The Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading returns for the 29th time as a live virtual event during the week of November 8-14. The small but fine list of best-selling and award-winning authors includes this year’s Pulitzer Prize Winner for Fiction, an Oprah’s Book Club author, and a finalist for this year’s National Book Award.
All festival authors will be interviewed live via Zoom by Times Book editor Colette Bancroft, with questions and answers from viewers. Six of the seven events are free of charge, with registration you will receive a link. An event is a fundraiser with tickets to the festival. Register for the free lectures, buy a ticket or buy festival author’s books at festivalofreading.com.
Book sales are handled by two local independent bookstores, Tombolo books in St. Petersburg and the Bookstore on the Oxford Exchange in Tampa. Both will have some hand-signed copies of festival books available.
The festival kicks off on November 8th at 7pm with an interview with acclaimed author Lauren Groff. Groff, who lives in Gainesville, is the author of six books, including the stunning collection of short stories Florida and the novel Fates and Furies. Your new novel, matrix, was published in September and is a finalist for the National Book Award 2021 for fiction. matrix is a historical novel, a surprising and exciting story about the life of a real woman, Marie de France, who left the French court in the 12th century to become a nun and run a remote abbey.
Festival favorite and part-time Tampa resident Michael Connelly will return to present his gripping new novel. The dark hours, at 7 p.m. on November 9th. Connelly is the best-selling author of 36 novels and one non-fiction book, with more than 80 million copies of his books sold worldwide. His novel series about legendary Los Angeles Police Detective Harry Bosch is the source of the hit Amazon series BoschConnelly was the writer and executive producer for. Two more TV series based on his books, The Lincoln attorney and an untitled one Bosch Continuation, are on the way. The dark hours Teams Bosch, now retired, with LAPD Detective RenÃ©e Ballard in an intrepid look at policing in the post-George Floyd era.
On November 10th at 7 p.m. HonorÃ©e Fannone Jeffers will speak about her debut novel, The love songs from WEB Du Bois. Jeffers is known and recognized as a poet, but her novel went down like a rocket. It was published in August and was recognized as an Oprah’s Book Club novel and nominated for the National Book Award 2021 for fiction. In vivid prose, it tells the complex and moving story of a black family spanning several centuries, with an emphasis on a contemporary young woman, Ailey Garfield, but who brings in a chorus of often unexpected voices.
On November 11th at 7pm, two of the festival stars, Ace Atkins and Lisa Unger, are returning for their annual Books and Bourbon gig. Atkins, a former reporter at the timeSt. Petersburg times and the Tampa Grandstand and a SEC football player, is the author of 11 best-selling crime novels about Mississippi Sheriff Quinn Colson. Atkins also continued Robert B. Parker’s iconic Spenser character after Parker’s death in 2010, adding eight best-sellers to that series. Atkins’ latest novel, The pagans, was inspired by a murder case in the Tampa Bay area. Unger, who lives on the beaches of Pinellas, is a New York Times and international bestselling author. With 19 books in 30 languages ââand millions of copies sold worldwide, she is widely regarded as a master of suspense. Your new psychological thriller, Last girl ghosted, was released in October, and its terrifying story might make you think twice about dating apps.
On November 12th at 2:00 p.m., the festival welcomes two of Florida’s most renowned environmental journalists in conversation. Cynthia Barnett, who teaches journalism at the University of Florida, talks about her fourth non-fiction book, The Amazing The Sound of the Sea: Shells and the Fate of the Oceans. She is joined by Craig Pittman, a former award-winning company Tampa Bay times Reporter to talk about his sixth book, The state you are in: Florida Men, Florida Women, and Other Wildlife, a fascinating and often hilarious anthology of 51 of his articles from the 1990s to the present day.
Scott Carson will be coming to the festival on November 13th at 2pm, although you may have seen him under his real name Michael Koryta at previous festivals. Carson is the name Koryta used in his last book. The cold, a haunting horror novel to set it apart from his 14 crime books. One of those thrillers The ones who wish me deadIt was made into a film with Angelina Jolie in the lead role, which hit theaters this year. Koryta’s (or better Carson’s) latest book, Where they wait, is a creepy horror novel about a laid-off journalist hired to portray a man who created an app that shapes dreams.
The grand finale of the festival is a conversation with Louise Erdrich, this year’s winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel The night watchman. She will talk about her new book The sentence, which will be released on November 9th. Set in Minneapolis in 2020, amid the pandemic and protests following the murder of George Floyd, it’s a contemporary and breathtaking look at a complex marriage as well as a wickedly hilarious ghost story.
Erdrich’s lecture on November 14th at 4 p.m. is the only paid event at the festival. Tickets are $ 50 and include a copy of The sentence and admission to a virtual live interview with the author. The proceeds will go to the festival and the Times Journalism Fund. Tickets are available at festivalofreading.com.