Meet the authors at the eighth annual Festival of Reading, a celebration of the written word.
By MARGO HAMMOND
© St. Petersburg Times, published November 9, 2000
The St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading, an outdoor celebration of the written and spoken word, celebrates its eighth year Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the campus of Eckerd College in St. Petersburg.
[Times photo: Patty Yablonski]
More than 50 authors have been invited for talks and panels, with topics ranging from teens, taxes and presidential politics to dog training.
The festival also offers three open-air stages of music, poetry and drama; a book market; free books for kids under 12; and a children's storybook parade.
Saturday's highlights include tips on writing a memoir from former syndicated columnist Joyce Maynard (At Home in the World) at 11 a.m.; a post-election reflection by David Gergen, senior adviser to four presidents and author of Eyewitness to History, at 1:30 p.m.; a panel of authors from Tallahassee, including Connie May Fowler, whose novel Before Women Had Wings was made into a movie starring Oprah Winfrey, at 2:30; and a hip look at American fiction from Jonathan Ames (What's Not to Love: The Adventures of a Mildly Perverted Young Man) and Neal Pollack (The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature) at 2:45.
Other authors scheduled for Saturday include Hugo award winner Ben Bova at 11:45 a.m.; civil rights activist Robert Saunders at 11, and novelist David Leavitt at 3:15 p.m. Celebrity dog trainer Inger Martens (Jim Carrey was a client) speaks at 2.
Sunday's featured authors include Reagan biographer Edmund Morris (Dutch: A Memoir) at 10 a.m.; PBS commentator Roger Rosenblatt, author of Rules for Aging at 10:15; feminist novelist and commentator bell hooks (All About Love) at 2 p.m.; and investigative journalist Peter Maas (The Terrible Hours) at noon.
Also on tap for Sunday are thriller king James Patterson at 11:15 a.m. and true crime queen Ann Rule at 3:15 p.m. There is a mystery writers panel at 10:15 a.m., an e-books panel at 10:30 and a baseball panel, featuring sports writer Peter Golenbock and baseball's Johnny Morris, at 11.
The first day of the festival this year falls on Veterans Day, and the lineup includes authors who pay tribute to those who fought in World War II. At 10:30 a.m. Evelyn M. Monahan and Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee (All This Hell) will tell the stories of the 100 Army and Navy nurses held prisoner by the Japanese. At 3 p.m. Chicago Tribune columnist Bob Greene (Duty: A Father, His Son, and the Man Who Won the War) will talk about his father's generation and the man who carried the atomic bomb to Hiroshima.
Five of the authors slated during the two-day festival are Pulitzer Prize winners: Don Barlett and Jim Steele (The Great American Tax Dodge); Washington Post reporter Laura Sessions Stepp (Our Last Best Shot: Guiding Our Children Through Early Adolescence); New York Times reporter Rick Bragg (Somebody Told Me: The Newspaper Stories of Rick Bragg) and novelist Robert Olen Butler (Mr. Spaceman).
Author's talks will be followed by book signings where the speaker's latest book will be available for purchase. Sign language interpreters will be available at selected author appearances and stage performances.
At the festival
Here are some more festival highlights:
BOOK APPRAISALS: Fairgoers can bring up to three books to be appraised by Christie's on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Lighthouse Books on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
CHILDREN'S AUTHOR PANEL: Members of the 2000-2001 Times X-Team, Tampa Bay area writers ages 9-17 whose work appears on the Xpress page, will interview author Peggy Nolan (The Spy Who Came in from the Sea), Holly Bea (Good Night God) and Linda Trice (Charles Drew: Pioneer of Blood Plasma) with Times editor Gretchen Letterman moderating.
BOOK DISCUSSIONS: Area librarians Gene Coppola, Roberta Hipple, Vivian Godfrey and Joyce Sparrow will give you some guidelines and tips on starting a book discussion Sunday from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. On Saturday, Coppola will moderate a discussion on Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m.
BANNED BOOKS MARATHON: The American Civil Liberties Union will present the Banned Books Marathon, inviting fairgoers to read books that have been banned.
FAMOUS DEAD AUTHORS: On Saturday, meet Gertrude Stein (Sherry Lundquist), Mary Shelley (Kathleen Gavin), Jack London (Stuart Jonap), Virginia Woolf (Nonie White) and Ernest Hemingway (Sam Zeoli). On Sunday, talk with George Sand (Corinne Broskette), Emily Dickinson (Karen Hand), Langston Hughes (Donald Polk), Dorothy Parker (Cher Tanner) and Lewis Carroll (Sam McClelland).
STORYBOOK CHARACTER PARADE: Children who want to join the parade dressed as their favorite storybook character can register at 12:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The parade, held both days from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., will wind around the grounds and end at StoryLand Stage, where each participant will be announced and receive a prize.
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