By Amanda Rogers
After a virtual year thanks to COVID-19, Mansfield Reads! plans to come roaring back this fall with a Texas author whose book was a recent major motion picture starring Tom Hanks.
Paulette Jiles, who lives in the Texas Hill Country, published “News of the World” in 2017 and it was soon named a finalist for the National Book Award.
The Friends of the Mansfield Library will host Jiles at An Evening with the Author from 7-9 p.m. Oct. 21 at Legacy High School’s Performing Arts Center as the finale of Mansfield Reads!, the group’s 18th annual month-long programming that promotes “One City, One Book,” encouraging the community to read the same book.
“We are delighted with Paulette and optimistic that we are going to get a lot of people to come out,” said Bobby Quinten, chairman for Mansfield Reads!
“News of the World” follows Captain Jefferson Kidd, a Civil War veteran who travels through North Texas reading newspapers from around the world to live audiences during the 1870s. Kidd is paid to return a young orphan girl who had been captured by the Kiowas to her aunt and uncle.
The free event is made possible by sponsors that help defray the cost, Quinten said. In the past, Mansfield Reads! has hosted Fannie Flagg, television and film star and author of “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café,” and H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger, author of “Friday Night Lights.”
“We go into our selection process with authors we would like to have,” Quinten explained. “We tried to get (Jiles) several years ago. It just all kind of worked out.”
Mansfield Reads! is the Friends of the Library’s gift to the community, he said.
“This is a celebration of reading, writing, literacy, culture and literary arts,” Quinten said.
Last year during the pandemic, the Friends of the Library had to move their event to the fall, due to the pandemic, and finally had to hold it virtually. They did manage to hold their annual kick-off party in March before COVID-19 shut them down.
The kick-off party is back, set for 6-7:30 p.m. Sept. 16 at Market Street, 3145 E. Broad St. The kick-off will feature “News of the World” books for sale, raffles, hors d’oeuvres, live music and a chance to be the first to register for An Evening with the Author.
Due to the book’s theme, Mansfield Reads! will be working with the Mansfield Historical Museum for even more programming during the month leading up to An Evening with the Author.
An Evening with the Author is free, but attendees will need to register at mansfieldlibraryfriends.org, starting in mid-September.
Mansfield, Texas, is a booming city, nestled between Fort Worth and Dallas, but with a personality all its own. The city’s 76,247 citizens enjoy an award-winning school district, vibrant economy, historic downtown, prize-winning park system and community focus spread across 37 square miles. The Mansfield Record is dedicated to reporting city and school news, community happenings, police and fire news, business, food and restaurants, parks and recreation, library, historical archives and special events. The city’s only online newspaper launched in September 2020 and will offer introductory advertising rates for the first three months at three different rates.