Major Authors Coming (Virtually) to Boca Raton

book festival
Jeffrey Toobin (photo by Nevan Swanson)

With the “season” officially underway, this is normally the beginning of South Florida’s boom time for major authors and touring entertainers to make their rounds. This year, of course, the appearances are all of the “tele” variety, accessible through online viewing platforms. At least the pandemic hasn’t stopped two of the Palm Beaches’ literary institutions from bringing big names in books and current affairs to our virtual doorsteps.

The FAU/Palm Beach Book Festival is welcoming three prominent authors for conversations this month, two of whom will speak to our unprecedented political moment. On Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m., Primary Colors author Joe Klein will moderate a discussion with Jeffrey Toobin, celebrated CNN legal analyst and New Yorker staff writer. Toobin’s latest book is True Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Investigation of Donald Trump, though I expect the pending Supreme Court confirmation hearings, a longtime specialty of Toobin’s, will emerge as a key point of conversation.

Then on Thursday, Oct. 15 at 5:30 p.m., FAU Associate Professor of Political Science Renat Shaykhutdinov will moderate a talk with Tim Weiner, an expert on U.S./Soviet conflict through the generations and the author of The Folly and the Glory: America, Russia and Political Warfare 1945-2020. He will discuss his assertion that “America won the Cold War, but Russia is winning today.”

On Monday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m., the festival’s founder, Lois Cahall, will welcome back Mitch Albom, one of the best-selling inspirational authors of all-time, and a beloved figure from the 2019 FAU/Palm Beach Book Festival. The author of Tuesdays With Morrie, Albom will discuss perhaps his most personal tome to date, Finding Chika, a warm-hearted tearjerker about a Haitian child, born three days after that country’s 2010 earthquake, that Albom adopted.

Tickets for these three virtual conversations run $10 each for the general public, and $8 for members of FAU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and free for FAU students, faculty and staff. Purchase them here.

Still more authors of note will speak at the Florida JCCs Jewish Book Festival, a three-week affair running Oct. 8-25, and featuring more than 25 virtual appearances from accomplished Jewish authors. A coproduction with Boca Raton’s Adolph & Rose Levis JCC Sandler Center, the festival’s headlining talent include the opening-night event, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 8, in which former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will interview Thane Rosenbaum, a Miami Beach native and the child of Holocaust survivors. In his book Saving Free Speech … From Itself, Rosenbaum makes the argument that certain limits on free speech are necessary to the preservation of our republic.

Jill Wine-Banks (photo by Julie Kaplan)

At 7:30 p.m. Oct. 11, the festival welcomes Jill Wine-Banks, former Watergate prosecutor and a staple of MSNBC’s legal and political coverage. Wine-Banks’ memoir is titled The Watergate Girl: My Fight for Truth and Justice Against a Criminal President; she has some pointed thoughts about the current occupant of the Oval Office as well. The festival will close at 4 p.m. Oct. 25 with prolific South Florida author Brad Meltzer and illustrator Christopher Eliopolos, who will discuss their I Am biography series for children, whose latest entrants include Leonardo da Vinci, Anne Frank and Benjamin Franklin.

These are just a handful of the more than two dozen events available for a festival-wide pass of $75; individual tickets are $10 per program. Purchase them and check out the full schedule here.


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