Henry Winkler to headline Southern Kentucky Book Festival

Taylor Harrison

Henry Winkler is coming to WKU next month to headline the Southern Kentucky Book Festival.

Kristie Lowry, Book Fest organizer at WKU Libraries, said the event is in its 15th year and it is a partnership between WKU Libraries, Warren County Public Library and Barnes and Noble.

The festival will host more than 120 authors and is on April 20 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. All events will take place in the Knicely Conference Center.

“We try to bring in people that readers in the area would like to see, and Henry Winkler certainly fit the bill,” Lowry said.

Winkler, who is most famous for playing Fonzie on “Happy Days,” is also the author of the Hank Zipzer books for children.

Mary Boyle, Winkler’s agent, said in an email that Winkler wanted to attend the festival as soon as he was invited.

“He was delighted to accept this invitation and worked it into his schedule as soon as possible,” Boyle said.

Boyle also said the topic of the presentation Winkler will give at the book fest is “If You Will It, It Is Not A Dream…”

“Working hard to achieve dreams is the crux of the speech,” Boyle said.

She said Winkler will sign books, and Lowry said the other authors will do this as well.

Boyle said Winkler sometimes reads excerpts from his books, but she is not sure if he will this time. She said he has been doing events like this for a long time.

“He has been doing speaking engagements for 17 years, and he’s particularly enjoyed this since he’s become an author,” Boyle said.

Winkler will also be attending the Meet the Authors reception the Friday night before the Book Fest on Saturday. Tickets to the reception are $50 for a single ticket and $75 for couples.

The Kentucky Writers Conference, where about 12 authors attending the Book Fest will offer workshops, will be April 19 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Another event that day is Children’s Day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This will focus on children’s authors and activities.

The Warren County Public Library is working closely with Children’s Day. Lisa Rice, director of the public library, said event planning for Children’s Day is their primary focus.

“We’re a full partner; we just have a different audience that we reach than the other partners,” Rice said.

Rice said she has heard Winkler speak before and is very excited to hear him again at the SOKY Book Fest.

“His fame and celebrity will bring a new audience to the book festival, which is something that we’re always trying to do — introduce new people to the event,” Rice said.

Jennifer Bailey, community relations manager for Barnes and Noble, said they order all of the books, set all of the books up for the authors and process the sales of the books, but that’s not all they do.

“It’s a complete partnership, so we help decide on the authors that are going to be coming,” Bailey said.

Bailey said she is looking forward to multiple authors who will be attending, but she is very excited about Winkler.

“I’ve got children that fall right into that reading age for the books, so yeah, we’re big Hank the Zipzer fans at our house,” Bailey said.

Lowry said getting Winkler booked for the event was not a difficult process.

“I’ve always heard that he’s a great guy and a fun guy and easy to work with, and that’s proven to be quite true,” Lowry said.