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25 Years of Literary FeastHistorically Speaking: The Literary Feast from Yesterday to Today
By Susan Rubin

What do Carol Channing, Joyce Carol Oates, George Plimpton, Frank McCourt and Khaled Hosseini have in common?  They have all been guests and speakers at the Broward County Public Library Foundation's Literary Feast.  This celebration of books, writers and readers of all ages debuted in 1984 and has grown to phenomenal proportions for this, its 26th edition.

The brainchild of Fort Lauderdale resident Betty Lou Rose Ellis, the first event was called Le Bal Masque de la Bibliotheque.  Organized by a group of volunteers, this event provided the perfect pairing of literary interests with fundraising necessities.  It proved to be tremendously successful   and thus, the Literary Feast was born.

 "It doesn't matter if you read on your Kindle or want to hold a book in your hands.
 
Reading is still a joy for so many - and meeting your favorite authors or promising debut writers will always be a thrill".
Dorothy Klein,
Broward Public Library Foundation
As time went on, the event evolved. By 1988, the Literary Feast featured dinners with nationally recognized authors in private homes.  Events were added as the numbers of book lovers in attendance grew to their current levels.  Today, the Feast includes the fundraising Night of Literary Feasts, the free LitLive! Series of authors' solo and panel talks and Novel Day for Students, where authors travel to public high schools for conversations with students.  Each of these enables South Florida residents of all ages to really get to know the writers and learn about the art and craft of writing in a personal and informal way.

Since the very beginning, the Feast has hosted more than 425 authors in 215 private homes and restaurants.  It has raised more than $3.5 million for the work of the Library Foundation, especially for its literacy programs for adults and youth.

The impressive and varied lists of authors who have appeared at the Feast have certainly contributed to its growth and popularity.  For example, two months after the Feast   where 30 guests heard him speak   Frank McCourt won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for his autobiography Angela's Ashes: A Memoir.  Carol Channing absolutely wowed audiences of all ages in 2003 with her stories and first-hand experiences in the world of Hollywood and New York, which she had recounted in her memoir Just Lucky I Guess.  In 2004, Khaled Hosseini was a Feast author sharing thoughts and feeling from his novel The Kite Runner.  Ishmael Beah was part of the Feast in 2007. His story of being a child soldier in Sierra Leone - as told in A Long Way Gone - touched every guest who heard it.

The history of the Literary Feast and the promise of its exciting future are best summed up by Dorothy Klein, executive director of the Broward Public Library Foundation. "This year's event (March 15-17) will mark the 26th year of having fabulous authors come to Broward to talk about their work and the craft of writing.  It doesn't matter if you read on your Kindle or want to hold a book in your hands.  Reading is still a joy for so many - and meeting your favorite authors or promising debut writers will always be a thrill."

For more information about the Literary Feast visit the Broward Public Library Foundation website or call 954-357-7382

CULTURAL QUARTERLY - HISTORY

Recipe For Success:

A look at the Broward Public Library Foundation's Literary Feast 2014


Whether your reading tastes include mysteries and thrillers, biographies, histories, animals, travel, or health and dieting, the Broward Public Library Foundation's Literary Feast 2014 can easily satisfy your appetites.  This 26th edition of the Feast features something for everyone when its events begin on Feb. 21 and continue through the weekend of March 15.

The Literary Feast is a fundraiser for the Broward County Library and its literacy and education programs.  Authors come in who generously share their time, expertise and writing history with members of the community.  These events present the authors in a warm and relaxed setting, which promotes interaction between author and reader. For people who love to read and writers who love to write it is a recipe for success!

This year's menu of authors contains an impressive array of writers and genres.  The list includes Dr. Arthur Agatston, who wrote The South Beach Diet Gluten Solution; Robin Cook, author of Cell; John Grogan of Marley & Me fame; Brian Jay Jones, writer of Jim Henson: The Biography; and Chris Rahn, who has written Which Way Now?  A complete list of writers can be found on the Broward Public Library Foundation's website

Since the Friends of the Berkshire Theatre Group has become the title sponsor this year, the Feast has expanded to include two playwrights Rupert Holmes and Andrew Carroll.  Each of these gentlemen has an extensive list of credentials and credits.  Their insights into dramatic literature should prove to be a welcome addition to an already impressive lineup of writers.

Events will include LitLunch! with Jen Lancaster, who will be sharing moments from her latest creation, The Tao of Martha, on Feb. 21 at 11:30 a.m.  Next comes A Night of Literary Feasts, featuring a cocktail party and silent auction, on March 15.  Participants are then off to private homes or upscale restaurants where they will share dinner with one or two of the authors.  On March 16, from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Literary Feast authors take part in a series of discussions and book signings at a free public event at the Nova Southeastern University's Alvin Sherman Library.  March 17 finds these authors engaging thousands of students at Broward County schools, where they will discuss both the craft and work of writing.  This Novel Day for Students  is extremely popular as students learn not only the mechanics of writing, but publishing information as well.

"Feast" is the perfect title for these events.  Prepare to attend, and enjoy this banquet for your intellect as you learn from and enjoy these authors.  Bon appétit! 

For more information about the Literary Feast visit the Broward Public Library Foundation website or call 954-357-7382 

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