ST. PETERSBURG — In a packed auditorium at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, a crowd of hundreds grew antsy as it waited to hear from three of the marquee authors at Saturday's Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading.Their books are about completely different subjects, but the festival was buzzing to see them on stage.
One book, Juniper, tells the story of a child born at just 23 weeks and was written by Kelley Benham French and her husband, Thomas. They are former writers for the Tampa Bay Times, and the journalists' nonfiction book about their daughter has drawn rave reviews.
Festival attendees seemed equally enthused to hear and meet Michael Connelly, a famed crime fiction writer whose latest work, The Wrong Side of Goodbye, returns to a familiar character, the aging detective Harry Bosch.
The Frenches took the main stage first, followed by Connelly, while roughly 30 other authors read passages and gave speeches across the downtown campus.
"It's such a great event that the only problem is: there are too many people I want to see and I can't get to all of them," joked Sandy Clenney, of St. Petersburg.
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