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Nonfiction Author Series returns with four timely, compelling books

Friends of the Library events benefit Collier County’s public libraries

Issues at the top of today’s headlines—ranging from the upheaval in professional golf to Middle Eastern women fighting for equality in a man’s world, to Americans’ privacy protections under siege, to the traumatic impact of a deep-sea fishing disaster off Long Island—converge in a compelling lineup for the 2023 Nonfiction Author Series, sponsored by the nonprofit Friends of the Library of Collier County.

The four events, which raise funds for the Collier County Public Library system, return to the Kensington Country Club in Naples and include a full buffet breakfast. Seating is limited, and tickets are selling quickly. (See info box for details on dates, times, and costs.)

In order of appearance below


The authors are:

  • Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, author of The Daughters of Kobani: A Story of Rebellion, Courage, and Justice

  • Amy Gajda, author of Seek and Hide: The Tangled History of the Right to Privacy

  • Bob Harig, author of Tiger & Phil: Golf’s Most Fascinating Rivalry

  • Amanda M. Fairbanks, author of The Lost Boys of Montauk: The True Story of the Wind Blown, Four Men Who Vanished at Sea, and the Survivors They Left Behind.

“I am very excited about the 2023 series,” said Lew Paper, chairman of the Friends committee that plans the series. “We will have authors who have penned books that focus on gripping topics and also happen to be great reads.”

Kicking off the series in January is Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, an experienced journalist who previously worked for ABC News and who specializes in women’s issues in zones of armed conflict such as Syria and Afghanistan.

The Daughters of Kobani, her third book, and a New York Times best-seller, tells the incredible story of an all-female Kurdish militia in a small town in Syria who fought side-by-side with U.S. Special Forces to repel ISIS from the region. Publishers Weekly said Lemmon “delivers a fascinating portrait. … This deeply reported account informs and enthralls.”

The book has been optioned for TV production.

In early February, Amy Gajda, a Tulane University Law School professor, and former journalist will talk about her third book, Seek and Hide: The Tangled History of the Right to Privacy. It explores, through facts and anecdotes, the battle that has long raged in the media, in the courts, and in our nation’s legislatures between an individual’s right to privacy and the public’s right to know. It is a battle that has reached new heights in the digital age.

The New York Times called the book “wry and fascinating” and Gajda “a nimble story-teller.” Best-selling author Walter Isaacson agreed, saying the book is “brilliant and thought-provoking.”

In late February, Bob Harig will talk about his book, Tiger & Phil: Golf’s Most Fascinating Rivalry. Harig is a golf writer with who previously was with ESPN.

Harig’s premise will come as no surprise to those who follow golf. For the past two decades, according to Harig, no two golfers have “captivated, bemused, inspired, frustrated, fascinated, and entertained us” more than Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. “These two biggest names (and draws) in golf,” says Harig, “have been the ultimate rivals. But it is so much more complicated than that. Each player has pushed the other to be better.”

Ian O’Connor, author of the best-seller Arnie and Jack, said that Tiger & Phil is “brilliant … the ultimate insider’s look at the real Tiger-Phil relationship.”

Harig’s presentation will no doubt offer timely insight into the bad blood between the PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series. Mickelson has joined the LIV and been suspended from the PGA; Woods not only criticized players who joined the LIV tour, he also reportedly declined a nine-figure offer to switch to the LIV.

Closing out the 2023 Nonfiction Series in March is Amanda M. Fairbanks, author of The Lost Boys of Montauk: The True Story of the Wind Blown, Four Men Who Vanished at Sea, and the Survivors They Left Behind.

In March 1984, four men left Long Island’s Montauk Harbor on a commercial fishing boat called Wind Blown. A week out at sea, a severe nor’easter struck. The boat disappeared, and the bodies of the crew were never recovered—a shocking loss that reverberated in the eastern Long Island fishing community.

The book goes beyond the background of the crew and the impact their loss had on their survivors; Fairbanks also details the shift of Montauk and the nearby Hamptons from working-class villages to a summer playground for New York City’s wealthy. The Wall Street Journal called the book “riveting.” Vanity Fair said it provides “a sweeping, and often devastating, portrait of a community on the brink of transformation.”

Fairbanks’ journalism experience includes positions at The New York Times, Boston Globe, HuffPost, Newsweek, and The Atlantic.

Each presentation in the series will include a breakfast buffet, featuring choices of hot and cold entrees, including eggs with bacon and sausage, cereals, yogurts, fruits, a variety of breads, juice, and coffee.

The 2023 sponsors of the Nonfiction Author Series are:

  • Platinum — Bigham Jewelers, John R. Wood Properties, Stock Development, The Club at Olde Cypress

  • Gold — Books-a-Million, Gulf Coast International Properties, Naples MacFriends User Group, The Capital Grille

  • Silver — Tradewind Pools, Wynn’s Market, Vicki Tracy


Nonfiction Author Series

What: Author lectures and breakfast that raise funds for the Collier County Public Library system

Where: Kensington Country Club, 2700 Pine Ridge Road, Naples

When: Breakfast is served at 8:30 a.m.; the authors speak at 9:15 a.m., followed by a book signing

Author lineup:

  • Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Monday, January 23

  • Amy Gajda, Monday, February 6

  • Bob Harig, Monday, February 27

  • Amanda M. Fairbanks, Monday, March 20


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