Readers and writers can be a boring bunch. We tend to gaze into computer screens and magazines, sit staring at empty pads of paper, and bury our noses in books. Some of us even wear earplugs. But get us talking, and you’ll find we have plenty to say.

That’s the thinking behind the 10th annual Santa Barbara Book & Author Festival, which kicks off on Friday, September 26. The festival brings the written word to life through the magic of speech-and not just speeches, but stories, discussions, readings, and conversations.

At this year’s festival, you’ll find storytellers from Girls Inc. reading fairy tales to children, while Orfalea Center director Mark Juergensmeyer discusses religious challenges to the secular state. Archaeologist and anthropologist Brian Fagan will give his account of global warming, and Sex and the City star Evan Handler will deliver comic relief from the pages of his autobiography. Selden Edwards will chat about his brand new novel, and more than 25 area poets will spin magic with their words. Read on for more about some of the featured writers, and then put away those reading glasses-you won’t need them when the festival hits.

The Book & Author Festival events take place at and around the Santa Barbara Public Library on Saturday, September 27, with a kick-off Scrabble tournament on Friday, September 26. For a full festival schedule, visit, or for more information, call 965-3023.

• James Ellroy Chronicles the Crimes of the Leg-breakers Who Made America Great by Charles Donelan

• Funnyman Evan Handler Reflects on Life’s Lessons by Shannon Kelley

• Gerald Locklin Receives Glenna Luschei Distinguished Poet Fellowship by Perie Longo


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