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Southwest Florida Reading Festival to celebrate power of reading

By Staff | Feb 6, 2020

More than 20 acclaimed and best-selling authors are coming to Fort Myers to talk about their books and meet fans at the 21st annual Southwest Florida Reading Festival on March 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Fort Myers Regional Library campus, at 2450 First St., Fort Myers.

A free event, the festival has a diverse line-up of nationally recognized authors for adults, teens and children. Hear and meet best-selling authors, participate in contests and activities, and find the latest and greatest in books, technology and accessories. In addition to author appearances and autographing sessions, there will be food truck vendors, storytelling programs, arts, crafts, youth writing and coloring contests, and a free book for every child and teen.

“The festival invites popular authors to participate by sharing their real life experiences, thought processes and the evolution of their characters,” Lee County Library System Director Mindi Simon said. “It is fascinating to hear the story behind the story.”

In addition, the library system hosts a number of preview events at its branches leading up to the festival. Among the activities this year are book signings by New York Times best-selling authors Mary HoneyB Morrison, Chris Pavone, Peggy Rowe and Lisa Unger, in addition to a Local Author Day featuring numerous independent authors on Feb. 29 from 1-3 p.m. at the North Fort Myers Library.

The highlight will be “An Evening with the Authors” fundraiser on March 6 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Marina at Edison Ford in Fort Myers. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet and mingle with this year’s festival authors while enjoying a buffet dinner overlooking the Caloosahatchee. Tickets can be purchased at www.ReadFest.org through Feb. 15.

The lineup of authors scheduled to attend the festival includes adult authors Jennifer Chiaverini, Lincoln Child, Michael Koryta and Erik Larson, as well as youth and teen authors Kate Messner and K.A. Holt. The complete list of authors can be found at www.ReadFest.org.

“We are really honored to share these authors with the community and provide readers and fans the opportunity to meet the writers personally and learn more about their work,” festival organizer Melissa Baker said. “This year we have an incredibly diverse mix of writers. We are proud that our festival lineup reflects the diversity in our community.”

The festival is community-supported through donations, sponsorships and grants.

For more information, visit www.ReadFest.org or call 239-533-4832.