Volunteer leaders Lu Conti and Annell Gerson pictured with Atlanta author Daniel Black.
New York Times bestselling authors are taking the stage in Roswell, thanks to a group of 18 dedicated Library volunteers known as Roswell Reads. On September 29, New York Times bestselling author William Kent Krueger will present as the 2023 Roswell Reads author. In 2022, novelist Geraldine Brooks spoke about her bestseller, Horse. Since 2005, nationally recognized authors have included Delia Owens, Rick Bragg, Melissa Fay Greene, Joshilyn Jackson, and the late Terry Kay. Roswell Reads promotes the value of reading, literacy, and lifelong learning through the shared community-wide experience of reading and discussing a common book. The volunteers read books, select authors based on a criterion, plan and promote annual events and host a quarterly online book discussion. Readers collectively examine relevant issues such as civil rights, immigration, and natural disasters. Chair Kelly Frommer shared what volunteering at the library has meant to her, “I grew up in libraries and have witnessed the Roswell Library evolution from a small building to a space in the mall, to the brand-new building today. I recently participated in a virtual art program with my mom and daughter at the Roswell Library. It was amazing to have three generations together and to watch my 15-year-old take it to heart and recall coming here for Pet Storytime, searching the catalog, or coloring during Roswell Reads' meetings. I encourage everyone to get involved, read, have conversations, join the family programs and take advantage of what Roswell Reads and libraries offer.”
Volunteer and former Branch Manager Lu Conti helped found Roswell Reads and is the current chair of Atlanta Authors. The Atlanta Authors Committee has six members who focus on Metro Atlanta authors and plan four events a year. Authors and titles have ranged from the mysteries of Mary Kay Andrews to the ambivalence of adolescence by Jessica Handler and even American television writer Jeffrey Stepakoff. A recent event with author Daniel Black discussing Black on Black brought a large and diverse audience together. Lu shared, “I remember being there when it was formed in 2008 and reviewing an author list and chart. When we had author Wanda Morris last fall, we filled the classroom with 32 people. It is surprising to see how many authors there are in Atlanta and to learn more about their work. I love that being on the committee I get introduced to authors and books I may not have known about yet.”
Roswell Reads and Atlanta Authors are supported by the Friends of the Roswell Library in association with the Friends of the East Roswell Library. Bookmiser Bookstore owner, Annell Gerson, volunteers on both committees to help connect with authors. Support is also provided by George Weinstein with the Atlanta Writer’s Club. Most events are held at the library, but larger events are held at their partner location, the Roswell Cultural Arts Center.
The next Atlanta Authors event is on June 24 with Terri Parlato about her book All the Dark Places and the next Roswell Reads program is on September 12 with Tracy Enerson Wood about The President’s Wife. Check them out at https://www.forl.net/atlanta-authors and https://roswellreads.com/.
Chair of the Friends of the Roswell Library Nancy Puckett, author Geraldine Brooks, chair of Roswell Reads Kelly Frommer and City of Roswell Cultural Arts Coordinator David Crowe
Roswell Reads Steering Committee pictured with author Geraldine Brooks
Roswell Reads Steering Committee pictured with author Delia Owens in 2019
Roswell Reads Steering Committee with author Melissa Fay Greene in 2017