The annual FRESH Book Festival takes place January 6-8 in Daytona Beach.
The three-day event will feature a film festival, book festival, children’s reading and an author welcome session. There will also be information on how to write a book, ghost writing and more.
âIt’s going to be huge. Expect phenomenal workshops and a phenomenal experience. It’s going to be fun, âsaid Donna Gray-Banks, founder and director of the festival.
FRESH represents the genres of fiction, romance, exoticism, spirituality and health. Included are children’s books as well as books on mystery murder, history, relationships, and memoirs.
Film Festival First
The event kicks off at 7:00 p.m. on January 6 with a community film festival at the Peabody Auditorium featuring the black superhero feature film titled “Returned.” There will also be a short film called “American Triptych”. $ 10, and the VIP reception is $ 20.
Director Lamont Gant and screenwriter Marlon McCaulsky of “Returned” will be in attendance, as will Shandra McDonald, producer of “American Triptych”.
âIt’s a historic event. This is the first black sci-fi film festival in the historic Peabody Auditorium, âsaid Gray-Banks.
The two-day book festival will be held from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on January 7 at the Midtown Cultural & Educational Center, Daytona Beach. The hours of January 8 are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free for students and teachers, $ 5 for seniors and $ 7 for adults.
âWe want the community as well as inspiring authors to come out and enjoy this event,â Gray-Banks noted.
For children too
Adults are also encouraged to bring their children to the book festival.
âAbsolutely, bring the kids. We have elements of this festival for children. Educating them and helping them become literate is another goal of the festival, ” said Gray-Banks.
Over the 11 years of the event, he has grown and progressed tremendously. It is now ranked # 1 on the comprehensive list of international book fairs on kotobee.com.
âWow. We wanted it to be big and bigger. It’s global now,â Gray-Banks replied.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic caused the event to include a virtual component.
In person and virtual
There will be 35 writers on-site with a big screen projector showing live online interviews with other writers from around the world, including writers from Ghana, Nigeria, UK and Indonesia.
âLast year we had to take a step back and go virtual because of COVID.
We thought about how we were going to handle this. Instead of panicking. we used the same scheme. We went Zoom, âsaid Gray-Banks
âI was invited to the UK International Black Book Festival by director David Thyman. He said we could go virtual. ” She adapted her model for the Daytona festival.
Local authors too
The Book Festival at Midtown Cultural & Education will have several local authors who will host workshops and sell their books, including Bishop Derrick L. Triplett, retired judge Hubert Grimes and Felicia Benzo.
Former NBA player Chris Washburn will share his story with the youngsters and be interviewed by national radio personality GL Henderson at 2 p.m. on January 7.
Festival sponsors include the city of Daytona Beach; State farm; the Peabody Auditorium; Best Western; Law Mountains, Pennsylvania; Hunt House Vacation Homes; Angie Bee Productions; Links, Inc .; The Daytona Hotel; Klassy Kouture fashions; Dante Productions; and Park Side Realty Group.