Fernandina Beach, FL – Each year a cadre of volunteer board members, sponsors and donors help make the Amelia Island Book Festival’s (AIBF) award-winning “Authors in Schools” literacy program a reality. Through fundraising and sheer tenacity this small group manages not only to bring noted authors into every Nassau County School, but also to buy a book from the author for each student they meet.

This year, the Book Festival Board purchased 11,300 books for the students of Nassau County School District of the author they will meet. In addition, they offer several other educational opportunities for the students of Nassau County through the “Short-Story Writing Contest” and the “Tween/Teen Festival”, and a $2,000 college Scholarship. For adults, the “Steve Berry Writing Workshop: Lessons from a Bestseller” offers would-be authors a chance to learn the craft directly from the number-one international and New York Times bestselling author, who also serves as the festival’s Honorary Chairman.

The three-day festival culminates in a gift to the all of northeast Florida and southeast Georgia and all the visitors that visit Amelia Island from across the United States, Canada and even as far away as Australia.

The Saturday, February 17, Author Expo/Readers’ Extravaganza is jam-packed with excitement for all ages. Sponsored by CBC National Banks and Online Binding of Jacksonville, the day offers so much for everyone. The “Lee Child Breakout Session” is sponsored by Molina Healthcare, Inc.

“We are very grateful to our Expo Sponsors, as well as to the sponsors and ticket buyers of all our ticketed events that help make the book purchases for our students possible,” says Dr. John Ruis, this year’s volunteer President. “I’m proud of the work of this tireless group. We hope everyone in northeast Florida and southeast Georgia will come and take part in this celebration, which cements for our young people the value and excitement of books.

“We focus on lifelong learning, and that extends beyond our school years,” adds “Authors in Schools” co-chair Marie Fenn. “We are extremely grateful to our Honorary Chairman Steve Berry without whom we would not be able to attract the amazing headliners who will be at the 2018 Book Festival. And, we are grateful to all the celebrated authors who lend their time and talent to help us succeed.”

AIBF Expo participants will have the opportunity to engage with 100 noted authors, both New York Times bestselling and emerging authors of every genre. The Expo includes breakout sessions with celebrity authors, coffee with local authors and the opportunity for participants to make new discoveries, as well as to buy books and get them personalized. Those attending the Book Festival may take selfies with their favorite authors and celebrate all things literary.

Children at the Expo will get to revel in engaging activities, including arts and crafts, making a book and hearing some bestselling children’s authors. There will be food, fun, contests and music by the Laid-back Band. A children’s favorite character, Pete the Cat, will be roaming about.

Everyone attending the Expo is urged to pick up a Passport to Literary Discovery to get stamped when visiting authors and to be eligible for great prizes in hourly drawings.

All sessions, except where noted, last about 45 minutes,
All authors will come into gym for book signing after their presentation, where there are an additional 100 noted authors of every genre available.

10:00 am—2 pm— Kidz Zone–Classroom—1
Kidz Zone will feature lifelong educator and AIBF Director Terry Ramsay and her creations for age 3—10. In addition, and back by popular demand, OnlineBinding.com will turn the works of art into a personal book keepsakes. As always there will be glitter galore.

10:00 am-noon ~ Jacques Pépin – Signing His Bestselling Cookbooks—Gym
The award-winning and internationally renowned chef, television personality and author has appeared on French and American television and written an array of cookbooks that have become bestsellers. Pépin’s numerous accolades and accomplishments include co-starring in the PBS series “Julia and Jacques: Cooking at Home with Julia Child,” Emmy Award winner, cooking for heads of state and restaurant owner.

10:00 a.m. Steve Berry, Festival Honorary Chairman—Media Center
Join New York Times and international #1 bestselling author, whose works have been translated into 40 languages with over 22 million copies circulated in 51 countries as he unveils how and why historic events and situations provide the cornerstone for his novels. Learn how his career path took a major turn from lawyering to writing and becoming the founder of History Matters, a foundation dedicated to historic preservation.

11:00 a.m. Sheri Rinker —Media Center—especially aimed at young children and families.
If you live a chaotic life filled with endless noise, mismatched socks, and crazy animals, you will want to hear from New York Times #1 bestselling children’s author, Sheri Rinker who began writing books to help kids go to sleep at night and to provide treasured memories for them and their families. Her belief that imagination is more important than knowledge shines throughout her amazingly illustrated children’s stories. Find out how she emerged from gardening, cooking, mothering and collecting old oil paintings to writing eight award winning books, including Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site, and Steam Train, Dream Train.

12:00 p.m. Noted Nassau County Authors—Leader, Steve Berry – Classroom 2
Lead by Festival Honorary Chairman Steve Berry, Join a dozen noted Nassau County authors for an informal discussion. This is a wonderful time to discover all you ever wanted to know about writing and living in paradise at the same time. Bring your lunch, we’ll provide the beverages and cookies.

1:00 p.m. Jennifer Armentrout—Media Center
Hear how boredom in algebra class, fueled by watching bad zombie movies, propelled Jennifer Armentrout to become a world renown, New York Times #1 bestselling author of young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance novels. Understand how she deals with retinitis pigmentosa which threatens her sight, yet continues to produce award-winning novels such as The Problem with Forever and Obsidian.

2:00 p.m. Karin Slaughter—Media Center
Be sure to visit one of the world’s most acclaimed storytellers, Karin Slaughter, who writes stories which “get under your skin.” With 35 million copies in publication, her works include Cop Town and All the Pretty Girls, which became instant New York Times bestsellers. Discover how her “run off into the mountains and write until I collapse” style leads to masterful tales of murder, intrigue and heart-pounding drama.

2:30 p.m. Awards Ceremony, Auditorium tickets needed, see below
Student Short-Story Contest winners/ The Book Island Literary Awards and The AIBF Awards will be presented at this short ceremony. Come cheer on these amazing young people and adult winners. Middle and high school student winners of the county-wide short story contest will get their awards at 2:30 p.m., and get to meet author Lee Child, international bestselling mega-star of the Jack Reacher series. The other awards will be presented by Honorary Chairman Steve Berry.

3:00 p.m. Lee Child– Auditorium, (Free, but limited space; go to AIBF site to get a ticket)
Be sure to join award-winning and bestselling author Lee Child whose “hardboiled” prose and adrenaline-pulsing thrillers have pushed sales to over 100 million books. Learn about his journey from working in theater and television to earning the Nero “Best Novel” award, and what it took to buy paper and pencils and write what turned out to be the first book in the Jack Reacher series. Hear about how those Jack Reacher novels emerge as revenge stories in which, “somebody does a very bad thing and Reacher takes revenge.” On paper, for sure, revenge is so sweet! This is a unique opportunity you will not want to miss.