As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to challenge all aspects of our lives, the Amelia Island Book Festival is planning virtual programs hosted by renowned authors as an alternative to their in-person 2021 Book Festival. According to AIBF Board President, Larry Williams, as the festival has grown and changed with the times over its 20 years, this year’s challenges are just another part of those changes.
“We are concerned about the best interests of the health and safety of our authors, students, teachers, and volunteers as well as our donors, sponsors, and participants,” says Williams. “We hope to offer our first virtual program in February, with more virtual programs planned in the future.”
The AIBF board members are working on possible virtual author events in discussions with David Baldacci, the 2021 AIBF Honorary Chair. Details on these events will be updated on the AIBF website at ameliaislandbookfestival.org. In addition, the AIBF Luncheon, one of the organization’s most popular events, will be postponed until October. Book lovers are encouraged to stay in the loop by visiting their website frequently and by following AIBF on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
2021 AIBF HONORARY CHAIR DAVID BALDACCI Baldacci has been an AIBF headlining author for several years. In total, he has published 42 novels for adults; all have been national and international bestsellers, and several have been adapted for film and television. In addition to being a prolific writer, David is a devoted philanthropist, and his greatest efforts are dedicated to his family’s Wish You Well Foundation®. Established by Baldacci and his wife, Michelle, the Wish You Well Foundation supports family and adult literacy programs in the United States.
Some of the Amelia Island Book Festival’s headlining authors throughout the years have included literary greats like Sandra Brown, Kathy Reichs, Sharon Robinson, Margot Lee Shetterly, John Grisham, Diana Gabaldon, Ridley Pearson, Tess Gerritsen, Kristen Ashley, Jacques Pepin, and many more. An Authors Marketplace and writing workshops have provided help and support for many new and aspiring authors of all ages.
AIBF PARTNERS WITH LITERACY FOR KIDS
Although author events will be virtual this year, the Festival has always been about literacy and developing a love for reading at a young age. Especially now when live events aren’t possible, the Amelia Island Book Festival is pleased to be partnering with Literacy For Kids to host Jayne Rose-Vallee, author of Dinosaurs Living In Your Hair for virtual author presentations in first grade and two kindergarten classes at Wildlight and Callahan elementary schools.
In addition, four hundred signed, hardcover books, Dinosaurs Living in My Hair, Book One and Book Two, donated by Jayne and Heather Mertz, co-founders of Literacy for Kids, will be distributed to the students. The event will take place on February 24, and students in each classroom will have
a live presentation and Q&A with the author.
This year’s annual Short Story Contest is in full swing, open to all middle and high school students in Nassau County. This year’s theme is “The Unexpected Happening.” Deadline for entries is March 15, and full details are available on the AIBF website.
In addition, the AEL Foundation $5,000.00 Scholarship Award program, recognizes one Nassau County High School senior for her/his literary commitment to a college education as an emerging author/aspiring writer. An Awards Program to recognize winners of the Short Story Writing Contest and Scholarship awards is expected to be held in April.
ONE BOOK, ONE COMMUNITY
The Amelia Island Book Festival has again partnered with the Nassau County Public Library System in the “One Book, One Community” program, in which one book is chosen and discussed among community members. In December 2020, best-selling author Lisa Scottoline’s book, Someone Knows, was picked as the chosen read for this year’s festival. If you’d like to watch the recording of this online event, visit www.nassaureads.com/onebook and follow the instructions.
This year’s chosen read will be announced publicly soon, so be sure to visit the AIBF’s or library’s website. Readers are encouraged to participate in the program by reading and discussing the book with family, friends, book clubs, and neighbors.
One of the ways you can be a champion for literacy this year is to become a member of the Amelia Island Book Festival. Your support makes you a part of a select group of book lovers by helping bring authors and books to the students in our public schools through the Authors In Schools Program. Can’t join AIBF but still want to support the Authors in Schools program? Become a Book Buddy by donating $10 toward the purchase of books.
“Although our program offerings have been limited by the pandemic, we want to recognize our sponsors and donors that continue to support the Book Festival, says Williams. “Our website includes an updated list of this year’s sponsors and donors.
“Most recently, I am very pleased to announce that Rayonier, which has been an ongoing corporate sponsor of the Book Festival, presented us with a $1,000.00 contribution in support of our current year programs. Rayonier’s generous and long-term support has been crucial to our mission of connecting students, authors, and books for lifelong learning.”
The Amelia Island Book Festival is a Florida registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization.