In 2001, Amelia Island residents Don and Andrea Parker and Joani and Joe Selement dreamed up a tantalizing idea - mixing the lure of books with a spectacular natural environment surrounded by water.
They gathered supporters to found a non-profit organization celebrating the written word, and the group launched the Amelia Island Book Festival. The Festival takes place the first weekend of October in Fernandina Beach, the historic town on Amelia Island.
"We set out to create an affordable, lively event promoting two concepts - that reading is great fun, and good writing makes good reading," Joani Selement explains. She knew the story of Hay-on-Wye, a hamlet where Welsh book-lovers launched their Book Town movement in 1988. Today, that little village overflows with shops and stalls attracting hordes of bibliophiles. "We wanted to go one better - being unique as the Book Island," says Don Parker, Co-Founder.
At the Book Festival, renowned authors, writers and readers mingle informally at readings, talks, discussions and socials. A vital part of the Festival is the "Authors-in-Schools" Day, which brings writers, poets and storytellers into the schools, allowing local children to meet and talk with people who make their living with words and literature.
The festival, scheduled for Oct. 4-7, 2007, offers an informal, friendly setting for readers to meet and talk with authors, and for writers to meet others in their field, along with agents and publishers.
It all takes place in the ambiance of Fernandina Beach, the historic harbor town that is the jewel of the "Book Island." Europeans discovered Amelia, a 13-mile-long barrier island, four centuries ago. Reached by bridge from the mainland, it's just north of Jacksonville on Florida's northeast coast.
The Festival is dedicated to promoting literacy by showing that reading is fun and worthwhile. The Amelia Island Book Festival is a not-for-profit 501(c) 3 organization and donations are tax-deductible.
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