Bestselling Authors Discussing Their Works

Writers LIVE!, the Library’s flagship author event series, returns for another season of bringing the community together with authors and their books. 2020 boasts a line-up of bestselling, critically acclaimed, award-winning authors from a variety of genres, discussing their work and signing books. Take a look and fill your calendar with literary events from Boca to Jupiter and everywhere in between.

Local, independent booksellers will be providing sales at every event. A percentage of each sale is donated to the Friends of the Palm Beach County Library, directly benefiting library services and activities throughout the County. Your support is greatly appreciated!

This series is made possible through the generous support of the Friends of the Palm Beach County Library System, Inc.

Open Registrations

James Patterson is the world’s bestselling author and most trusted storyteller. The Edgar Award and Emmy Award winner was recently presented with The National Book Foundation’s Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. “Lost,” his latest collaboration with author James O. Born features Detective Tom Moon and his team facing off against an international crime ring looking to seize control of America’s most vibrant city—Miami, Florida. This special event will be held at the historic Lake Worth Playhouse and feature Patterson in conversation with Ann Bocock, host of South Florida PBS show, “Between the Covers.”

Upwards of 20,000 elderly Jews made up nearly half of the South Beach population in the 1970s—all crammed into an area of barely two square miles like a modern-day shtetl, the small, tightly knit Eastern European villages that defined so much of pre-World War II Jewry. Documenting this once-thriving and now-vanished Jewish world was a passion of American photographer Andy Sweet (1953-1982). Sweet’s photographs, collected in, “Shtetl in the Sun: Andy Sweet’s South Beach 1977-1980,” capture this community’s daily rhythms, showing that these New York transplants and Holocaust survivors still had plenty of living, laughing, and loving to do.

Brett Sokol, editor of the collection, is an award-winning journalist and current arts editor of Ocean Drive magazine. His writing on cultural issues has appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Miami Herald, and New York magazine. Residing in Miami Beach since 1999, he is also the cofounder and editor of Letter16 Press, a nonprofit publishing house focused on the sweet spot between photojournalism and art.

Joining Sokol will be artist Ellen Sweet Moss, Andy Sweet's sister, who will be sharing the stories behind Andy's photos, artist and archivist Stan Hughes, who painstakingly restored all the photos seen in the book, and the book's designer, Letter16 Press co-founder, Francesco Casale.

In her acclaimed and fiercely candid memoir, Jaquira Díaz revisits a girlhood spent in a dangerous world where girls like her had no one who understood where they fit in. Growing up a black sheep in housing projects in Miami and Puerto Rico, Jaquira struggled with depression and drug abuse as she tried to make sense of her identity as the queer, biracial, displace daughter of an often absent Puerto Rican father and a white mother who fought her own battles with mental illness. Surrounded by a tight group of loving friends, she nonetheless longed for the love and security of family and home. Díaz says she wrote the book, “for girls and women who are like the girl I was, like the woman I am now. For those who never saw themselves in books. For Puerto Rico and the diaspora, for anyone who knows what it’s like to be poor and still feel joy and hope. For mothers and daughters. For survivors of sexual violence, survivors of suicide, for anyone who’s ever known depression or mental illness.”

Jaquira Díaz is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes and fellowships from the Kenyon Review, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Her work has appeared in, “The Best American Essays,” The Guardian, Rolling Stone, and T: The New York Times Style Magazine.

In “Troublemaker for Justice: The Story of Bayard Rustin, the Man Behind the March on Washington,” Walter Naegle traces the life of Bayard Rustin, a major figure in the civil rights movement—arrested on a bus 13 years before Rosa Parks, mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., organizer for the March on Washington. Written for young readers, yet a story for all ages, the book details Bayard Rustin’s life of nonviolent activism and resistance, an often overlooked voice for immigrants and refugees, the poor, women and the LGBTQ community. School Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews have named it a Best Book of 2019. Walter Naegle is Bayard Rustin’s surviving partner and executive director of the Bayard Rustin Fund, which commemorates Rustin’s life, values and legacy.

Mamta Chaudhry’s fiction, poetry and feature articles have been published in the Miami Review, The Illustrated Weekly of India, The Telegraph, The Statesman, Writer’s Digest and The Rotarian, among others. “Haunting Paris,” her debut novel, has received praise from the New York Times Book Review, Jewish Book Council and Publisher’s Weekly. It is a timeless story of love and loss that takes a mysterious turn when a bereaved pianist discovers a letter among her late lover’s possessions, launching her into a decades—old search for a child who vanished in the turbulence of wartime Paris. Chaudhry lives with her husband in Coral Gables, Florida, and they spend part of each year in India and France.

Andrew Krivak is the author of three novels: “The Bear,” “The Signal Flame,”-- a Chautauqua Prize finalist; and “The Sojourn”, a National Book Award finalist and winner of both the Chautauqua Prize and Dayton Literary Peace Prize. “The Bear,” his latest novel, is a gorgeous fable of Earth’s last two human inhabitants, and a girl’s journey home. Krivak lives with his wife and three children in Somerville, Massachusetts, and Jaffrey, New Hampshire, in the shadow of Mount Monadnock, which inspired much of the landscape in “The Bear.”

