MERCER ISLAND, WA (July 14, 2010) – Margaret Brand grew up in South Africa, but the 91-year-old author and widow of medical missionary Paul Brand, wasn’t glued to the TV like much of the world on Sunday.
Instead, she was among the seven writers from Mercer Island Covenant Church who were signing books as part of the congregation’s “Meet the Author” booth at a two-day street fair on the island.
“Even though I grew up in South Africa, I would rather be here at the street fair meeting people in our community than at home watching the final match of the World Cup,” she said.
Brand’s book, Vision for God, was published in 2006, and recounts the story of her life as a medical missionary and pioneer in the treatment of leprosy. Other authors included Thelma Ritchie, a nationally honored fifth grade science teacher who has written several volumes of science fiction for young people, and Aida Kouyoumjian, who chronicled how her mother survived the Armenian Genocide in Between the Two Rivers. Maggie Bennett, Diane Kinman, Joe McDonald, and Greg Asimakoupoulos, pastor of the church, also participated.
In the past, the church’s booth at the festival included a prize wheel for children, and the congregation gave away bubbles, lollipops, and CD sets of “Adventures in Odyssey.” The church decided to change its focus this year in order to reach out to more adults.
“Our suburban setting is highly academic with more than 90 percent of high school graduates going on to college,” explains Asimakoupoulos. “There are many PhDs, surgeons, psychiatrists, and CEOs in our community. So the book-ish approach seemed to be an appropriate angle.”
The authors took two-hour shifts. The public was able to buy books before having them signed.
“I’ve never been part of such a creative book-signing event,” said Brand. “This celebration is exciting. So many different people from so many different walks of life.”