Summer was made for more than vacationing. It is also the peak season for reading. And while some folks will delve into a biography or a historic tome, the guilty pleasure of summer readers is the mystery. And the record-breaking king of bestselling suspense novels is James Patterson. Since 1976 he has written more than 250 books. Of those, 212 have been New York Times bestsellers resulting in his being the author of the most #1 New York Times bestsellers, with 93.
He has sold more copies than Stephen King, John Grisham and Dan Brown combined.
But the former advertising exec has had his hand in more than the writing of books. He’s become an outspoken advocate for literacy. In 2015 the National Book Foundation presented him with the Literarian Award for being a “passionate campaigner to make books and reading a national priority. A generous supporter of universities, teachers colleges, independent bookstores, school libraries and college students, Patterson has donated millions of dollars in grants and scholarships with the purpose of encouraging Americans of all ages to read more books.”
In addition to having “given 3 million books to school children and the military, he’s donated more than $70 million to support education and endowed more than 5,000 college scholarships for teachers.”
It is this support of literacy that will bring Patterson to the Hyatt Regency Dallas for a gala on Wednesday, October 30. Benefiting Literacy Instruction for Texas (LIFT), “A Conversation With James Patterson” will be held in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Bouchercon, the world’s largest mystery novel fan convention taking place in Dallas on Thursday, October 31 – Sunday, November 3.
Interviewing the 72-year-old author will be New York Times bestselling author David Morrell, who is best-known for his book “’First Blood,” which grew into the “Rambo” franchise.
According to Bouchercon Chair/Dallas author Carolyn Tillery, “I’m delighted to be chairing this incredible evening featuring James Patterson, highlighting his commitment to literacy, as well as his incomparable contribution to the mystery/suspense genre. For such an important cause and to kick off Bouchercon’s 50th anniversary in our city, we’re honored to showcase such an esteemed talent. We’re also thrilled to welcome more than 2,000 mystery authors and fans from all over the world to Dallas.”
Carolyn admitted that “the international murder mystery convention opening on Halloween wasn’t exactly an accident. Events will include a murder mystery dinner theater (designed and scripted by bestselling author Heather Graham); an international reception; a denim party; and our Anthony Awards ceremony for novels of the years, followed by a dinner and ‘birthday party.’
“We doing a number of new things like a teen writing contest with DISD — and winners will be presented their awards and cash prizes by James Patterson. We’ve enlarged our annual tea honoring librarians to 400.”
For added local touches, former Texas Board of Education President Tincy Miller will serve as honorary chair for the gala; author Harry Hunsicker will be the Bouchercon toastmaster; and bestselling thriller/suspense novelist Sandra Brown will be a special guest.
And the very best thing about the Bouchercon is that you don’t have to be an author to attend. You can just love a good read with a touch of larceny. Tickets and tables for the gala including a VIP cocktail meet-and-greet and the convention are available now.
* Photo courtesy of Carolyn Tillery