Literary Orange Graphic signed by participating authors
Writers participating in the April 9 event include T. Jefferson Parker, Ron Hansen, Andrew Winer, Amy Alkon, Debra Mullins, David Francis, Tatjana Soli, Jim Sheeler, Antoinette Portis, Terry McDermott, Ashley Merryman, Daniel Olivas and David Rensin. Allan Helmick

The economy has not been kind to bookstores and libraries, with major chains folding and municipal governments slashing budgets. But lovers of the written word can take comfort in a local event soon to mark its fifth year.

Literary Orange, a daylong celebration of reading and writing, will take place Saturday, April 9, at UC Irvine’s Student Center. Co-sponsored by UCI Libraries and Orange County Public Libraries, it brings community members and writers together through lectures, discussions and book signings.

“Literary Orange salutes the special connection among authors, readers and libraries,” says Julie Sully, UCI Libraries interim director of development and event co-chair. “It provides a unique opportunity to interact with fellow book lovers and learn about the creative process of writing in an intimate setting.”

More than 40 award-winning authors will participate on panels covering a variety of genres, including fiction, poetry, nonfiction, mystery, science fiction, journalism, memoirs, fantasy, children’s literature, Latino fiction, romance, graphic novels, travel and the literature of war.

There will also be a panel featuring literary agents, a continental breakfast, a banquet-style lunch and afternoon refreshments.

Participant Andrew Winer, a graduate of UCI’s M.F.A. writing program whose latest novel is The Marriage Artist, describes himself as a “vigorous user of libraries.” “I can’t imagine my life – and specifically my life as a writer – without them,” he says. “So many of the books that I need and use are not available anywhere but the library.”

An assistant professor of creative writing at UC Riverside, Winer credits his Irvine professors with helping him develop and refine his talent. “What distinguishes UCI’s program is its philosophy of quality,” he says. “Your job is to write really well, not necessarily with an eye on the market. Everything else follows from that.” Winer’s first novel, The Color Midnight Made, was a national best-seller.

Keynote speakers at Literary Orange 2011 are Ron Hansen, author of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, which was adapted for a 2007 film starring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck; and UCI alumnus T. Jefferson Parker, who has garnered several Edgar Allan Poe Awards from the Mystery Writers of America for his popular police procedurals set in Southern California.

This year’s event is dedicated to the memory of 2008 panelist and 2009 keynote speaker Stephen J. Cannell, whose TV writing and producing credits include “The Rockford Files” and “21 Jump Street.” He died in September due to complications of melanoma.

General admission to Literary Orange is $70; students with ID are $35.