Jonathan Santlofer is a writer and visual artist. His debut novel, “The Death Artist,” was an international bestseller, translated into seventeen languages and is currently in development for screen adaptation. His fourth novel, “Anatomy of Fear,” won the Nero Award for best crime novel of 2009. His short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies and his paintings and drawings are included in many public and private collections. His latest, “The Widower’s Notebook: A Memoir,” is a portrait of a marriage, an account of the complexities of finding oneself single again after losing your spouse and a story of the enduring power of familial love. Written with unexpected humor and warmth, the book details his journey toward healing. Santlofer lives in New York City.

James Grippando is a lawyer, educator, and New York Times bestselling author of suspense. His books are enjoyed around the world in twenty-eight languages and his novel, “Gone Again,” won the 2017 Harper Lee Prize in Legal Fiction. His latest, “The Big Lie,” finds Miami attorney Jack Swyteck caught between a corrupt president and his manipulative opponent after an Electoral College battle lands in a Florida courtroom. Grippando lives in South Florida and is an adjunct professor of law and modern literature at the University of Miami.

Leslie Gray Streeter is an award-winning pop culture, entertainment, lifestyle and features journalist. The Palm Beach Post columnist, born in “hood-adjacent” Baltimore City, is always looking for new ways to tell stories, both her own and those in her communities. Leslie will be discussing her memoir, “Black Widow: A Sad-Funny Journey Through Grief for People Who Normally Avoid Books with Words Like “Journey” in the Title.” Tender, true, and endearingly hilarious, it is a story about the power of love, and how the only guide book for recovery is the one your write yourself.

Andrew Gross is the New York Times bestselling author of “Button Man,” “The Saboteur,” and “The One Man,” as well as coauthor of five number one bestsellers with James Patterson. His books have been translated into more than twenty-five languages. In his latest novel, “The Fifth Column,” Gross once again delivers a tense, stirring thriller of a family torn apart set against the backdrop of a nation plunged into war.

Zara Raheem received her M.F.A. from California State University, Long Beach. She is the recipient of the James I. Murashige Jr. Memorial award in fiction and was selected as one of 2019’s Harriet Williams Emerging Writers. In Raheem’s fresh, funny, smart debut, “The Marriage Clock,” a young, Muslim-American woman is given three months to find the right husband or else her traditional Indian parents will find one for her—a universally relatable story about the challenges of falling in love. She resides in Southern California where she teaches English and creative writing.

Dr. Aisha Johnson-Jones is an educator and revelator of Southern intellectual history and an advocate for untold stories. She is committed to archival research, the production and professional development of archivists and staff, and redefining the scholar. With a Ph.D. and master’s in library and information studies (LIS), Johnson-Jones stands on a soapbox for unveiling the history of underrepresented communities through the use of historical documents. Her latest publication, “The African American Struggle for Library Equality: The Untold Story of the Julius Rosenwald Fund Library Program,” is the first comprehensive history which exposes historic library practices that discriminated against blacks and the necessary remedies implemented to cure this injustice. This special engagement is presented in partnership with Palm Beach State College’s Harold C. Manor Library.

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo is the author of, “Cenzontle,” winner of the A. Poulin Jr. prize, the 2019 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award in poetry, a finalist for the Northern California Book Award and named a best book of 2018 by NPR and the New York Public Library. As one of the founders of the Undocupoets campaign, he is a recipient of the Barnes and Noble “Writers for Writers” Award. He holds a B.A. from Sacramento State University and was the first undocumented student to graduate from the Helen Zell Writers Program at the University of Michigan. His work has appeared or is featured in The New York Times, The Paris Review, People Magazine and PBS Newshour, among others.

“Children of the Land,” is Castillo’s unforgettable memoir that recounts the sorrows and joys of a family torn apart by draconian policies and chronicles one young man’s attempt to build a future in a nation that denies his existence. Castillo lives in Marysville, California where he teaches poetry to incarcerated youth and also teaches at the Ashland University Low-Res M.F.A. program. This special engagement will be held at The Book Cellar as part of the Say What?! event series.

Edwidge Danticat, the internationally acclaimed, bestselling author of “Breath, Eyes, Memory,” has released a collection of vividly imagined stories about community, family, and love in, “Everything Inside: Stories.” Set in locales from Miami and Port-au-Prince to a small-unnamed country in the Caribbean and beyond, this is the indelible work of a keen observer of the human heart–a master at her best. Danticat’s memoir, “Brother, I'm Dying,” was a 2007 National Book Award finalist and a 2008 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography. She is a 2009 MacArthur fellow, a 2018 Ford Foundation “The Art of Change” fellow, and the winner of the 2018 Neustadt International Prize.

Past Events in 2020

Pam Jenoff
Tim Dorsey