ST. PETERSBURG - The 13th Annual St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading, scheduled for Sat., Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at its new location - the University of South Florida St. Petersburg (140 7th Avenue S.) - will feature over 60 celebrated authors including best-sellers Carl Hiaasen, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Candace Bushnell, R.L. Stine, Mireille Guiliano, Sue Ellen Cooper, and Jim & Kate Lehrer.
The free festival, which annually attracts thousands of book lovers, will be staged in several University buildings, including the Campus Activities Center, Davis Hall, the Florida Center for Teachers, the Fish & Wildlife Research Institute and the nearby Poynter Institute.
In addition to the author talks there will be celebrity readings, a variety of entertainment and poetry readings, an extensive Book Market, food and drink concessions, a Publix Storyland area offering many children's activities including arts and crafts, interactive games, costumed story-book characters, a Halloween costume contest and an appearance by SPOT the News hound - the Times' literacy mascot.
The first 500 persons who donate a new children's book at the "Publix Books-for-Kids Tent" will receive a voucher for two tickets to the Tampa Bay vs. Carolina hockey game on Dec. 26 at the St. Pete Times Forum courtesy of the St. Petersburg Times. The donated books will be given to the YWCA Family Village and Community Pride Child Care Inc.
Visitors to this year's Festival should be prepared to see a sea of red hats at the session featuring Red Hat Society founder Sue Ellen Cooper who will be presenting The Red Hat Society: Fun and Friendship After Fifty.
Other headliners are Candace Bushnell, whose novel, "Sex and the City," launched a television phenomenon (she'll talk about her next novel, "Lipstick Jungle"); Mireille Guiliano, author of the best-selling "French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure"; Carl Hiaasen, who will present his second children's book, "Flush;" and Doris Kearns Goodwin ("Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln").
R.L. Stine will tout his new series, "Mostly Ghostly," while Florida author Greg Jenkins will talk about his book, "Florida's Ghostly Legends and Haunted Folklore."
Jenkins' talk will be followed by a panel called Eyes on Florida: Looking at the State Through Different Lenses. The panel, made possible through a grant from the Florida Humanities Council - the State Program of the National Endowment for the Humanities - features a historian (USF's Ray Arsenault), a journalist (Times writer Jeff Klinkenberg) and a novelist (St. Petersburg author Lee Irby), discussing how their professions change the way they look at the state. USF historian Gary Mormino, author of Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams, will moderate.
The complete schedule of authors, book signings, workshops and entertainers will be on the Festival Web site www.FestivalofReading.com.