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Festival of Reading: From authors to schedules, everything you need to know

Sculpture by Bethany Bickley , photo by Krystle Marcellus.

Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading.

Sculpture by Bethany Bickley , photo by Krystle Marcellus.

At the Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading, Florida books are always a staple. For this, the 24th annual festival, there will be plenty of books about the Sunshine State and books written by Florida authors.

On hand Nov. 12 will be several novelists who are residents of Florida as well as regulars on bestseller lists: Michael Connelly, Tim Dorsey, Brad Meltzer, Lisa Unger and Randy Wayne White.

Pulitzer Prize winner and Florida State University professor Robert Olen Butler's new novel, Perfume River, looks at a Florida family shaped by the Vietnam War. Two of his FSU colleagues will be at the festival, too: National Book Award winner Bob Shacochis and National Book Award finalist David Kirby.

Nonfiction books set in the state will abound. Craig Pittman's Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country takes a sweeping view of strange doings here, while Ted Geltner's Blood, Bone, and Marrow: A Biography of Harry Crews focuses on one legendary — and strange — figure.

Kelley and Tom French recount their daughter's first six months of life in a St. Petersburg hospital in Juniper: The Girl Who Was Born Too Soon. David Kushner investigates the 1973 murder of his brother in Tampa in Alligator Candy. Tampa business leader Frank Morsani has a memoir, To Be Frank, and Jason Vuic offers The Yucks: Two Years in Tampa With the Losingest Team in NFL History.

Florida's not the only subject for festival books, though. They take in the wide world. Bestselling author Joyce Maynard will talk about her 16th book, a novel about friendship gone toxic called Under the Influence. Amor Towles' novel A Gentleman in Moscow is the story of an aristocrat who, under Soviet rule, is sentenced to decades of house arrest in a luxury hotel. Caroline Leavitt's Cruel Beautiful World is about a teenage girl who runs away from home in the 1960s.

Co-authors Herb Frazier, Bernard Powers and Marjory Wentworth will talk about We Are Charleston: Tragedy and Triumph at Mother Emanuel, a look at a terrible crime and a community's response. Beth Macy's nonfiction book Truevine tells the stranger-than-fiction story of a pair of young brothers taken by a circus to work as sideshow freaks.

Tampa Bay Times staffers at the festival will include Pittman, Ben Montgomery with his nonfiction book The Leper Spy and two panels of reporters who won Pulitzer Prizes in 2016 for their stories on failing schools and on conditions in state mental hospitals.

Books for young readers at the festival include Tampa author Greg Neri's Tru & Nelle, a novel based on the real-life friendship of authors Harper Lee and Truman Capote.

Foodies will want to catch Alex Prud'homme, grand-nephew of Julia Child, with The French Chef in America, as well as Jim Webster presenting Mario Batali's Big American Cookbook, the second book he has co-written with the celebrity chef.

In short, there's something for every reader at the Times Festival of Reading.


10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 12 at University of South Florida St. Petersburg, 140 Seventh Ave. S. Free admission; books available for sale.

Find the festival schedule, map and other information at tampabay.com/expos/festival-of-reading.


Sportswriter and NPR commentator Frank Deford, previously announced as a featured author, will not be at the festival because of health issues.

Featured authors

Ace Atkins, The Innocents and Slow Burn

Rosemary Borel, Thriving in the Care of Many Mothers

Robert Olen Butler, Perfume River

Roy Peter Clark, Writing Tools (10th Anniversary Edition)

Laura Coffey, My Old Dog: Rescued Pets With Remarkable Second Acts

Michael Connelly, The Wrong Side of Goodbye

Tim Dorsey, Coconut Cowboy

Paul Durham, The Luck Uglies

William Felice, The Ethics of Interdependence: Global Human Rights and Duties

Herb Frazier, Bernard Powers and Marjory Wentworth, We Are Charleston: Tragedy and Triumph at Mother Emanuel

Kelley Benham French and Thomas French, Juniper: The Girl Who Was Born Too Soon

Ted Geltner, Blood, Bone, and Marrow: A Biography of Harry Crews

Lauren Gibaldi, Autofocus

Kristy Harvey, Lies and Other Acts of Love

Jeffery Hess, Beachhead

Albert Hine, Sea Level Rise in Florida: Science, Impacts, and Options

Cheryl Hollon, Cracked to Death

Kim Karalius, Love Charms and Other Catastrophes

David Kirby, Get Up, Please

Eliot Kleinberg, Black Cloud: The Deadly Hurricane of 1928

Michael Koryta, Rise the Dark

David Kushner, Alligator Candy: A Memoir

Caroline Leavitt, Cruel Beautiful World

Beth Macy, Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother's Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South

Mike Maihack, Target Practice

Dawn Maslar, Men Chase, Women Choose: The Neuroscience of Meeting, Dating, Losing Your Mind, and Finding True Love

Joyce Maynard, Under the Influence

Peter Meinke, The Expert Witness

Brad Meltzer, The House of Secrets

Gary Monroe, E.G. Barnhill: Florida Philosopher, Adventurer, Entrepreneur

Ben Montgomery, The Leper Spy: The Story of an Unlikely Hero of World War II

Jonathan Moody, Olympic Butter Gold

Frank Morsani and Dave Scheiber, To Be Frank: Building the American Dream in Business and Life

Greg Neri, Tru & Nelle

Craig Pittman, Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country

Ellen Prager, Stingray City

Alex Prud'homme, The French Chef in America: Julia Child's Second Act

Bob Shacochis, Kingdoms in the Air: Dispatches From Far Away

Shana Smith, Meditations for Moms and Dads: 108 Tips for Mindful Parents and Caregivers

Thomas Smith, Human Rights and War Through Civilian Eyes

Kelli Stuart, Like a River From Its Course

Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow

Lisa Unger, Ink and Bone

Jason Vuic, The Yucks: Two Years in Tampa With the Losingest Team in NFL History

Jim Webster, Mario Batali's Big American Cookbook: 250 Favorite Recipes From Across the USA

Randy Wayne White, Seduced

Rick Wilber, Alien Morning

Festival of Reading: From authors to schedules, everything you need to know 11/03/16 [Last modified: Thursday, November 3, 2016 6:30pm]
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