Collingswood Book Festival announces Town Book

The 2018 Collingswood Town Book is Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries. Author Kory Stamper will attend the Collingswood Book Festival on October 6, 2018.

Kory Stamper is a keeper and shaper of words themselves. She is a lexicographer, editor for the Merriam-Webster family of dictionaries, and now author of Word by Word. She is partly responsible for the sensation that is Merriam-Webster's Twitter feed, with its witty commentary on current events. Her “Ask the Editor” video contributions, like a classic on the plural of octopus, and personal blog Harmless Drudgery, have inspired a Kory Stamper Fan Club on Facebook and have even led to marriage proposals.

“We think of English as a fortress to be defended, but a better analogy is to think of English as a child. We love and nurture it into being, and once it gains gross motor skills, it starts going exactly where we don’t want it to go: it heads right for the goddamned electrical sockets." With sharp wit and irreverence, Kory Stamper uncovers the complex, obsessive world of lexicography, from the agonizing decisions about what to define and how to do it, to the knotty questions of usage in an ever-changing language. And along the way, she reveals fascinating surprises. One example, did you know that “OMG” was first used in a letter to Winston Churchill in 1917?

Every year, the organizers of the Collingswood Book Festival choose a town book, “to provide an opportunity for our entire community to bond over some of the great themes in literature,” said Jean Brennan, creator of the book festival. Copies of the book are donated to students of the AP English Class of Collingswood High School as part of their reading curriculum. The festival provides a forum for discussion and analysis beyond the classroom and into the community through a discussion taking place at Collingswood Public Library during festival week. Over the years, students have examined such topics as life in Afghanistan, plagiarism, book banning, and the demographic shift away from urban sprawl. For English students and all of us who, after all, use words all day long – this year's town book will be a lesson in – what we say to each other, and how it makes us feel.  

The Collingswood Book Festival includes authors and events for kids, tweens, teens and poetry fans in addition to top-notch adult authors. The free festival is set for more than six blocks along Haddon Avenue on October 6. For more information visit or follow the Collingswood Book Festival on Facebook here.