Published: Jan 15, 2013 11:33 PM EST
Updated: Jan 15, 2013 11:38 PM EST

LEE COUNTY, Fla., Jan. 15, 2013 – Twentyfive nationally acclaimed and best-selling authors are coming to Fort Myers to meet their fans and talk about their books at the 14th  annual Southwest Florida Reading Festivalon March16 at the Harborside Event Center and Centennial Park in the Fort Myers River District.

The Reading Festival brings in popular authors for adults, teens and children from all over the country to stimulate the community and encourage a community wide culture of reading for pleasure and personal development. The festival is a day- long event filled with fascinating and dynamic author presentations, lively programs and activities for teens and children, the latest library technology, contests, booksellers, book signings, a free book for every child and teen and new this year is the Reading Rocks! Teen Battle of the Bands! The Festival draws an average of 18,000 people annually.

The festival kicks-off Friday evening, March 15 with the Evening with the Authors where all the authors meet and mingle with the public. A few of the award-winning authors scheduled to attend both events include adult authors: Catherine Coulter, Alex Berenson, Martin Dugard; teen authors: Ellen Hopkins, Ally Carter; and children’s authors: Tedd Arnold and Kadir Nelson. The complete list of authors can be found at www.readfest.org. “The Southwest Florida Reading Festival has an outstanding reputation among authors and publishers which is how we continue to bring in great authors year after year,” says Reading Festival coordinator, Margie Byers. “The festival committee works year-round to recruit diverse and popular authors and they have done another stellar job this year!”

The Reading Festival is free and is 100 percent community supported through generous donations, sponsorships and grants. To help ensure the continuation of this free community event visit www.readfest.org to make a secure online donation.  Author information, dates of partner events, directions to the event and more, are available for your convenience 24 hours a day at www.readfest.org or call 239-337-READ (7323). 

 

ADULT

Michele Wehrwein Albionis the author ofThe Florida Life of Thomas Edison,The Quotable Edisonand her most recent book,The Quotable Henry Ford. During the 1990s, she was the curator at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates.

 

Mary Kay Andrewsis The New York Times bestselling author of Spring Fever, Summer Rental, The Fixer-Upper, Deep Dishand Hissy Fit. She also wrote 10 mysteries under her own name, Kathy Hogan Trocheck. Next up is the June 2013 release Ladies’ Night. Visit www.marykayandrews.com.

 

Alex Berensonis a former reporter for The New York Times and Edgar Award winner for his debut novel, The Faithful Spy featuring CIA operative John Wells. His latest release is The Shadow Patrol.Visit www.alexberenson.com.

 

Joy Castro is the author of the thriller Hell or High Water, a book-of-the-month selection by the National Latino Book Club and one of Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2012, as well as the memoir The Truth Bookand the essay collection Island of Bones. Nearer Home, the sequel to Hell or High Water, will be released in July 2013. Visit www.joycastro.com.

Catherine Coulteris a prolific author of both suspense & historical romance novels which have been featured on The New York Times bestsellers list 65 times. Her widely popular FBI suspense thriller series got its start with The Cove in 1996, and the 16th book in the series, Backfirecame out in July. Visit www.catherinecoulter.com.

 

Tim Dorseydraws on experience as a police reporter, political contributor and metro night editor with The Alabama Journal and Tampa Tribune in his writing. The latest in his series of wildly funny novels featuring serial killer Serge Storm is The Riptide Ultra-Glide.Visit www.timdorsey.com.

 

Joy Fielding is the author of more than 20 novels, most of them New York Times bestsellers such as See Jane Run, Still Life, Now You See Her, and her latest, Shadow Creek. She is also the author of Home Invasion, a short novel for adult learners that has recently been nominated for the prestigious Golden Oak Award. Visit www.joyfielding.com.

 

Dorothea Benton Frank is the author of the bestselling novels Sullivan’s Island, Plantation, Isle of Palms, Shem Creek, Pawleys Island, Full ofGrace, The Land of Mango Sunsets, The Christmas Pearl, Bulls Island, Return to Sullivans Island,Lowcountry SummerandFolly Beach. Her latest is Porch Lights.Visit www.dotfrank.com.

