Of the nine Omaha lit fests, I have attended at least four (including most of the 2010 lit fest focusing on fairy tales), and this year I was at the final session, "Trigger Warnings: writing about sex, perversion, and the politics of pleasure."
As in previous years, the 2013 lit fest, free and open to the public, featured panels of published authors from near and far talking about writing and their work in a quiet atmosphere where the audience could ask questions. It was a pleasant atmosphere, despite the seriousness of some questions. One member of the audience cracked a joke during the discussion, and another asked me, immediately at the close of the session, about the notes I was taking, not wanting her words about a certain movie star to be public.
After the final panel, authors signed their books in an informal event that offered readers the chance of having plenty of time to chat with authors, time that is not always available at one-author book readings and signings.
This year's lit fest was on the fourth floor of the downtown library (a floor normally not open to the public), a comfortable setting in that the panel met in one corner with a great view of Leahy Mall. Refreshments and a table with authors' books were near the middle of the floor, giving plenty of space for authors and those with books for signing.
Timothy Schaffert, founder of the Omaha Lit Fest, gave the number of 35 for the attendance at some of the panel discussions this year.