Authors in the Park

October 01, 2016

This October, bestselling authors and screenwriters from across the nation will gather in Winter Park for the first annual Authors in the Park book festival.

Mary Gail Coffee of the Winter Park Public Library said that the Authors in the Park book festival will celebrate Orlando’s love of literature on Oct. 1 at the library. Sponsored by the library, the Jewish Book Council and Writer’s Block Bookstore, the festival will consist of panel discussions, Q-and-A sessions and book signings from both local and nationally-acclaimed authors from a variety of genres.

“Anytime we have the opportunity to introduce people to a deeper experience, we’re going to jump on it,” Coffee said. “Reading a book can be a very personal thing, but there’s also something special about being able to ask the author questions and get answers.”

Lauren Zimmerman, owner of the Writer’s Block Bookstore in Winter Park, said that the upcoming festival is a joint effort to foster a greater literary culture in Orlando.

“We’re looking at this as a long-term thing,” Zimmerman said. “The bottom line is bringing authors to Orlando. Cities like New York and Miami have festivals, so I don’t see why Orlando doesn’t have one.”

Both Coffee and Zimmerman believe the festival will be the first of many to come.

“Eventually the dream is to literally have it in the park,” Coffee said. “We’ll start very small and then add something new here and there along the way. That’s how all the great festivals started.”

General admission is free with priced packages for reserved seating. For more information, visit

Meet the authors

Two of the event’s featured authors, Boris Fishman and Andrew Nagorski, gave the Observer a preview of what they can expect from their talks at the upcoming festival.

Boris Fishman tells the story of an adoptive mother and her feral child as they search for the child’s biological parents in his second novel, “Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo.” Fishman said “Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo” allowed him to explore new perspectives on curiosity, empathy and goodwill.

“I don’t believe it’s impossible to imagine what it’s like to be somebody else. To get into the mind of someone completely different – that’s one of my greatest achievements,” Fishman said. “I believe anyone who has felt like an outsider can relate to this novel.”

Fishman will be answering questions about his second novel, “Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo,” at the festival’s 10:45 a.m. session. The session also features Martha Kelly and Kristin Harmel.

Andrew Nagorski chronicles the lives of the men and women who tracked down all-but-forgotten war criminals in “The Nazi Hunters.” Nagorski said that he wrote the book to honor their effort to achieve some measure of justice after the war.

“I want to give a little sample of their stories,” Nagorski said. “These stories read like a thriller, and I’m eager to get them out.”

Nagorski will speak more about “The Nazi Hunters” at the festival’s 3 p.m. session. The session also features WESH Channel 2 investigative reporter and author Bob Kealing.