The 2013 BookFest, ¡Viva Libros! featured 40 separate events and 20 best-selling authors and speakers. Libraries featured writing workshops, informative history and archeology programs and author events, with an attendance of approximately 2,800 people.
Thanks to community support, we were able to successfully host events featuring nationally recognized authors Mary Anna Evans; Bob Morris; Dr. Darlin Neal; Vivian Shipley; Christopher Tozier; Ryan Van Cleave and HarperCollins New York Times and USA Today bestsellers Wendy Corsi Staub and Alison Gaylin.
Our mystery authors filled audiences with fans. Mystery is still the most popular genre with Lake County patrons who are passionate about their favorite characters. Bob Morris, author of the Zack Chasteen series of mysteries set in Florida and the Caribbean, along with numerous non-fiction books and original e-books began the week with his particularly witty humor. Mary Anna Evans is the creator of the delightfully erudite seventh Faye Longchamps series. A great speaker, Mary Anna has won the Florida Historical Society's Patrick D. Smith Florida Literature Award, the Benjamin Franklin Award, and a 2012 Florida Book Awards Bronze Medal.
Our HarperCollins guests were Wendy Corsi Staub and Alison Gaylin. Wendy was a delightfully funny and very energetic person whose writing credits include 75 novels from romance to Young Adult to her New York Times bestselling psychological suspense novels. USA Today bestselling author Alison Gaylin embraced her audiences with a warmth and charm that endeared her to fans. Her character Brenna Spector, Missing Persons Investigator, is afflicted with Hyperthymestic Syndrome, a rare disorder that enables her to remember every moment of every day of her life.
Pulitzer Prize nominee, Vivian Shipley, returned this year to mastermind a poetry contest and conduct a special workshop for the winners. The highlight for some 80 people was the reading by these winners. Vivian was insightful. Her works provide a voice for those members in our society who face adversity as a regular part of their life. Her compassion and empathy help us all walk a moment in those shoes.
Young Adult Authors Ryan Van Cleave, Gold Medal Winner in the Florida Book Awards for his novel Unlocked, captivated his audiences young and old. His timely novel is a fascinating look at how teens deal with the now constant threat of school violence. Christopher Tozier, a 2011 State of Florida Artist Fellowship recipient, gave a charming voice to his Olivia Olivia Brophie and the Pearl of Tagelus, the first in this middle-grade fantasy series. Both of these wonderful authors appeared in schools as well as libraries.