Winkler, McDonough attend “Meet the Authors” reception before Saturday’s book fest

Taylor Harrison

Henry Winkler and many other authors attended the Southern Kentucky Book Fest’s “Meet the Authors” reception Friday night.

Winkler, an actor, director, producer and author, is most well known for playing “Fonzie” on the television show, “Happy Days.” But Winkler is also the author of the Hank Zipzer books, a series of children’s novels.

At the reception, Winkler was honored with the title of a Kentucky Colonel by Rep. Jim DeCesare.

“Okay, so everybody in the back, I need you to be quiet because I’m a colonel and you’re not cool enough to talk at the same time as I do,” Winkler joked when accepting the honor, prompting laughter from the crowd.

But on a more serious note, Winkler said he was very happy to be there.

“So can I just say, I am so happy, first of all, to be here in Bowling Green,” he said. “It’s my very first time. Second of all, to be here at this wonderful book fest.”

Winkler also said it was strange to be at the book fest, as he didn’t become interested in reading until later in life and when he was a kid, he was “allergic to books.”

“So then 10 years ago, Hank Zipzer was born,” he said. “There are now 23 novels that my partner Lin Oliver and I have written. I never thought in a million years that I would be part of writing a book, in my whole life. And I’m now in the room with wonderful authors and wonderful lovers of books and we are here to celebrate the book tomorrow.”

Winkler will be presenting at Saturday’s Book Fest at 10 a.m.

Libby Davies, from Barnes and Noble, also presented an award — the Kentucky Literary Award, which is sponsored by the book fest’s three partners —Barnes and Noble, the Warren County Public Library and WKU.

This award was given to James Nicholson, who wrote “The Kentucky Derby: How the Run for the Roses Became America’s Premier Sporting Event.”

“It’s an honor to be included amongst all these wonderful books and wonderful authors,” he said.

Mary McDonough, who like Winkler achieved fame through television, played Erin Walton on “The Waltons” and also attended the reception. She wrote the book, “Lessons From The Mountain, What I Learned From Erin Walton.”

Her experience in television at a young age was “everything,” she said.

“Growing up on television is definitely not a normal way to grow up, but it’s all I knew and it’s all I still know,” she said. “It was wonderful, it was hard, it was exciting. It was a gift and a blessing and at the same time, it was really challenging and confusing to me. I was lifted away from my own family and plopped into this Hollywood family, and I saw them more than I did my own real family. So it was an adjustment, but overall, throughout the years, ultimately it was a huge gift.”

She will speak at a breakfast and workshop, called “Body Branding: Getting Comfortable with the Skin You’re In,” at 8 a.m. on Saturday.

She said she is excited and nervous about the workshop.

“I’m excited because it really resonates with my heart, talking about the struggles that we have and body image and the pressures that people feel to be perfect, to look perfect, to get perfect grades — all of the pressures that I had when I was growing up,” she said.