Lake County residents and visitors were treated to some of Florida’s finest authors both fiction and non-fiction. Events explored the preservation of folk arts and the role of arts education in the community with UCF Dr. Kristin Congdon and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern U.S. with Cynthia Barnett. Her book won the Gold medal for best nonfiction in the 2007 Florida Book Awards. Dr. Gary Mormino explained the explosive growth in Florida and its impact as reported in his award winning book Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida. Stephen G. Craft spoke on Embry-Riddle at War, the first study of a civilian aviation school during World War II and examined the evolution of a civilian company contributing to the war effort and the crucial part Florida played. Freelance writer, photographer and author of Florida Then and Now, Bruce Hunt, brought spectacular photographs of cities and small communities in Florida which highlighted the changes from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Five of Florida's greatest mystery writers James O. Born, Tim Dorsey, Mary Anna Evans, Bob Morris and Elaine Viets kept audiences rolling in the aisles with tales of experiences in the writing of their novels. Karen Hawkins, the USA Today and New York Times bestselling author shared the secret life and attire of a romance writer. Two events were held specifically for upcoming writers. Vic DiGenti, author of the Windrusher series, taught the skill of composing compelling scenes. Author Cynthia Thomason with Literary Agent Lucienne Diver representing The Knight Agency and Helen Rosburg, Editor of Medallion Press conducted an intensive workshop on the business and the joy of novel writing.
The Lake County Library System first Author Reception was a resounding success. Held at the beautiful W.T. Bland Public Library the event was well attended. The excellent food was provided by the American Culinary Federation, Gulf to Lake Association and students from the culinary programs at Umatilla and Tavares High Schools.
Attendance this year was over 2000, exceeding last year by 87%. Anyone wishing to make comments on their experiences with this year’s Festival of Reading or suggestions on topics for upcoming events may do so at http://www.lakeline.lib.fl.us/festival_of_reading/2009/comments.aspx.