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Amelia Islander

Book Festival Returns

Dec 08, 2015 10:16AM
With a fresh format and new venues, exciting changes are in store for attendees at the upcoming fifteenth annual Amelia Island Book Festival, and one of the biggest changes is the naming of author Steve Berry as Honorary Festival Chairman. With more than fifteen international best sellers, Berry’s books have been translated into forty languages, with nineteen million copies sold in fifty-one countries. Berry is no stranger to Nassau County. In 2006, he was awarded the Stellar Award for his outstanding contributions to literacy by the Amelia Island Book Festival. “I’ve been coming to Amelia Island and its many book festivals for a long time,” says Berry. “This year, I’m honored to serve in an advisory role and work with the board to make this the best event in the history of the festival.” “The Board of Directors is thrilled to have Steve Berry as honorary chair and his help in getting us authors such as Greg Iles, Andrew Gross, and so many others,” says Festival Chairperson Raffaela Marie Rizzo Fenn. “His guidance has been invaluable. We expect a record crowd this year with our new venues and format!” Berry will appear in several events throughout the three-day festival, along with several other New York Times best-selling headliners. The Book Festival kicks off on Thursday, February 18, with a luncheon featuring New York Times best-selling author and keynote speaker Andrew Gross, who will be introduced by Berry. The luncheon will be held at the Ocean Club at Amelia Island Plantation, at which time the winner of the Christa Powell Walley College Scholarship will be announced. This is a ticketed event and reservations should be made in advance. Also on Thursday, Teen Scene programs with young authors will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Amelia Island Museum of History, Island Art Association, Amelia Island Coffee, and a location in Yulee that will be announced at a later date. This is a free event, but participants should RSVP in advance. On Friday February 19, join Steve and Elizabeth Berry for “Lessons from a Bestseller,” a writers’ workshop to benefit the festival’s Authors in Schools Literacy Program. Registration is at 8:30 a.m., and the workshop is held from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at FSCJ Nassau’s Bean Center in Yulee. This is a ticketed event and tickets should be purchased in advance. Also on Friday, Authors in Schools will be held in every Nassau County School, along with six VPK programs, for a total of 21 locations. This is a free event, with no cost to students or schools. Times will vary from school to school. A Literary Face-Off Gala Dinner will be held on Friday night from 6 to 10 p.m. at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort. The gala will feature literary giants and New York Times Bestselling Authors Greg Iles, Steve Berry, Andrew Gross, and others. Tickets should be ordered in advance, and proceeds will support Authors in Schools. The festival concludes with an Author Expo/Reader’s Extravaganza on Saturday, a family festival that celebrates the written word. There will be food, fun, entertainment, and activities throughout the day, including author breakouts and book signings, and contests with prizes for children and adults. A detailed schedule of events will be available at a later date. The Expo will be held at Fernandina Beach Middle School at 1315 Citrona Drive. This event is free and open to the public. “We are committed to our kids and the demonstrated benefits of our Authors in Schools literacy program,” says Fenn. “We are so grateful to our sponsors, partners, and individual supporters for helping us make this the year we achieve our goal to buy every student a book of the author they met. I feel certain that our events will be a success, and that donations will come in to get us over the top. With Steve Berry at the helm, all of our wonderful community partners, and our sponsors, we think this will be the best Amelia Island Book Festival ever!” For more information, call (904) 624-1655 or email [email protected]. To view each program or to purchase tickets, go to their web site and click on “Festival and Events.”