Worldwide bestselling author Steve Berry, a preservation advocate whose historical thrillers have been translated into 40 languages with more than 22 million copies in 51 countries, will speak Tuesday, Feb. 6, at Jacksonville University in a free event as part of the Ralph and Anina Walter Visiting Writer Series.
Berry’s books, including a dozen “Cotton Malone” novels and several standalones, consistently appear in the top echelon of The New York Times, USA Today and Indie bestseller lists. With his wife, Elizabeth, he is founder of History Matters, dedicated to historical preservation.
“It’s one of the benefits of being at a school like JU, where we can provide opportunities for students to hear from people at the top of their fields, whether in literature, marine science or the arts,” said Dr. Julie Sloan Brannon, chair of English in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Division of Humanities. “And through the generous gift of supporters like Ralph and Anina Walter, we can bring someone of Mr. Berry’s caliber to our students to enhance their learning in the English major. His expertise in history, law and fundraising for historical preservation offers something to students in other areas as well.”
Berry’s talk in newly renovated Terry Concert Hall, which is open to the public, will be on becoming a writer and the craft of writing, as well as his journey to become the highly successful author he is today. He’ll speak with students in several English and history classes as well as part of a two-day visit.
Born and raised in Georgia and a graduate of the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University, he was a trial lawyer for 30 years and held elective office for 14 of those years. Berry is a founding member and former co-president of International Thriller Writers — a group of more than 4,000 thriller writers from around the world— and is a member of the Smithsonian Libraries Advisory Board.
The author of 14 New York Times best sellers including “The Lost Order,” “The Lincoln Myth” and “The Templar Legacy” and many others, Berry has crossed the country with his wife to save endangered historic treasures, raising money via lectures, receptions, galas, luncheons, dinners and writers’ workshops. To date, more than 3,000 students have attended those workshops and nearly $1 million has been raised.
The free Talk and Q&A begin at 6:45 p.m. A pre-reception and seating will begin at 6 p.m., and a reception will close the evening. The event is free, but reservations must be made at the Facebook event page. Seating is limited, and is first come first serve. Parking will be in the Gooding Building visitors lot inside the main JU entrance.