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  • Guest Writer

Historical fiction, strong women, headline Friends of the Library’s Author Spotlight

Historical fiction that focuses on resilient young women—one in 1948 Colorado and the other in 19th century Alabama and New York City—is the link shared by the two novelists in the upcoming Author Spotlight Events sponsored by the Friends of the Library of Collier County.

The talks and book signings are an opportunity to get to know the authors while supporting the nonprofit Friends group that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund many Collier County Public Libraries programs and resources.

The Author Spotlight Events will feature:

  • Shelley Read, author of Go as a River, on Thursday afternoon, Oct. 26, and

  • Shana Abé, author of An America Beauty, on Thursday afternoon, April 4.

This year the series moves to The Norris Center, the longtime home of the Gulfshore Playhouse, south of Cambier Park near downtown Naples. Seating will be general admission. Each talk will be followed by a book signing. (See info box for details on dates, times, and costs.)

Shelley Read is a fifth-generation Coloradoan who lives with her family at 9,000 feet elevation in the Elk Mountains of the Western Slope. The heroine of her debut novel Go as a River, is a teenager living on her family’s isolated peach farm, facing first love, loss, and survival in western Colorado. Inspired by the flooding of the small town of Iola when the Gunnison River was dammed to create the Blue Mesa Reservoir, the novel was called “an auspicious debut” by Kirkus Reviews.

Read, an award-winning Senior Lecturer at Western Colorado University for nearly three decades, taught writing, literature, and environmental studies. She holds a double major honors B.A. in English and journalism from the University of Denver, and an M.A. from Temple University’s Graduate Program in Creative Writing. Read was also a Dean’s Fellow in the Ph.D. Program in English at the University of Denver, where she studied 19th- and 20th-century world literature and philosophy.

The author describes herself as a mom, mountaineer, world traveler, and friend to small creatures and old dogs.

Shana Abe

The April 4 author, Shana Abé, was born in Texas and has lived in Japan, where she worked as a model, and in Los Angeles, where she graduated with a B.F.A. from the University of Southern California. She now lives in southern Colorado, near the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. She describes herself as someone who loves animals—especially rescue rabbits and dogs—and loves writing because she’s always thinking “What if …?”

Her 16 award-winning books have graced the best-seller lists of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. They range from historical romances to young adult fiction to fantasy and the paranormal, including The Second Mrs. Astor and The Sweetest Dark.

Abé’s most recent book is the historical novel An American Beauty, the rags-to-riches true story of Arabella Huntington, who was born into poverty in Alabama before the Civil War and became the richest woman in the country during the Gilded Age in New York.

By offering the Author Spotlight events at The Norris Center on Eighth Avenue South, near downtown Naples, the Friends of the Library encourages ticket-holders to make a day of it in the Fifth Avenue South district, enjoying lunch and shopping before and after the talk.

The series sponsors are Kelly E. Capolino of Downing-Frye Realty and Signet Financial Management.


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