. Before coming to Bookmarks, she was the Director of the Center for Women Writers at Salem College where she was able to observe firsthand the supportive community of southern women writers.

“What was so important about the Center for Women Writers was that we were training and teaching these women to not only be able to write, but also to edit in workshops and help each other,” said Hendricks.

Hendricks channeled her passion for literary education into the Authors in Schools initiative at Bookmarks that brings authors into classrooms to work with students. In 2013 Bookmarks was able to reach over 5,000 students through the program with the highest number of authors visiting schools the Friday before the Festival of Books.

“I’m very proud of that,” said Hendricks. Hendricks also works with publishers to coordinate appearances with writers who are on national book tours. As a woman who is truly dedicated to literary arts and education, Hendricks is hoping to reach more people than ever with the tenth annual Festival of Books.

This year’s festival will kick-off on Thursday, with keynote from James Patterson, who holds the Guinness World Record for the most #1 New York Times bestsellers. Bookmarks organizers anticipate that 1,000 people will attend the keynote at Reynolds Auditorium for Patterson’s presentation and to ask questions.

In 2011, Patterson released the first book in his Middle School series titled Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life. His foray into young adult fiction has been a critical and commercial success, and Hendricks is thrilled to host a keynote speaker who is able to speak to both teens and adults.

“This is something he’s extremely passionate about – is getting folks excite about reading,” said Hendricks.

Hendricks has made it a priority to create a Festival of Books that can appeal to the whole family. This year’s festival will have 25 events with appearances from over 30 authors of fiction, nonfiction, young adult literature and poetry.

“We are trying to offer something for everyone,” said Hendricks. “No matter what kind of writing you like, we will pretty much have it covered.” !