Spanning genres, styles, and age groups, the UCF Book Festival brings a wide variety of authors to campus each year for panel discussions, book signings, cooking demonstrations, and much more. This year’s event is no different, with authors and activities ranging from cooking demonstrations to thrillers, murder mysteries, young adult novels, children’s books, writing workshops, and more.
This year’s keynote author, Terry McMillan, is a bestselling author whose books have not only been loved by millions of fans but have also been successfully adapted into major motion pictures (Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back). With her latest release, Who Asked You?, Terry McMillan continues to highlight her ability to tell emotional and moving stories that feature relatable, real-life characters. Her talk at this year’s festival will give Ms. McMillan a chance to share her life, her work, and her inspirations with new and longtime fans alike.
With 2015 marking the 150th anniversary of the end of the U.S. Civil War, author S.C. Gwynne’s book Rebel Yell, an in-depth look at the life and career of Confederate General “Stonewall” Jackson, comes at the perfect time. Going beyond the history of events during and after the Civil War, Gwynne’s book examines how a once relatively unknown general with little experience came to be the successful battle leader and historic figure we know of today.
Contemporary histories are featured as well, from Sheri Fink’s depiction of the hurricane Katrina aftermath at Memorial Hospital in Five Days at Memorial, to Luis Martinez-Fernandez’s complete history of Revolutionary Cuba; from the little-known story of women journalists and the early days of food writing in Kim Voss’ The Food Section, to the untold fate of Florida farmworkers in Dale Slongwhite’s Fed Up: The High Costs of Cheap Food, to the history of how America’s game took shape in Richard Crepeau’s NFL Football: A History of America’s New National Pastime.
Moving from history to memoir, the 2015 UCF Book Festival is also excited to welcome Yamma Brown, daughter of the legendary “Godfather of Soul” James Brown, to the event. Her book, Cold Sweat: My Father James Brown and Me, offers a revealing look at a daughter searching for the love and approval of a complicated father – who also happened to be one of the most legendary musicians and performers of our time.
With science and mathematics education making headway and headlines across the country, it makes sense to bring in an expert who specializes in advancing the study of science by making it fun. Dr. Ainissa Ramirez, author of Save Our Science and Newton’s Football: The Science Behind America’s Game, does just that through her series of science education web videos, her books, and her presentations across the country. A tireless evangelist who encourages students of all ages to pursue science, math, and engineering, Dr. Ramirez’s talks are always interesting, exciting, and engaging.
Food and fun go hand in hand, and several authors this year focus on food, nutrition, and refreshment. Dr. Mike Fenster, author of The Fallacy of the Calorie, will offer attendees a unique cooking demonstration that illustrates his book’s guide to healthy eating that is as enjoyable as it is easy. Jen Karetnick, the “Mango Mama” of Miami, offers up a fresh take on the humble mango, and recipes from world-renowned chefs who prominently feature the tropical fruit in her book Mango. And since a cold beverage goes great with any meal, Mark DeNote, author of The Great Florida Craft Beer Guide, takes craft beer fans and travelers on a journey to the unique small-scale breweries throughout the sunshine state.
Murder, mystery, and intrigue are perfect fodder for page-turning stories, and several authors this year have thrilling books to share with readers. Randy Rawls, Carla Norton, Patrick Kendrick, James O. Born, Bob Williams, and Steph Post have all crafted fascinating fiction that will have you glued to the stories. Their discussions will offer insight into how they find their inspiration for stories, and how the setting of each book is as important to the action as the characters.
Teen readers and adults alike will enjoy hearing from young adult writers Michelle Madow, Ella Martin, Jessica Martinez, and Ellen Hopkins. From friendships to faith, from escaping fear to fitting in, each of these authors’ books features gripping storylines and tackles real problems that book lovers young and old can enjoy.
Powerful poetry from Carol Frost, Ashely Inguanta, and J. Bradley, science fiction and dystopian tales from Chris Hejmanowski and Stephanie Erickson, short stories from Cecilia Rodriguez-Milanes, fascinating fiction from Ann Hood, Nathan Holic, and Chantel Acevedo, career advice for returning troops from John W. Phillips, discussions with horror film and sci-fi filmmakers from Chris and Kathleen Vander Kaay, imaginative tales from several children’s writers – More than 30 authors are taking part in the 2015 UCF Book Festival, truly offering something for everyone.
Mark your calendars and make plans to learn more from these great authors about their books at the 6th Annual UCF Book Festival, April 18th at the UCF Teaching Academy, Morgridge International Reading Center, and Education Complex.