Hit the Books: Three Florida Book Festivals to Check Out this Fall and Winter

By: Dalia Colon


Fall is the perfect time to get cozy with a good book. But this is Florida, which means it’s also the perfect time to be outside. So when you’ve completed the solitary activity of reading, rub elbows with other bibliophiles at one of these upcoming book fairs:

The Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading is set for Oct. 26, 2013, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the St. Petersburg campus of the University of South Florida. As a former Times staff writer, I’ve always looked forward to this event. Notable speakers this year include Raymond Arsenault, whose 2006 book Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice, inspired a PBS documentary; conservation photographer Carlton Ward Jr., who made headlines with his trek from the Florida Everglades to Georgia; and my uber-talented friend Stephanie Hayes, whose novel Obitchuary has just been published; and St. Petersburg poet laureate Peter Meinke.

Miami Book Fair International is one of the country’s premiere literary events. The 30th annual event happens Nov. 17 to 24, 1013 on the downtown campus of Miami Dade College. Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown is the main attraction, but there are plenty of other big names on the agenda. Most author presentations cost $15, but even if you can’t attend those, you’ll definitely want to hit the street fair. It’s Nov. 22 to 24, with live music, culinary demonstrations, a pop-up park (yes, really), children’s activities and tons more. Street fair tickets are $8 for adults. Find out more about Miami Book Fair International in my soon-to-be-posted article on the event.

The Amelia Island Book Festival will take place Feb. 21 and 22, 2014 at various venues. Tickets for the general public go on sale in December. Novelist David Baldacci is the headliner, with more authors to be announced soon. Also be sure to bring the little ones to the Kidz Fun Zone for free storytelling, crafts and more.

What’s on your nightstand? Let’s talk books on my Facebook page.


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