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VIRTUAL FESTIVAL
November 8-14, 2021

Lauren Groff
Matrix

Lauren Groff

Book: Matrix

Author Bio:

Watch Lauren Groff's Festival of Reading talk.

Lauren Groff is the author of six books of fiction, including the short story collection Florida and the novel Fates and Furies. Her most recent novel, Matrix, was published in September and has been longlisted for the 2021 National Book Award for fiction. Her work has won the Story Prize, the ABA Indies’ Choice Award and France’s Grand Prix de l’Héroïne. Her books have been finalists for the National Book Award for fiction and the Kirkus Prize, and shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Prize, the Southern Book Prize and the Los Angeles Times Prize. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and she was named one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists. Her work has been translated into more than 30 languages. She lives in Gainesville.

Lauren Groff Interview
Michael Connelly
The Dark Hours

Michael Connelly

Book: The Dark Hours

Author Bio:

Watch Michael Connelly's Festival of Reading talk

Michael Connelly grew up in Florida and decided to become a writer after discovering the books of Raymond Chandler while attending the University of Florida. Connelly worked at newspapers in Daytona Beach and Fort Lauderdale before landing a job as a crime reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He began writing books full time about 30 years ago and is the bestselling author of 36 novels and one work of nonfiction. With more than 80 million copies of his books sold worldwide and translated into 45 languages, he is one of the most successful writers working today. He has received many honors for his work, including two Edgar awards from the Mystery Writers of America and the Diamond Dagger from the Crime Writers Association in 2018. His novels Blood Work and The Lincoln Lawyer were adapted into movies. His series of novels about iconic LAPD Detective Harry Bosch is the source of the hit Amazon series Bosch, for which Connelly was a writer and executive producer. Two more series based on his books, The Lincoln Lawyer and an untitled Bosch sequel, are on the way. Connelly is also the creator and host of the podcast Murder Book. His latest novel, The Dark Hours, featuring detectives Renee Ballard and Harry Bosch, will be published Nov. 9. He spends his time in California and Florida.

Michael Connelly Interview
Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

Book: The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois

Author Bio:

Watch Honorée Fanonne Jeffers' Festival of Reading talk

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers is a fiction writer, poet and essayist. Her debut novel, The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois, was published in August. It has been named an Oprah’s Book Club novel and longlisted for the 2021 National Book Award for fiction. Jeffers is the author of five poetry collections, including the 2020 collection The Age of Phillis, which won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry and was longlisted for the National Book Award for poetry and the PEN/Voelcker Award. She was a contributor to The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race, edited by Jesmyn Ward, and has been published in the Kenyon Review, Iowa Review and other literary publications. Jeffers was elected into the American Antiquarian Society, whose members include fourteen U.S. presidents, and is critic at large for Kenyon Review. She teaches creative writing and literature at University of Oklahoma.

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers Interview
Ace Atkins
The Heathens

Ace Atkins

Book: The Heathens

Author Bio:

Watch Ace Atkins and Lisa Unger's 2021 Festival of Reading talk

New York Times bestselling author Ace Atkins has been nominated for every major award in crime fiction, including the Edgar three times, twice for novels about former U.S. Army Ranger Quinn Colson. Atkins has written eleven books in the Colson series, the latest of which, The Heathens, was published this year. Atkins also continued Robert B. Parker’s iconic Spenser character after Parker’s death in 2010, adding eight best-selling novels in that series; the ninth, Someone to Watch Over Me, will be published in 2022. A former newspaper reporter for the then-St. Petersburg Times and the Tampa Tribune and SEC football player, Atkins also writes essays and investigative pieces for several national magazines, including TimeOutside and Garden & Gun. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, with his family, where he’s friend to many dogs and several bartenders.

Ace Atkins Interview
Lisa Unger
Last Girl Ghosted

Lisa Unger

Book: Last Girl Ghosted

Author Bio:

Watch Ace Atkins and Lisa Unger's 2021 Festival of Reading talk

Lisa Unger is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author. With books published in 30 languages and millions of copies sold worldwide, she is widely regarded as a master of suspense. Her latest psychological thriller, Last Girl Ghosted, was published in October. Unger’s critically acclaimed books have been named on best book lists from the Today Show, Good Morning America, Entertainment Weekly, People, Amazon, Goodreads and many others. She has been nominated for, or won, numerous awards including the Hammett Prize, Macavity, Thriller Award and Goodreads Choice. In 2019, she received two Edgar Award nominations. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, and Travel+Leisure. She lives on the west coast of Florida with her family.

