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article imagePhoto Essay: Recapping the record-breaking Savannah Book Festival Special

By Kay Mathews     Feb 26, 2013 in Entertainment
Savannah - Called one of the top book festivals in America, record-breaking crowds attended the 2013 Savannah Book Festival where dozens of notable authors, from Grammy to Pulitzer Prize winners, autographed and discussed their books.
At the start of the 6th Annual Savannah Book Festival (SBF), Robin Gold, the organization's executive director, told Savannah Morning News, "Festival organizers expect the audience numbers to meet or exceed those of the 8,000 visitors we welcomed in 2012. With the additional sold-out events at the Trustees Theater, we hope that that number will be closer to 9,000 this year."
As it turns out, the audience numbers for the 2013 SBF were record-breaking. SBF issued a press release stating that "over 10,000 devotees" attended the book festival.
The Savannah Book Festival is, according to C-SPAN, "one of the top book festivals in the country." Prior to the start of the SBF, C-SPAN’s Doug Hemming told the Savannah Morning News, “The caliber of nonfiction authors that Savannah is going to have this year is as strong as any festival we cover.”
Lose Yourself in Books at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah  Ga.
Lose Yourself in Books at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah, Ga.
Gold attributes the success of the Festival to "a combination of our high caliber authors and the forum we give them to present individually to attendees then meet them at the book signings."
The photographs below depict some of the high caliber authors that were at the 2013 Savannah Book Festival, venues in which they made presentations, and the book signings.
Trustees Theater
Five ticketed events were held at the Trustees Theater on Broughton Street, only a few blocks away from the venues in Telfair Square. Author, humorist and Pulitzer Prize winner Dave Barry kicked-off the Savannah Book Festival at this venue, along with Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney, and Bobby Deen and Kimberly Schlegel Whitman made a lifestyle presentation there as well. Digital Journal was on-hand for the keynote address delivered by James Patterson and the closing address delivered by David Baldacci.
James Patterson at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah  Ga.
James Patterson at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah, Ga.
David Baldacci at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah  Ga.
David Baldacci at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah, Ga.
Trinity United Methodist Church
Six authors discussed their books at the Trinity United Methodist Church location at Telfair Square. Authors included Hoda Kotb (Ten Years Later, Six People Who Faced Adversity and Transformed Their Lives), Evan Thomas (Ike's Bluff), and Garry Wills (Why Priests? A Failed Tradition). Digital Journal covered presentations by Al Gore, Dr. Heidi Squier Kraft, and Jake Tapper.
Al Gore at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah  Ga.
Al Gore at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah, Ga.
Dr. Heidi Squier Kraft at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah  Ga.
Dr. Heidi Squier Kraft at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah, Ga.
At the outset of CNN anchor Jake Tapper's discussion of The Outpost, which can be viewed in its entirety here, it was clear that he knew some of the audience members.
Jake Tapper at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah  Ga.
Jake Tapper at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah, Ga.
Tapper recognized a young boy named Cooper and spoke of his father's valor. Sgt. Buddy Hughie, Cooper's dad, was killed in Afghanistan almost six years ago to the day when Tapper saw Cooper, and Sgt. Hughie's father-in- law, in the audience. Chapter 14 in The Outpost is titled "Buddy." When Tapper's discussion concluded, he went out into the audience and spoke with them as well as with a gentleman named Sgt. Birchfield. Tapper noted these meetings on his Facebook page. Tapper wrote, "SGT Hughie was trainer of Afghan soldiers, was killed trying to help one during insurgent ambush. Prev. had rescued Katrina victims in NOLA....Honored to meet father-in-law and son Cooper of SGT Buddy Hughie, hero killed in Afghanistan 6 yrs ago Tuesday....With SGT Birchfield and his gorgeous family, at the Savannah Book Fair."
Jake Tapper (right) with Cooper  son of fallen soldier Sgt. Buddy Hughie  Hughie s father-in-law  an...
Jake Tapper (right) with Cooper, son of fallen soldier Sgt. Buddy Hughie, Hughie's father-in-law, and Sgt. Birchfield at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah, Ga.
Other Venues
Dozens of other authors were featured on Festival Day and made presentations in the following venues: Neises Auditorium in the Jepson Center, Telfair Rotunda, Telfair Sculpture Gallery, Telfair Square Tent, and Jepson Boardroom.
Among the authors were local favorites Griff and Cheryl Day, owners of Back in the Day Bakery in Savannah, and authors of one of Amazon's top cookbooks of 2012, Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook.
Griff and Cheryl Day at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah  Ga.
Griff and Cheryl Day at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah, Ga.
Don Mann, a former Navy SEAL and author of the memoir Inside Seal Team Six, drew a capacity crowd at Neises Auditorium where he presented his latest book Hunt the Scorpion.
Don Mann at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah  Ga.
Don Mann at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah, Ga.
Copies of Don Mann s book  Seal Team Six: Hunt the Scorpion  at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savanna...
Copies of Don Mann's book "Seal Team Six: Hunt the Scorpion" at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah, Ga.
Don Mann at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah  Ga.
Don Mann at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah, Ga.
Author Signing Tent
At the Author Signing Tent, rock legend and Grammy Award-winning singer Gregg Allman signed copies of his book My Cross to Bear.
Gregg Allman at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah  Ga.
Gregg Allman at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah, Ga.
With the exception of former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, who signed copies of his book The Future at the Trinity United Methodist Church, authors met fans and signed copies of their books at the Author Signing Tent.
Examples include Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Williams who signed copies of her book The Warmth of Other Suns; novelist T.C. Boyle, whose novel World's End won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, signed copies of his latest book San Miguel; Paula McLain signed copies of her breakthrough second novel The Paris Wife; Ben Fountain signed copies of his Iraq War novel Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk; and Susanna Sonnenberg signed copies of her new memoir She Matters.
Isabel Wilkerson at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah  Ga.
Isabel Wilkerson at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah, Ga.
T.C. Boyle (left) at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah  Ga.
T.C. Boyle (left) at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah, Ga.
Paula McLain (left) at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah  Ga.
Paula McLain (left) at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah, Ga.
Ben Fountain at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah  Ga.
Ben Fountain at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah, Ga.
Susanna Sonnerberg at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah  Ga.
Susanna Sonnerberg at 2013 Savannah Book Festival. Savannah, Ga.
If past is prologue, and the enormously successful SBF brings that metaphor to life, then bibliophiles may want to make plans to visit Savannah February 13-16, 2014 for the 7th Annual Savannah Book Festival. In the meantime, however, the SBF is bringing two more Pulitzer Prize winning authors to Savannah. Robert K. Massey, author of Peter the Great, will be there in April, and Anna Quidlen will discuss her latest book, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, in May.
More about Savannah Book Festival, jake tapper, James Patterson, gregg allman, david baldacci
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