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Mortenson, Gilbert, Brown, Hotelling, Portman at Carmel Authors & Ideas Festival

September 25-27 is the third annual Carmel Authors & Ideas Festival, held again at the Sunset Center in Carmel-by-the-Sea.  Authors have included Pulitzer and Nobel prize winners.  See the festival Web site for a complete list of this year’s 35  authors.

The festival is not limited to a central theme, and I have appreciated the mix of ideas, with diverse authors and topics.   Many authors share new insights and other material not found in their published work.

At the 2008 festival, Greg Mortenson, Irshad Manji, Khaled Hosseini, and Tamim Ansary offered a breadth of experience and thinking on Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Islam that coalesced into a remarkable opportunity for audience members to expand their understanding of these countries and the influence of Islam.

Mortenson returns again this year, and his Three Cups of Tea:  One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time remains on the NY Times Bestseller list (at present, in the top five nonfiction paperbacks) for the 137th week.   (See my June 3 post, “Why Three Cups of Tea Remains a Bestseller.”)

Elizabeth Gilbert, whose best known book is Eat, Pray, Love, is another bestselling author scheduled for this year’s festival. Gilbert is acclaimed too as an exceptionally enjoyable speaker. Click here for a video of her talk on nurturing creativity from the 2009 TED conference.

Other authors featured this year include many whose names you’ll recognize, and some you may not.  The latter group includes Stuart L. Brown, MD, author of Play:  How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul.  I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Brown about a decade ago, when I was researching the impact of frequent computer use by young children, and I encourage you to check out Play.

An author most known in golfing circles will be at the festival:  Pebble Beach historian Neal Hotelling.  He is the author of Pebble Beach Golf Links: The Official History, and Pebble Beach Heritage Collection.  His forthcoming book, due out in November, is Pebble Beach: The Official Golf History.  During the past year, I had the pleasure of hearing Hotelling speak on Monterey Peninsula history at Wave Street Studios, and I learned from him many things I did not know about my home turf  of nearly thirty years!  Click here for a video of Hotelling at Wave Street.

Festival organizers Jim and Cindy McGillen have established a welcome Monterey County literary tradition, which includes hosting a Student Literary Day for an auditorium filled with local middle and high school students.   Last year, the students heard from Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and East Bay punk rocker and young adult fiction writer Frank Portman, among others.

Portman, author of YA novels King Dork and Andromeda Klein, returns to the festival this year.  A musician before becoming an author, Frank Portman is also known as Dr. Frank of the East San Francisco Bay punk band, the Mr. T Experience.

I invite you to contact me if you have any questions about my experiences of this special event.

For a 9/20/09  article on the festival by Marc Cabrera of the Monterey County Herald, click here.

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