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Tampa Bay Times Virtual Festival of Reading: Everything you need to know

The lineup, schedule and directions for tuning in, plus excerpts and reviews of books by festival authors.

The 2020 Tampa Bay Times Virtual Festival of Reading offers a bounty of authors at the click of a link. But which ones to watch?

This year’s festival is all online at festivalofreading.com. There you’ll find video interviews and panels with more than 40 authors talking about their latest books.

Hear what John Grisham, Carl Hiaasen and Michael Connelly have to say about their new bestsellers. Listen to Walter Mosley and Maggie O’Farrell talk about their literary fiction, and Barbara Kingsolver read from her new poetry collection. Get the inside story from nonfiction writers Jonathan Alter and Ariel Sabar. Hear Brad Meltzer talk about his children’s books. Find out about crime fiction from Ace Atkins, Tim Dorsey and Lisa Unger. And so much more!

You can also register for four live-streamed events: an interview with James Lee Burke on Thursday, a Q&A with the PolitiFact team on Friday, a book brunch with Mary Kay Andrews and Kristin Harmel on Saturday morning, and an interview with Colson Whitehead on Saturday afternoon.

If you’re not sure where to start, here are links to reviews of festival authors books as well as interviews and excepts.

If they all sound good to you, no worries — the videos will be available to watch any time for the next six months.

Books for sale during the Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading at the University of South Florida St,. Petersburg Campus on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019 in St. Petersburg.
Books for sale during the Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading at the University of South Florida St,. Petersburg Campus on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019 in St. Petersburg. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]

How to log on for the 2020 Times Virtual Festival of Reading

Here’s an overview of the festival and how to participate.

Times Virtual Festival of Reading author lineup

A look at the writers who will be participating in this year’s Festival of Reading,

Reviews, interviews and excerpts

Jonathan Alter’s portrait of Jimmy Carter shows ‘His Very Best’: This rich, deeply researched presidential biography does not shy from the worst, either.

Mary Kay Andrews takes us to the beach in ‘Hello, Summer’: The bestselling author and St. Petersburg native tucks a valentine to journalism into a tale of mystery and romance in a seaside Panhandle town.

All the devils are here in Ace Atkins' ‘The Revelators’: The 10th book in his Quinn Colson series sees the Mississippi sheriff fighting back from severe injuries.

‘Tampa Bay Noir’ anthology lets writers tell our story: The shady side of our place in the sun emerges in 15 new short stories by such writers as Michael Connelly, Lisa Unger, Tim Dorsey and more.

Rick Bragg writes richly about ‘Where I Come From’: A collection of columns about the South is the latest satisfying serving from a master storyteller.

James Lee Burke’s ‘A Private Cathedral’ brings myth to mystery: The 23rd novel about Louisiana detective Dave Robicheaux finds him battling evil in the present and out of the past.

Susan Cerulean’s memoir mourns decline of father, planet: ‘I Have Been Assigned the Single Bird’ recounts her experiences caring for an Alzheimer’s patient and volunteering as a steward of Florida shorebirds.

Roy Peter Clark offers pro tips from ‘Murder Your Darlings’: The longtime writing coach’s latest is a writing book about writing books.

Mickey Haller returns in Michael Connelly’s latest: In “The Law of Innocence,” the Lincoln Lawyer takes on his most urgent case ever when he’s charged with murder.

Eleanor Crewes counts ‘The Times I Knew I Was Gay’: The author and illustrator’s charming coming-of-age memoir depicts her discovery of self, with some help from Willow.

Tim Dorsey's 23rd Serge Storms book is "Naked Came the Florida Man."
Tim Dorsey's 23rd Serge Storms book is "Naked Came the Florida Man." [ Janine Dorsey ]

In Tim Dorsey’s ‘Naked Came the Florida Man,’ Serge Storms is back: It’s a Florida tour, from Flipper to football.

Looking for connection in Sarah Gerard’s ‘True Love’: The Pinellas native’s new novel is an edgy take on relationships among millennials.

Jake Brigance returns in John Grisham’s compelling new novel: The small-town lawyer from the bestselling author’s first legal thriller defends a teenager charged with murder in “A Time for Mercy.”

Thorn returns in James W. Hall’s ‘Bad Axe’: The Key Largo loner featured in 14 previous novels leaves his Florida habitat to pursue a dark case across the country.

Pages have power in Kristin Harmel’s ‘The Book of Lost Names’: The Florida author’s fifth historical novel set during World War II is a thrilling tale of forgers in the French Resistance.

Snakes of all kinds populate Carl Hiaasen’s ‘Squeeze Me’: The new novel by the Florida writer revolves around a missing Palm Beach socialite, a wildlife wrangler and the first lady.

Cheryl Hollon’s new series gets a sharp beginning with ‘Still Knife Painting’: A New York artist moves to a family farm in Kentucky to start her own business, but the first day is murder.

Andrew Huse serves up a taste of Tampa’s past: ‘From Saloons to Steak Houses: A History of Tampa’ offers an intriguing look at the role of restaurants, bars and nightclubs in the life of the city.

