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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]
Times illustration [Lisa Merklin]
Published Nov. 7, 2019

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. Sharon Langley, the author of "A Ride to Remember." [Courtesy of Sharon Langley]
    An educator writes a children’s book about a historic moment in her own life.
  2. "Murder Your Darlings" is the latest book by Roy Peter Clark. [Little, Brown]
    The longtime writing coach’s latest is a writing book about writing books.
  3. A Florida panther [CARLTON WARD JR   |  by Carlton Ward Jr / CarltonWard]
    The Times environmental reporter writes a wild comeback story with his latest book. | Review
  4. Craig Pittman's new book "Cat Tale" focuses on the Florida panther. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT  |  Tampa Bay Times (2013)]
    Plus, Witers in Paradise presents its annual evening reading series, with Dani Shapiro, Ann Hood, Michael Koryta and more.
  5. Bailey McCall, center, plays Jenna, the title character in the touring company of 'Waitress.' [Jeremy Daniel]
    While touring with the Broadway hit, she says, she chooses books that are ‘a bit of an escape.’
  6. Dani Shapiro's latest memoir is "Inheritance." [Michael Maren]
    Her memoir ‘Inheritance,' about what a DNA test showed her about her parentage, has sparked responses from many readers.
  7. Valeria Luiselli is the author of "Lost Children Archives." [Courtesy of Diego Berruecos]
    Tim Dorsey will also sign ‘Naked Came the Florida Man’ around the Tampa Bay area.
  8. Jeff VanderMeer's new novel is "Dead Astronauts." [COLIN HACKLEY  |  COLIN HACKLEY]
    The author of the Southern Reach trilogy mashes up genres and bends time in a darkly poetic new novel.
  9. Singer Crystal Gayle [Gor Mageara]
    She always has sister Loretta Lynn’s memoir ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’ on her nightstand.
  10. Tombolo Books features staff picks, photographed on Dec. 19, 2019. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT  |  Times]
    After 16 years at Malaprops in Asheville, Alsace Walentine spent more than four years designing her Florida bookstore.