Mission Statement

Nurturing the ‘love of words’ for the adults and the children of our community.  

We promote cultural awareness of the published author.  We believe that reading begins at the top – with our educators, teachers and librarians.

- Lois Cahall, Founder & Creative Director


lois_cahall_creative_director The Public wanted it.  The community said it would never happen -it couldn’t be done – not in Palm Beach.   But on April 11th, 2015, the first annual Palm Beach Book Festival made its literary debut…

We welcomed hundreds of reading and writing enthusiasts at the Norton Museum of Art’s auditorium.  And we also welcomed a group of disappointed fans who found us SOLD OUT. The audience enjoyed a full day with NYT best-selling authors, covering women’s literature, mystery, and how-to-get-published.  Before he hosted the Tony Awards, we honored Alan Cumming as our “Memoir of the Year” for his brave life story, NOT MY FATHER’S SON.

Later at the Colony Hotel, authors relaxed and mingled with attendees. Closing night words followed with Joe Klein of TIME magazine, moderating our Honorary Chairman, James Patterson, on literacy and education. Mr. Patterson says it best, “Reading is our most endangered species.”

In April 2016, we grew to two days and a wider range of household-name authors.  We honored the legend, Burt Reynolds, for his humble memoir, BUT ENOUGH ABOUT ME in which he addressed (on our stage in tears) his life-long regrets as a movie star, and how ‘love’ and good friends,  is all that really matters.   The festival’s theme for 2016 was ‘reinvention’ – whether as an author or an artist – in an ever-changing publishing and media climate. The iconic, Gail Sheehy, spoke at length about this subject which Burt simply called “Survival.”

In April 2017 we had a full star-studded lineup and a star-studded audience….when students from the Middle and High School of Pahokee came in to hear Olympic gold-medal winner/Dancing with the Stars winner, Laurie Hernandez talk about her NY Times best-selling memoir I GOT THIS.  On day two, amidst the NY Times best-selling, Golden Globe winning, Emmy winning, Award winning, PEN winning and Pulitzer nominees,  the kids got to hear the world’s most successful writer, James Patterson, talk about his book WORD OF MOUSE. Later he engaged with the students for some fun ‘selfies.’

So let’s keep reading and writing alive for our generation and our children’s generation.  Let’s start by getting more teachers, students and librarians into more seats in our audience.  Maybe there’s one teacher out there who needs to feel appreciated and inspired by meeting her favorite author, and then introduce his/her book into his/her classroom.   Maybe there’s one child out there whose dream falls on a deaf ear at home.  Perhaps there’s one author on that stage who will inspire that child to read more, to write and to get published. Perhaps one day that child will be THAT author on the stage!

According to Amazon, Florida has the highest readership in America. Apparently we’re America’s darlings when it comes to books, yet ironically our children aren’t curling up with them…


And who am I?  I”m an international best-selling author. (my full bio under the home page tab ‘Our Board.’) Why did I start this festival?  In April of 2012, in my version of ‘Under the Florida Sun’ – not the Tuscan sun, I couldn’t afford Tuscany – I moved from Manhattan (and London) to West Palm Beach. I came here to mend my broken heart, to get all eat-pray-love, to chase serendipity (not trust-fund babies) and to pen out my memoir.

Call it a self-imposed witness-protection program, it was a far cry from my old life.

But when my first year in Florida turned into my second, and my second turned into my third, I learned that there was something more to Florida. I found myself wanting to bring the Manhattan cultural life to Palm Beach. I found myself wanting to give back to a community who had welcomed me with no questions asked. The air here is soft and warm.  I feel like Hemingway….writing to the sway of the palm trees…adopted cat at my feet, occasional vodka at my side (but only after 6 EST time.)

Artists survive their experiences by writing them out.  But as an artist I was also thriving because of a great support system of wonderful friends in Palm Beach County.  I’ve become close with those who attend my own guest speaking engagements. These are brave people who have humbly shared their life stories with me.  Some of the locals were so interesting and exotic that I have had the honor of writing multiple in-depth profiles on them for the Palm Beach Post. …and that worked out fine because I’m often called “an exotic pet” myself. I beat to my own drum, too, and now I do it in this sunshine swing state. The swing state is the future of the world. Outside of the NY and London bubble, Florida has become the transition of what happens next…

What happens next?  With Donald Trump as our President, and Mar-a-lago his ‘happy place,’ Palm Beach has become a brand.  The world’s eyes are upon us.  We have possibilities and visibility like never before.  Let’s be a voice for change.  Or a voice for reading.

As a young girl I admired Peggy Guggenheim, the great art collector, whose photograph sits on my desk as inspiration. In the 1930s Peggy stormed into her friend Picasso’s studio in Paris when her mission for months was to buy a painting a day during the time of World War when painters were desperate to sell their works. When the Germans attacked, I loved that Peggy sat in a Paris cafe sipping champagne as the city was being bombed. I loved that she stashed her friends’ paintings – – Picasso, Max Ernst, Magritte, Man Ray, Dali, Chagall, – the ones that the Louvre had rendered worthless, into a barn in the French countryside…Just in case they might ever gain notoriety.

Like Peggy, I see the worth of the people of Palm Beach as more than ‘Worth Avenue.’ I see their creative writing, their aspirations, and often the pouring of their passion onto the page whenever I play book whisperer to a student. I believe there’s talent here. I long to be the Peggy Guggenheim of Palm Beach. I long to be a pioneer of reading and writing.

PLEASE GO TO THE ‘SUPPORT US‘ TAB AND MAKE A DONATION TO PUT A TEACHER, CHILD OR LIBRARIAN INTO A SEAT FOR 2018. No donation is too small.  Just $20 with change someone’s outlook on words… for at least that very day.  It’s a start…

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Former President, Bill Clinton, and the best-selling novelist, James Patterson, our Honorary Chairman, are collaborating on a thriller, "The President is Missing," to come out June 2018 as an unusual joint release from rival publishers — Alfred A. Knopf and Little, Brown and Co. In a statement Monday provided to The Associated Press, the publishers called the book "a unique amalgam of intrigue, suspense and behind-the-scenes global drama from the highest corridors of power. It will be informed by details that only a president can know."
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A young woman, Victoria, loved all the old Robert Wagner Films. She and her mother drove 2 hours for her to see him at the book festival - on her prom day, mind you. When she finally got to meet him, RJ said, "Go put your prom dress on." She had it in the car. How sweet is this? Talk about a generation span. We love our Hollywood legends and their big kind hearts to both the young and old. Thank you again, RJ Wagner!! ... See MoreSee Less

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After our author dinner party (check out our OTHER FB album)...we got down to book panel business! ... See MoreSee Less

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Palm Beach Book Festival added 26 new photos to the album: Palm Beach Book Festival 2017 — with Lois Cahall and Dani Shapiro at Harriet Himmel Theater. ... See MoreSee Less

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P.O. Box 3069
Palm Beach, FL 33480

Lois Cahall

Honorary Chairman
James Patterson

Board of Directors
Matthew Burditt
Lois Cahall
David McClymont
Robert Shalhoub
Margaret Wilesmith

Advisory Board
Lisa Brintz
Mark W. Cook
Scott Eyman
Lisa Sharkey
Stuart Woods


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