 

Jeaniene Frostis the bestselling author of the award-winning Night Huntressseries and the Night Huntress Worldnovels. To date, foreign rights for her novels have sold to 19 different countries. Her latest release is Twice Tempted. Visit www.jeanienefrost.com.

 

Jane Greenis the author of 12 bestselling novels including Jemima J, The Beach House, Dune Road and Another Piece of My Heart. Her latest work is the March 2013 release Family Pictures. Visit www.janegreen.com.

 

H. Terrell Griffinis the award-winning author of the Matt Royal mystery series. Prior to succumbing to his lifelong yen to write, he was a board certified civil trial lawyer based in Orlando for 38 years. His latest work is the January 2013 release Fatal Decree.Visit www.hterrellgriffin.com.

 

Kim Harrisonis The New York Times bestselling author of 12 titles in the Hollows series including, Dead Witch Walking; The Good, The Bad and The Undead; Every Which Way But Deadand her latest release, Ever After. She also writes the Madison Averyyoung adult series. Visit www.kimharrison.net.

 

Attica Lockesis the author of Black Water Rising which was nominated for a 2010 Edgar Award, an NAACP Image Award, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize and a Strand Magazine Critics Award. Attica is also a screenwriter and has penned numerous film and television scripts for Hollywood. Her latest release is The Cutting Season. Visit www.atticalocke.com.

 

Susan Malleryis a New York Times bestselling author whose works include the series Fool’s Gold andBlackberry Island.She has entertained millions of readers with her witty and emotional stories about women and the relationships that move them. Her latest is the March 2013 release Three Sisters. Visit www.susanmallery.com.

 

Deborah Sharp isa former reporter for the News-Press and USA Today. Her Florida-based Mace Bauer mystery series includes Mama Does Time, Mama Rides Shotgun, Mama Gets Hitchedand Mama Sees Stars. Her fifth novel, Mama Gets Trashed, will be out summer of 2013. Visit www.DeborahSharp.com.

 

Les Standifordis the bestselling author of 20 books, including Bringing Adam Home, the John Dealmystery series, and the works of narrative history The Man Who Invented Christmasand Last Train to Paradise. This recipient of the 2007 Southwest Florida Reading Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award also heads up the creative writing program at Florida International University in Miami. His latest release is Desperate Sons. Visit www.les-standiford.com.

 

CHILDREN

Tedd Arnoldis a two-time winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor for his Fly Guy series. His 70 books include the young adult novel, Rat Life, which earned the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America. Visit www.teddarnoldbooks.com.

 

Annie Barrows is The New York Times bestselling author of the Ivy and Bean series. She also wrote the bestselling adult novel, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, currently in development as a feature film. Visit www.anniebarrows.com.

 

Gail Carson Levine is the author of The New York Times best sellers Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Eggand Fairy Haven and the Quest for the Wand; Fairies and the Quest for Never Land; Newbery Honor Book Ella Enchanted;and Writing Magic. Visit www.gailcarsonlevine.com.

 

Kadir Nelson is the acclaimed illustrator ofMoses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedomand Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad, both Caldecott Honor books. His other titles include We Are the Ship, a Robert F. Sibert Medal winner and Coretta Scott King Award recipient. Visit www.kadirnelson.com.

 

Bob Shea is the author-illustrator of the popular Dinosaur vs. series and several other picture books including I’m a Shark!  He also illustrated Big Plansby Lane Smith. Dinosaur was inspired by his son, Ryan. Visit www.bobshea.com.

 

Mélanie Watt is the author and illustrator of many picture books such as the Chester series, Leon the Chameleon, Augustine andYou’re finally here!Herbest-sellingScaredy Squirrel series has won multiple awards. Visit www.scaredysquirrel.com.

 

TEENS

Ally Carter is the author of The New York Times bestselling series Gallagher Girlsand Heist Society.  She lives in the Midwest where her life is either very ordinary or the best deep-cover legend ever. Her latest release is Perfect Scoundrels.Visit www.allycarter.com.

 

Ellen Hopkinsis the award-winning author of nine New York Times bestselling young adult novels-in-verse and two adult verse novels. She is currently adapting her first novel, Crank, to the stage. Her latest work is Tilt. Visit www.ellenhopkins.com.