Eric Douglas Published

Best-Selling Author James Patterson To Speak At West Virginia Book Festival


The best-selling author of all time will be at the West Virginia Book Festival this weekend. 


Credit Courtesy photo
James Patterson will speak at the West Virginia Book Festival on Saturday, October 5.

James Patterson explained in an interview that he hasn’t always been a good public speaker, but he has improved over the years. Before becoming an author, he had a successful career in advertising. 

“When I got hired, the guy that hired me said that I was the shyest person he had ever interviewed. And part of the way I got over that and became a pretty decent public speaker is to tell stories. I just tell story after story after story and if Mayor Goodwin is cool, we will get people laughing and they’ll find out some stuff and I’m not about selling my books. I’m more about, you know, getting people reading,” Patterson said. 

Charleston Mayor Amy Goodwin was scheduled to moderate Patterson’s presentation, but has had to cancel. Patterson’s talk is scheduled in the Coliseum at 3 p.m. on Saturday during the West Virginia Book Festival.

Patterson gets dozens of requests for appearances and many offer him large speaking fees. Patterson said the West Virginia Book Festival’ s invitation stood out.

“The approach was great. They said the right kinds of things. Libraries are a big deal for me and getting kids reading and getting the adults reading is huge,” he said. 

Reading is important for Patterson personally, too, but he has so many projects that he doesn’t have as much time to read as he used to. He said he has 33 live projects in his office right now. That said, he is still in the middle of a couple books. 

“I used to be a three or four book a week person. I just read a book “What it takes” by Stephen Schwarzman. He founded Blackstone (one of the largest private equity groups in the world), which is which is pretty cool. I’m reading a Robert Cray mystery. Jason Reynolds is a kids writer I like. I’m reading ‘Ghost’ right now,” Patterson said. 

Patterson is a big advocate for children’s reading programs. He created a program called ReadKiddoRead that helps parents find interesting books for their children. 

“A lot of people don’t know I write kids books, but I do and I love it. I think they’re actually my best books. And our mission at Jimmy books, which may sound simple, but I think it’s actually pretty smart, is when a kid finishes a Jimmy book to say ‘please give me another book,’ as opposed to ‘I don’t like to read’,” he said.   

As one of the most successful authors in the world, Patterson said he makes an effort to return that success to the community. 

“We have actually 450 scholarships for teachers. We do a thing with scholastic for another couple of million for classroom libraries. I think we had 112,000 teachers ask us for help. I think we helped 18,000. My mother was a teacher for I don’t know, 192 years so that’s sort of in my blood,” he said. 

Listen to an additional Q&A with James Patterson. 

To get a book signed by James Patterson at the festival this weekend, you need to show up early. He is on a tight schedule and only 100 ticket holders will be able to meet him. 

To receive a ticket, you must purchase either “Killer Instinct” or his children’s book “Max Einstein: Rebels with a Cause” at the West Virginia Book Company booth.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting is a sponsor of the festival, which runs from from 10 a.m. -8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, in the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center. 

There will be a marketplace where local authors will sell their books, along with the used book sale and writing workshops. Other authors that will make presentations include: Salina Yoon, Orson Scott Card, Anthony Harkins, Meredith McCarroll and Denise Keirnan. 

To qualify to have Patterson sign your book, doors for the ticket line will open at 7 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5. Patterson’s presentation is at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Patterson will only sign one approved title per person; personalization and photographs are not permitted. A ticket and an approved title are required to enter the signing. 

In addition, at the Kanawha County Public Library’s table in the Marketplace, you can enter into a drawing for a ticket. The winners will be announced before James Patterson’s presentation in the Coliseum. If you win the drawing, you must purchase either James Patterson’s “Killer Instinct” or “Max Einstein: Rebels with a Cause” at the West Virginia Book Company booth.