John Cooper School Brings Acclaimed Author Taylor Jenkins Reid to The Woodlands with its Signatures Author Series
THE WOODLANDS, TX -- The John Cooper School turned a new page today as it presented its 17th annual Signatures Author Series at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott.
17th annual event returns to a glamorous, in-person venue
Nearly 600 attendees came to enjoy refreshments, an upscale luncheon, meeting various local authors, and keynote speaker Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of New York Times Bestselling novels Malibu Rising, Daisy Jones & the Six, and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, and other books and television adaptations. Daisy Jones & the Six was picked up by Reese Witherspoon even before its publication for her monthly book club, and subsequently her production company, Hello Sunshine, was adapted into an Amazon limited television series. Malibu Rising, her latest novel, is set to be adapted as a Hulu television series.
COVID restrictions forced event organizers last year to hold the event in a virtual environment, so it’s little wonder that so many avid readers and community leaders came out en masse to this star-studded event this year.
The Signatures Author Series was begun by the school in 2005 when it featured former First Lady the late Barbara Bush. Subsequent keynote authors over the years have included Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist the late Dave Barry, Mitch Albom, the late Anthony Bourdain, John Grogan (Marley & Me), Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook), Candace Bushnell (Sex and the City), Kathryn Stockett (The Help), Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl), and Kevin Kwan (Crazy Rich Asians), leaving this year’s speaker in good company.
Jenkins Reid regaled the hundreds of attentive attendees with her reasoning for specializing in the characterizations of “fake rich people,” as she put it; her books have included fictional characters inspired by luminaries such as Stevie Nicks and Elizabeth Taylor. She also discussed the symbiotic relationship between celebrities, the media, and their audiences.
Local attorney and community icon Nelda Luce Blair was one of the attendees who came once again to enjoy the festivities. “I’ve been coming to literally each one of these since the beginning,” she said, indicating her niece sitting next to her who was a fan of Jenkins Reid. “It’s important to show these authors our support.”
Before the dining and speeches commenced, however, a spacious room was dedicated to eighteen local authors who were invited to showcase their works and expand their audiences. One such author was Kathryn Lane, writer of the award-winning Nikki Garcia Thriller Series that centers around a globetrotting adventuress, with each book in the series set in a different country based on Lane’s own travels. More can be learned about Lane at her website, www.kathryn-lane.com.
“This is a fantastic forum for authors to meet their existing readers and welcome new ones,” said Lane as she signed copies of her latest novel, Revenge in Barcelona. “Each year has been a pleasure to set up and greet all these wonderful people who share a common love of reading.”
On top of the author meet-and-greets, the fine dining, and the intimate dialogue from an acclaimed author, the Signature Author Series additionally enjoys a tradition of selecting a local literary-themed nonprofit organization to be the beneficiary of a portion of the proceeds from the event. In the past sixteen years, more than $58,000 has been donated to these local organizations to promote literacy in our community. This year’s beneficiary was Children’s Books on Wheels (CBOW), helmed by literary leader Ritz Wiltz.
“I’m so honored that CBOW was selected once again to be a beneficiary of this amazing event,” said Wiltz. “We’ve been a part of the John Cooper School’s community since basically forever, ever since they started their Empty Bowls Project,” a traditional event that raised funds, awareness, and food for underprivileged families. Wiltz is keenly aware of the relationship between poverty and illiteracy.
“These funds will help our ‘wish list’ come closer to fruition; the creation of a mobile literacy library for kids that can reach out into our more rural areas, as well as our ongoing program to promote digital literacy with our ‘No Child Left Offline’ initiative.”
The festivities concluded with a fundraising raffle that included a Beach Getaway for Two, a 'Party in a Bottle' signed by Taylor Jenkins Reid, and a jewelry collection donated by Thomas Markle Jewelers.
Significant sponsors of this year’s event include The Bourque Family, Todd Adam, the Creel Family and Friends, The Lenox Family, Dr. Carlos H. Ramirez, Waste Connections, and Marriott.