Access printable event brochure at bottom of page.
Headlining this year’s event will be Erik Larson, Sandra Brown and West Virginia’s own Stephen Coonts. Patrick Rothfuss, Maggie Stiefvater, Ron Rash, Matt de la Peña and West Virginia author, Julia Keller are also scheduled to appear at this year’s Festival. Learn more about each of them here and on the Book Festival page of the Kanawha County Public Library website.
Erik Larson’s most recent book, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, is about the 1915 sinking of the ocean liner Lusitania. Dead Wake is a New York Times #1 Best Seller. Larson’s critically-acclaimed book, The Devil in the White City, intertwines the stories of the Chicago 1893 World’s Fair and one of America’s worst serial killers. It remained on the New York Times Best Seller list for a combined total of more than six years, won an Edgar Award for nonfiction crime writing and was nominated for the National Book Award.
Other books by Larson include Thunderstruck, Isaac’s Storm and In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin, a vivid portrait of the American ambassador and his family in Berlin during the first years of Hitler’s reign.
Larson has been a staff writer for the Wall Street Journal and has written for TIME Magazine, The Atlantic, Harper’s and The New Yorker.
*Photo by Benjamin Benschneider.
Sandra Brown is the author of more than 60 New York Times Best Sellers, including Friction, Mean Streak, Deadline, Low Pressure, Lethal, Tough Customer, Smash Cut, Play Dirty, Chill Factor and White Hot. Television movies have been made of her novels French Silk, Smoke Screen, and Ricochet. Her episode on truTV’s Murder by the Book premiered the series in 2008 and she appeared in 2010 on Investigation Discovery’s new series, Hardcover Mysteries.
In 2008, Brown was named Thriller Master, the top award given by the International Thriller Writer’s Association. Other awards and commendations include the 2007 Texas Medal of Arts Award for Literature and the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Coming in August 2016, her latest work, Sting, is a heart-pounding story of corruption, treachery, and ceaseless deception.
Photo by Andrew Eccles.
A native of Buckhannon, West Virginia, Stephen Coonts is the author of innumerable New York Times Best Sellers, the first of which was the classic flying tale, Flight of the Intruder. A motion picture based on the novel, starring Danny Glover and Willem Dafoe, was released nationwide in January 1991. Coonts is a graduate of West Virginia University and a pilot who served in the military for nearly ten years. The U.S. Naval Institute honored Coonts with its Author of the Year Award for Flight of the Intruder. The latest novel by Coonts, published in June, is Liberty’s Last Stand, a departure from his nonpolitical, action-adventure thrillers.
The success of his first novel allowed Coonts to devote himself full time to writing. He still enjoys flying and tries to do as much of it as possible. He was inducted into the West Virginia University Academy of Distinguished Alumni in 1992 and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from WVU.
Rothfuss is an international New York Times Best Selling fantasy author, satirist, activist, and teacher. His first novel, The Name of the Wind, is the first book in the Kingkiller Chronicle fantasy trilogy about an orphan boy who becomes a legend. The novel has won numerous awards, including the Quill Award.
Young adult author Maggie Stiefvater is a writer, artist and musician who wrote the fantasy trilogy Shiver, a New York Times Best Selling series. Her novel, The Scorpio Races, was named to the best of the year lists for Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, The Horn Book and Kirkus Reviews. Her latest release, The Raven King, is the fourth installment in The Raven Cycle series.
Photo by Robert Severi.
de la Peña
Matt de la Peña
Matt de la Peña is the New York Times Best Selling, Newbery Medal winning author of six young adult novels including Mexican WhiteBoy, The Living and The Hunted, and two picture books for children, A Nations Hope and Last Stop on Market Street. De la Peña’s presentation for children and families in the Festival’s Word Play area will focus on Last Stop on Market Street, winner of the 2016 Newbery Medal, a 2016 Caldecott Honor Book and a 2016 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book.
Two-time recipient of the O. Henry Prize, Ron Rash is the author of the 2009 PEN/Faulkner finalist and New York Times Best Sellers Serena and Above the Waterfall. In addition to four prizewinning novels, The Cove, One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River and The World Made Straight, Rash has written four collections of poems and six collections of stories. Serena was the inspiration for the 2014 film starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.
Photo by Ulf Anderson.
The West Virginia Humanities Council annual McCreight Lecture in the Humanities will kick off this year’s Festival with a presentation by Annette Gordon-Reed at the University of Charleston on Thursday, Oct. 27.
Gordon-Reed won the Pulitzer Prize in History and the National Book Award for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, a subject she had previously written about in Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy. She is also the author of Andrew Johnson. Her most recently published book (with Peter S. Onuf) is Most Blessed of the Patriarchs: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination.
Photo by Tony Rinaldo.
Huntington, West Virginia native and Pulitzer Prize winner Julia Keller is the author of Sorrow Road, the fifth novel in the critically acclaimed series set in a small West Virginia town. The first book in the series, A Killing in the Hills was a Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, a Library Journal Debut of the Week and a featured selection in People. The other novels in the series are Bitter River, Summer of the Dead and Last Ragged Breath.