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Barbara Bush and George H.W. Bush’s Caring Faith Will Be Spotlighted at Houston’s Superstar Author Night

This Celebration of Reading Brings Out All the Literary Stars

BY // 02.10.23

The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation hits the author jackpot this year with two New York Times bestselling writers, a standup comedian, a Pulitzer Prize winner and a beloved Episcopal priest. All will be reading from their works at the 29th annual “A Celebration of Reading.” The entertaining, thought-provoking evening of literature will take place at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts on April 20.

Maria and Neil Bush will reprise their roles as hosts for the fundraiser that benefits the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, which they co-founded a decade ago with former First Lady Barbara Bush.

“Mom created this event to demonstrate the transformative power of reading and to call upon the Houston community to give in support of literacy programs that empower more children and adults with the skills and tools they need to reach their full potential in life and position our city to thrive socially and economically,” Neil Bush noted during the announcement of the authors.

Nelson DeMille, a seven-time New York Times bestselling author, will discuss his work and his most recent book The Maze, which is the eighth in a series featuring NYPD Homicide Detective John Corey.

Tess Gerritsen
International and New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen headlines the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation A Celebration of Reading on April 20.

International and New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen, creator of the famed — if fictional — homicide detective Jane Rizzoli, brings an insider view to her latest tome Listen to Me, a thriller tale of a brutal investigation with dire consequences. You might recall that the Rizzoli crime novels inspired the TNT television series Rizzoli & Isles.

The Rev. Russell J. Levenson, rector at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church where former President George and Barbara Bush worshipped, will share witty and wise insights on the first couple as recalled in his Witness to Dignity: The Life and Faith of George H.W. and Barbara Bush.

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Standup comedian and writer Tom Papa is sure to provide good humor and hopefulness when he discusses his latest of three books You’re Doing Great!: And Other Reasons To Stay Alive, a collection of essays on what’s truly good and wonderful about the lives of American citizens.

Isabel Wilkerson brings a voice to her bestselling Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, a historical nonfiction work about inequality in the United States, India and Nazi Germany. Wilkerson is a former journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize for her feature writing work for the New York Times.

Isabel Wilkerson_Credit Joe Jenson_2022
Bestselling author Isabel Wilkerson takes the stage at Hobby Center for the Performing Arts on April 20 for A Celebration of Reading. (Photo by Joe Jenson)

Returning as title sponsor of  “A Celebration of Reading” for the eighth year is Phillips 66, joined by platinum sponsors Kathrine McGovern and the McGovern Foundation and ConocoPhillips.

“Thanks to the generosity of our event sponsors over the years, proceeds from ‘A Celebration of Reading’ have enabled the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation to launch several reading intervention programs at schools across Houston to boost reading achievement, expand availability of literacy classes for adults, empower tens of thousands of underserved children to become book owners and more,” notes Julie Finck, Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation president and CEO.

“Together, we can make great strides in addressing one of our city’s most pressing problems — low literacy.”

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