The ground-level conference room at City Centre Library was packed Saturday, Feb. 25, for the third annual Surrey Reads and Writes event.
This was the first year the new branch has hosted the event, previously held at Guildford library.
Thirty-four authors and writers were in attendance, some participating in a morning panel discussion and others at lectures and workshops for local aspiring writers.
"This event allows them to connect," said April Cox, branch manager for the Cloverdale and Fleetwood locations. "I think if you are a young writer and there are 34 published writers here speaking, they'll think, 'I can, too.'"
From 11 a.m. to noon, event guests and authors alike had the chance to sit in on a panel discussion with authors, including Gina McMurchy-Barber, Robert W. Mackay, Katherine McManus, Sylvia Taylor and Loreena Lee.
The discussion was locked in an ongoing battle with the loud banging and crashing of construction equipment and trucks, part of work on an underground parking lot beneath the library. According to Cox, the commotion is part of the new city hall project, which should be completed by 2014.
The remainder of the day's activities included book "talking" sessions, during which time authors read from their books and fielded questions, as well as several workshops to help young writers with skills such as plot construction, using social media and writing exercises.
"The front of our program says 'discover your inner writer, connect with Surrey's writing community and be inspired by 30 local writers' - I hope the youth here will be," said Cox.