A quartet of popular authors with intriguing stories to tell – Michael Connelly, Philipp Meyer, Ellie LeBlond Sosa and Michelle Staubach Grimes – will headline the 17th annual Dallas/Fort Worth Celebration of Reading.Presented by the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, the event is slated for Tuesday, Nov. 6, from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center (2301 Flora St., Dallas). Doors to the Meyerson Symphony Center will open at 6:30 p.m.
During a lively and entertaining program, the four authors will share personal anecdotes and read from their most recent works. Additionally, a tribute to founder former First Lady Barbara Bush, who launched the Foundation in 1989 and raised millions of dollars for family literacy programs across America, will be made. Former First Lady Laura Bush is the honorary chair of this year’s event, and Brill Garrett, wife of Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett and a passionate advocate for making a difference in the lives of children, is the event chair.
Here are details on this year’s featured authors:
- Michael Connelly, a former news journalist and crime reporter for the Los Angeles Times, is the best-selling author of 32 novels. With more than 74 million copies of his books sold worldwide and translated into 40 foreign languages, he is one of the most successful writers working today. He has won almost every major mystery writers award including the prestigious Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 1992. Numerous books have been adapted for movies and TV, including Blood Work starring and directed by Clint Eastwood, and The Lincoln Lawyer starring Matthew McConaughey. Connelly also is the executive producer of BOSCH, an Amazon Studios original drama series based on his bestselling character Harry Bosch, starring Titus Welliver and streaming on Amazon Prime.
- Philipp Meyer grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Baltimore where he dropped out of high school and got a GED at the age of 16. He is a graduate of Cornell University and has an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a James Michener Fellow. In 2009, Meyer published the critically lauded novel, American Rust, which won a Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was named an Economist Book of the Year, a New York Times Notable Book, and a Washington Post Book of the Year. Meyer’s second novel, The Son, has been a bestseller in a dozen countries, was published in 25 languages and has been honored with numerous awards. His book, The Son, premiered as an AMC original starring Pierce Brosnan.
- Ellie LeBlond Sosa is the co-author of George and Barbara Bush: A Great American Love Story, a book about her grandparents’ incredible legacy of love. Ellie lives in Boston, where she works for a healthcare nonprofit. Her passion lies in health and wellness. She is a certified holistic health counselor and teaches fitness in Boston as well as on retreats for women around the world. Ellie met her husband of four years at her grandparents’ home in Kennebunkport, Maine, and was married there in 2014. Her grandparents’ love story is one that she looks up to and strives to emulate in her own life.
- Michelle Staubach Grimes is the author of two acclaimed children’s books: Where is Pidge? and Pidge Takes the Stage. Raised in Dallas, Grimes earned a bachelor of arts and a law degree from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., before returning home to practice law and work in sports marketing. She became a stay-at-home mom upon the birth of her first child in 1999. In 2012, she enrolled in a continuing education program focused on creative writing at Southern Methodist University. After falling in love with creative writing and studying “story” through the SMU program, Michelle published her first children’s book in 2015.
Sponsors receive a variety of benefits based on their level of sponsorship. The day kicks off with a luncheon at noon for the authors and top sponsors, followed by a VIP authors' reception from 6-7 p.m. for patron level and higher sponsors at the Meyerson’s Horchow Hall. After the 7 p.m. public program, there is a dinner for the authors and sponsors with a book signing at 9 p.m. on the lower level.
Earlier that day, student winners of the region-wide essay contest along with their teachers and principals will be honored at a breakfast event hosted by the Gene and Jerry Jones Family at AT&T Stadium.
The work of the Barbara Bush Foundation is more critical than ever. By 2030, an estimated 1 million Dallas County residents will not be literate in English – limiting opportunities and economic prosperity for families and the entire community. Further illustrating the issue is that approximately 70 percent of low-income fourth graders in North Texas today cannot read at grade level.
Funds raised from this year’s event will support more than 140 family literacy programs and groundbreaking literacy initiatives throughout the country that provide parents and children – including nearly 5,000 North Texas families – with access to educational opportunities so they can better their own lives and pass these important skills down to the next generation.
TICKETS AND SPONSORSHIP DETAILS
Individual tickets for the program only are $125. A limited number of $250 tickets are available, which includes reserved program seating along with dinner and a book-signing with the authors immediately following. Tickets and sponsorships are available at barbarabush.org/get-involved/events.
Sponsorship packages are available at the following levels: Platinum Sponsors are $100,000 and above; Gold Sponsors are $50,000; Silver Sponsors are $25,000; Bronze Sponsors are $15,000; Patron Sponsors are $10,000; and Friend Sponsors are $5,000.A special “Tickets for Teachers” sponsorship package rewards 10 dedicated educators with an opportunity for a special night out to celebrate the joy of reading.
For sponsorship information, contact Melissa Metoyer at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the Dallas/Fort Worth Celebration of Reading,go to barbarabush.org/get-involved/events.
About the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, a public charity, is the nation’s leading advocate for family literacy. The Foundation was established by Mrs. Barbara Bush in 1989, and today remains committed to her vision of fostering the opportunity for every man, woman and child to secure a better life through literacy. To learn more, visit BarbaraBush.org or join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter (@BarbaraBushFdn).