It’s hard to believe, but this is the seventh year of the Jewish Book Festival in Naples made possible by Jewish Federation of Greater Naples. I have been on the committee since its inception. Many hundreds of local residents have attended the Festival events every year. Lately, of course, authors have presented virtually. For the 2021-2022 season, we are providing a choice, for the most part, of attending events virtually or in person.
The Jewish Book Festival begins with the Jewish Book Council in New York. Writers who are Jewish or those who write about a Jewish subject, submit their current publications for inclusion. Eventually the Council picks about 250 authors out of all the submissions. Then, normally, Jewish Book Festival committee members from across the country go to New York City to hear a two-minute presentation from each of the 250 authors. This year the authors presented virtually.
Meanwhile, local committee members receive copies of all 250 books, read them and rate them. The ratings of the virtual author presentations and the readers’ scores are then combined to pick the authors who will be presenting their books. We picked 17 authors to speak during our Jewish Book Festival in Naples starting Tuesday, November 9, 2021, until Thursday, March 17, 2022. The process, as you can see, is complicated and time consuming but the end result is a fabulous series of talks attended by hundreds taking us through our “season.”
Anyone who lives anywhere is welcome to attend the Jewish Book Festival virtually or in-person presentations. Individual event tickets can be purchased but most attendees become patrons at different levels allowing them to attend all events for one price. Anything you want to know about the festival can be found at jewishbookfestival.org.
Recently we started off the Naples Festival with a preview highlighting all 17 authors and their books. Press Club founding member and former president Carole Greene wrote an abstract for each of the books, and I had the honor of serving as the Master of Ceremonies. The preview was recorded, and you can watch it anytime by clicking on the home page for the Book Festival here, and scrolling down to the “Preview Event” video.