KTTU "In Focus," Sunday, 2/27/11, 10:30 AM

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By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter

Host Bob Lee interviews Bill Viner, a co-founder of the Tucson Festival of Books. Now in its third year, this two day festival endorses the community celebration of reading and knowledge by featuring hundreds of authors, publishers, and exhibitors.

Viner says funds raised through sponsorships and at the Friday night “Author’s Table” event directly benefit Pima County Public Libraries and local literacy programs such as the Reading Seed. He says in addition to over 400 authors participating, the free event includes writing workshops and competitions, panel presentations, live cooking demonstrations, children's activities, storytelling, artists and musicians. He says this year more authors are participating in the Festival via the Authors Pavilion, where authors have reserved slots to meet fans and sell or sign books, and throughout the Exhibitors area, where some book signings are also scheduled. 

Viner says literacy…being a good reader… is fundamental to a community’s economic success. as well as to a person’s individual social and economic well-being. He says strong literacy skills are crucial for improving an individual’s employment and income prospects.

Viner says last year’s event was attended by over 80,000 people and in its first two years raised $350,000 for literacy.  He says checks were given to the Literacy for Life Coalition, Reading Seed and to the University of Arizona by the Tucson Festival of Books Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.