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Meet Dave Barry, R.L. Stine and more at the Times Festival of Reading

At the 2019 Times Festival of Reading, authors will have stories to tell for everyone.
Times illustration [Lisa Merklin]
Published Nov. 7

If you’re lucky, you discover the wonder of books when you’re a child. At the 2019 Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading, books for young readers are in the spotlight.

R.L. Stine will bring the shivers, Meg Cabot will dish up the romance, and Eoin Colfer will deliver comic fantasy. They’re just three of the eight outstanding authors for young readers appearing at this year’s festival.

There’s plenty for adult readers, too, with a total of 50 authors on hand. The always hilarious Dave Barry will impart wisdom from his dog, award-winning novelist and memoirist Edwidge Danticat will talk about her craft, and bestselling crime fiction writers Michael Koryta, Lori Roy and Lisa Unger will gather for the Bourbon & Books panel.

RELATED: Dave Barry talks about his new book, ‘Lessons From Lucy,’ and his daughter’s frightening illness

Bring your burning political questions for the PolitiFact panel. And if you just can’t figure out what to read next, Jeff Klinkenberg will talk about “Books Every Floridian Should Read.”

The Times Festival of Reading will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 9 at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, 140 Seventh Ave. S. The event is free, and parking is available nearby.

Books by all festival authors will be for sale on site, and all authors will sign their books after their talks. (To expedite lines, signing will be limited to no more than three books per person per author.) The festival also includes a book market and food vendors.

In the Library Lounge outside the Poynter Library on campus, you can meet Lane DeGregory, Times enterprise reporter and host of the WriteLane weekly podcast. What’s your favorite children’s book? Stop by to tell her so she can record your answer for the podcast (10 to 11 a.m.). Meet Times food and lifestyle editor Michelle Stark and Times food critic Helen Freund to get cooking inspiration and snacks (10 a.m. to noon). And come meet puppies from Southeastern Guide Dogs!

Find a schedule, a map and author bios at the festival website. To read interviews with festival authors and reviews of their books, go to the event’s Facebook page.


  1. Julie Andrews, at right, and her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton took fans' questions in a Q&A at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Nov. 13, 2019. JAY CRIDLIN  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The stage and screen icon came to Clearwater to discuss her new memoir ‘Home Work’ and a wide range of other topics.
  2. The book cover for Jean Fruth's "Grassroots Baseball: Where Legends Begin." Sports Publishing
    Actor Maulik Pancholy will also talk about his debut novel for kids at Oxford Exchange.
  3. Meg Tilly Penguin Random House
    In her own romance thrillers, she aims for both darkness and light.
  4. Brad, Yadina and Xavier share adventures in "Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum" on PBS. PBS
    The author brings his bestselling biographies for kids to TV with ‘Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum.’
  5. Tom Petty performs in 1999. Author and journalist Bill DeYoung's interviews with the musician appear in "I Need to Know: The Lost Music Interviews." PAUL WARNER  |  AP
    Journalist and author Bill DeYoung gathers some of his favorite interviews in ‘I Need to Know.’
  6. Times illustration Lisa Merklin
    At the 2019 Times Festival of Reading, authors will have stories to tell for everyone.
  7. Author Ellen LaCorte Paul Sirochman
    In the author’s debut thriller, a random meeting between two women changes both their lives.
  8. Julie Andrews will appear in conversation at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Nov. 13. Courtesy of Andrew Eccles
    The 84-year-old Hollywood icon will discuss her new autobiography this week at Ruth Eckerd Hall.
  9. Diane Keaton stars in the 1993 movie "Manhattan Murder Mystery." TriStar Pictures
    In ‘The Big Apple on the Big Screen,’ author Christian Blauvelt writes a cinematic guide to the city.
  10. In 2006, Andra Douglas was a player for the New York Sharks. She later owned the team. Courtesy of James Dockery
    Les Standiford will also visit Oxford Exchange to discuss ‘Palm Beach, Mar-a-Lago, and the Rise of America’s Xanadu.’