In ‘This Thing Called Life,’ Neal Karlen captures glimpses of Prince’s humanity: Karlen’s ’80s and ’90s interviews with the reclusive rock icon led to a decades-long connection that forms the basis of a new biography.

Barbara Kingsolver soars with ‘How to Fly’: The bestselling novelist is more personal than political in a new collection of poems.

Barbara Kingsolver will talk about her new book, "How to Fly (In Ten Thousand Easy Lessons)."
Barbara Kingsolver will talk about her new book, "How to Fly (In Ten Thousand Easy Lessons)." [ Evan Kafka ]

A world at war in Phil Klay’s ‘Missionaries’: The first novel by the award-winning author and Iraq War veteran is a sweeping yet intimate look at the military in the 21st century.

Laura Lippman invites us into ‘My Life as a Villainess’: The bestselling mystery writer’s new book gathers personal essays about becoming a mother at 51, starting two careers, losing friends and parents, and being married to the man who made “The Wire.”

Gregory Maguire’s ‘A Wild Winter Swan’ is wicked good: The author of ‘Wicked’ casts a new spell in this novel about a lonely teenage girl who rescues a strange creature.

Brad Meltzer’s biographies for kids offer real-life heroes: The newest books in the bestselling Ordinary People Change the World series are ‘I Am Anne Frank’ and ‘I Am Benjamin Franklin.’

The strange career of Claude Pepper, a column by festival author Gary Mormino: As a young politician, Pepper accepted a Faustian bargain that the only way he could bring New Deal liberalism to the South was to embrace the region’s racial code.

Walter Mosley’s ‘The Awkward Black Man’ surprises and delights: The prolific author was just named the recipient of the National Book Foundation’s lifetime achievement award. He’ll be at the Times Festival of Reading.

Maggie O’Farrell’s ‘Hamnet’ imagines Shakespeare at home: This lyrical, wise novel about the playwright’s family revolves around the loss of a beloved child.

Gene Patterson’s ‘The Changing South’ still resonates: Columns written in the 1960s by the former St. Petersburg Times editor grapple with racial issues that are with us still.

Craig Pittman’s ‘Cat Tale’ captures the Florida panther’s extinction scare: The former Times environmental reporter writes a wild comeback story with his latest book.

Kent Russell maps Florida, past, present and future: His memoir, “In the Land of Good Living,” recounts his 1,000-mile walk with two friends from the Panhandle to Coconut Grove.

Kent Russell's new book, "In the Land of Good Living," recounts his 1,000-mile walk across Florida.
Kent Russell's new book, "In the Land of Good Living," recounts his 1,000-mile walk across Florida. [ Benjamin Travers ]

Ariel Sabar’s ‘Veritas’ is a true story that reads like a thriller: The world of biblical scholarship is the setting for a compelling real-life tale of intrigue and human drama.

The birds are back in Eliot Schrefer’s ‘The Popper Penguin Rescue’: Adventure abounds in a fun sequel to the 1938 classic ‘Mr. Popper’s Penguins.’

‘12’ looks at Tom Brady’s rise, fall and rise: The book by Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge recounts the Deflategate scandal and the quarterback’s comeback.

Katherine Snow Smith on when to break the boundaries: “Rules for the Southern Rulebreaker” is a witty new memoir in essays by a former Times staffer.

‘Miami Noir: The Classics’ shines darkly: Les Standiford selects 19 fine examples of crime fiction by authors like Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Charles Willeford and Elmore Leonard.

Crime is personal in James Swain’s ‘Bad News Travels’: An FBI agent and an ex-Navy SEAL pursue a case on the nightmare side of sleepy St. Augustine.

Kanika Tomalin shares recipes from local restaurants: The deputy mayor of St. Petersburg put together ‘St. Pete Eats’ as part of a health initiative and a salute to the city’s restaurants.

'Confessions on the 7:45′ is Lisa Unger’s master class in suspense: In the bestselling local author’s new psychological thriller, a woman’s conversation with a stranger changes everything.

‘The Committee’ a chilling flashback to Florida’s past: Sterling Watson’s historical novel is a taut thriller set against the activities of the infamous Johns Committee at the University of Florida.

Colson Whitehead’s ‘The Nickel Boys’ draws power from a real Florida story: The novel was inspired by the real-life history of the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, also known as the Florida School for Boys, which operated from 1900 to 2011 in Marianna.

FILE - In this June 20, 2017, file photo, novelist Colson Whitehead speaks to fans after discussing his Pulitzer prize-winning book "The Underground Railroad" at the English-language bookstore Shakespeare and Company in Paris. Already this year's recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the Orwell Prize for political fiction, Whitehead is now being honored by the Library Congress. On Monday, July 13, the library announced that he had won the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras, File)
FILE - In this June 20, 2017, file photo, novelist Colson Whitehead speaks to fans after discussing his Pulitzer prize-winning book "The Underground Railroad" at the English-language bookstore Shakespeare and Company in Paris. Already this year's recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the Orwell Prize for political fiction, Whitehead is now being honored by the Library Congress. On Monday, July 13, the library announced that he had won the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras, File) [ RUSSELL CONTRERAS | AP ]

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