Lisa Unger inverview
Cynthia Barnett
The Sound of The Sea: Seashells and the Fate of the Oceans

Cynthia Barnett

Book: The Sound of The Sea: Seashells and the Fate of the Oceans

Author Bio:

Watch Craig Pittman and Cynthia Barnett's 2021 Festival of Reading talk

Cynthia Barnett is an award-winning environmental journalist who has reported on water and climate change around the world. Her new book, The Sound of the Sea: Seashells and the Fate of the Oceans, was published in July. She is also the author of Rain: A Natural and Cultural History, longlisted for the National Book Award and a finalist for the 2016 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award, and Blue Revolution: Unmaking America’s Water Crisis, which was named by the Boston Globe as one of the top 10 science books of 2011. Her first book, Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern U.S., won the gold medal for best nonfiction in the Florida Book Awards and was named by the St. Petersburg Times as one of the top 10 books that every Floridian should read. Barnett has written for National Geographic magazine, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Discover magazine, Salon, Politico, Orion, Ensia and many other publications. Her numerous journalism awards include a national Sigma Delta Chi prize for investigative magazine reporting and eight Green Eyeshades. Barnett teaches environmental journalism at the University of Florida in Gainesville, where she lives with her husband and teenagers.

Cynthia Barnett Interview
Craig Pittman
The State You're In

Craig Pittman

Book: The State You're In

Author Bio:

Watch Craig Pittman and Cynthia Barnett's 2021 Festival of Reading talk

Craig Pittman is a native Floridian, born in Pensacola. In 30 years at the Tampa Bay Times, he won numerous state and national awards for his environmental reporting. His new book, The State You’re In: Florida Men, Florida Women, and Other Wildlife, is an anthology of 51 of his articles from the 1990s to the present. He is the author of five previous books, including the New York Times bestseller Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country, which won a gold medal from the Florida Book Awards. In 2020, he published Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle to Save the Florida Panther. He has written for the Washington Post, Smithsonian and Sarasota magazines, Politico, Crime Reads and other publications. The Florida Heritage Book Festival recently named him a Florida Literary Legend. Pittman is co-host of the "Welcome to Florida" podcast. He lives in St. Petersburg with his wife and children.

Craig Pittman Interview
Michael Koryta
Where They Wait

Michael Koryta

Book: Where They Wait

Author Bio:

Watch Michael Koryta's (Scott Carson)
2021 Festival of Reading talk

Michael Koryta is the New York Times bestselling author of 14 novels, a novella and multiple short stories. His new book, Where They Wait, is his second horror novel written under the pen name Scott Carson, after 2020’s The Chill. Koryta’s work has been translated into more than 20 languages, and his books have won or been nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Edgar Award and a number of other prizes. Those Who Wish Me Dead, published in 2014, was named the summer’s best thriller by both Amazon and Entertainment Weekly. The movie version of the novel, starring Angelina Jolie, Nicholas Hoult and Tyler Perry, was released this year. Before turning to writing novels full-time, Koryta worked as a private investigator and a newspaper reporter, and taught at the Indiana University School of Journalism. He lived in St. Petersburg for six years and has been on the faculty of Eckerd College’s Writers in Paradise conference. Michael and his wife, Christine, divide their time between Bloomington, Indiana, and Camden, Maine. Research has always been a driving passion for Michael, leading him from big-cat rescues to wilderness survival schools and caving trips.

Michael Koryta Interview
Louise Erdrich
The Sentence

Louise Erdrich

Book: The Sentence

Author Bio:

Watch Louise Erdrich's 2021 Festival of Reading talk

Louise Erdrich, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, is the author of many novels as well as volumes of poetry, children’s books and a memoir of early motherhood. Her novel The Round House won the National Book Award for fiction. Love Medicine and LaRose received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. Erdrich lives in Minnesota with her daughters and is the owner of Birchbark Books, a small independent bookstore. Her most recent book, The Night Watchman, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2021. Her new novel, The Sentence, will be published on Nov. 9. A ghost lives in her creaky old house.

Louise Erdrich Interview