Extending the Mission

With its 23rd season coming in February, the Amelia Island Book Festival partners with the Right Whale Festival and presents its Celebrity Authors Luncheon this month.

Engaging adults and young people in the joy of reading and writing is the Amelia Island Book Festival’s (AIBF) purpose, and they accomplish their mission through a series of local events, programs, and workshops featuring New York Times-bestselling authors, as well as independent authors and publishers. Heading into its twenty-third year, the 2024 festival lineup is the most promising yet, but the good news for us readers is that you don’t have to wait until the calendar turns to enjoy some great AIBF happenings.

Coming November 4 – 5, you can find AIBF at the Right Whale Festival. “AIBF’s mission is to improve literacy skills in children and adults throughout Northeast Florida. While the current climate surrounding books in schools has impacted our programs, it has also provided our organization the opportunity to rethink our engagement surrounding literacy improvement,” shares AIBF President Paige Foery.

Participation in community at-large events is paramount to AIBF’s refreshed strategy, with Amelia Island’s Right Whale Festival one of its first forays. “The AIBF team will distribute ocean-themed books to children attending the festival, as well as encourage the community to learn more and support AIBF,” says Paige.

Just a week later, the 2024 AIBF Celebrity Author Fall Luncheon returns on November 9 at The Courtyard by Marriott Amelia Island, presenting keynote speaker Jacques Pépin. Pépin is a well-known and celebrated chef and author of over 30 cookbooks and an Amelia Island resident. He has won 16 James Beard awards and was awarded France’s highest distinction, the Legion of Honor. His new book, Jacques Pépin Cooking My Way, was released this fall and is perfect for anyone who wants to make high-quality food with minimal time, effort, and expense—and it features full-color photographs and Jacques’ celebrated paintings.

And mark your calendars for the festival’s main event, the AIBF Celebrity Author Gala on February 23 at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, featuring bestselling authors David Baldacci and John Grisham—just to name a few! Tickets go on sale to the public beginning November 15. In addition, the 2024 Author’s’ Expo & Readers’ Extravaganza will take place February 24 at Fernandina Beach Middle School.

“During the Expo, authors have opportunities to engage with over 1,300 readers in an up-close and personal way to showcase their books while inviting readers to learn about their work and what inspires them,” explains Paige. The Extravaganza features breakout sessions for tweens/teens, book signings, food trucks, and activities to educate and entertain participants, including a kids’ zone for the little ones.

In addition to the Festival, the AIBF is working to make a community impact year-round. “We are seeking to target as many up-and-coming readers as we can,” says Paige explained. “Through a recent partnership with Family Support Services of North Florida, Inc.—the lead agency for foster care and adoption in the region—we are donating books and putting them directly into the hands of the families they support. The goal is to encourage young children to read and engage families in reading to strengthen the family bond.”

The AIBF is excited about this year’s festival line-up, but also with their new partnerships and commitment to existing programs including scholarships for local students. To learn more about the 2024 Amelia Island Book Festival, visit ameliaislandbookfestival.org.