2015 Amelia Island Book Festival

Three-Action Packed Days Slated for the 2015 Amelia Island Book Festival in February.

2015 Amelia Island Book FestivalBy Raffaela Marie Fenn

Appreciate the talent. Talk to the authors and hear their stories. Have fun. Buy books!

This 14th annual Amelia Island Book Festival (AIBF), featuring new and expanded offerings as well as some perennial favorites, has something for everyone! Whether you are a child, a teenager, a millennial or a boomer, whether you enjoy music, mysteries, biographies, fiction or non-fiction, or all of the above, there is something for you at the Amelia Island Book Festival (AIBF) cavalcade of events that run Thursday, February 19 through Saturday, February 21, 2015. Many activities are free to the public.

A major highlight of this year’s Festival is the one-two punch of keynote and featured special event speakers, Carolyn Curry and Bill Curry. The husband and wife team have different perspectives on life and the art of writing, yet their presentations dovetail perfectly. At the Saturday, February 21st, VyStar Readers Luncheon, Carolyn Curry will discuss her new book, Suffer and Grow Strong, based upon diaries kept by Ella “Gertrude” Clayton Thomas, a woman of high regard who lost everything during the Civil War, including her husband and four of her 10 children, and who went on to become a human rights activist. This gracious and brave 19th Century Southern woman’s remarkable life uplifts readers and motivates confidence in one’s own ability to triumph over seemingly impossible odds. Her husband, Bill Curry, will introduce Curry.

Bill is the featured speaker at a special reception and presentation set for Saturday from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club. The reception, sponsored by Hollie & Rick Keffer, is where you’ll have a chance to hear how Curry took his illustrious career as a football player, coach and motivator as well as his long running stint as an ESPN analyst to shape his book, Ten Men You Meet in the Huddle, Reflections of a Football Life. These two author-speakers inspire each of us to overcome life’s hurdles.

“There’s a lot that’s new and fresh,” says John Carr, Board president, who has been involved with the festival for more than 10 years in various roles. With our new slogan, ‘Celebrating books, people, culture and creativity,’ a brand new website, www.ameliaislandbookfestival.org, a new festival coordinator, Debra Craig, and several new Board Directors, we’ve got fresh faces and ideas building upon long-standing tradition while embracing the growing trends and needs of the reading public, most especially young people. There is something for everyone, so don’t miss this literary extravaganza.”

The Authors in Schools Program brings noted authors to visit thousands of students at Nassau County’s 15 public schools. Through this long-standing Festival tradition, students from kindergarten through high school will participate in lively talks, readings and programs all aimed at kindling young people’s interest in reading and fostering an enjoyment of books. “All monies raised from the various events and the festival week are committed to creating awareness about books, literacy and the importance of reading for learning and enjoyment for the students of Nassau County,” adds Carr.

“Our expanded hours and offerings in this year’s Teen Fest lineup of author-musicians and writers are sure to inspire, teach and regale our youth. Teens and tweens will not want to miss out on the events especially designed for them on Saturday,” says Shiela Fountain, this year’s Teen Fest chair. The music, authors and inspiration will have a lasting impact on this critical age group. All those attending will enjoy free pizza and the opportunity to meet and mingle, up close and personal with author-musicians Charles Benoit and Kevin Emerson. Benoit is a saxophone player and author of several books dealing with modern day issues of young adults. Emerson is a composer, songwriter and author well known to young adult audiences. “There are short story contests, prizes and the chance to learn how to publish your own book,” adds Fountain. In addition to Charles Benoit and Kevin Emerson, local author, Terri Dean, will inspire young authors to use their own life stories as meaningful springboards for writing.

Simultaneous with Teen Festival is the annual Readers Extravaganza where the public will enjoy free access to more than 80 noted authors of varying genre.

ZaraPhillipsThe three-day extravaganza kicks off Thursday evening with the engaging and powerful music and words by Zara Phillips, a London-born musician, songwriter and author.

“This festival and all of the prelude events we have held this past summer and fall are important to our community because the literary focus enhances our community’s appreciation for the arts and culture, adding to the richness of our lives here in Nassau County,” says Pam Park, Board vice chairperson. “One of the most important aspects of the festival is the participation of so many talented authors both locally and from across the country representing all genres.” Check out the list of those participating and I’m sure you’ll agree, the talent we are so fortunate to attract is overwhelming.

“While the festival is a reader’s delight, the Writers Workshop offers authors and would-be authors a chance to hone their craft, to find creative ways to publish, and be better prepared to market their work after publication,” says Evelyn McDonald, Board director and Writers Workshop chairperson.

Without a doubt, this 14th Annual Amelia Island Book Festival is a celebration of all things literary as well as the unique and gorgeous location of our beautiful barrier island of Amelia. Don’t miss it.

Amelia Island Book Festival is a 501 (c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting literacy.

For more details, or to buy tickets go to www.ameliaislandbookfestival.org Or email info@ameliaislandbookfestival.org

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