Literary legends to spill secrets to success at Off the Page celebration hosted by Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources staff

Neil Gaiman to be first speaker, on Nov. 1

Image courtesy Sarasota County

Best-selling fantasy author Neil Gaiman, creator of the Sandman comic book series, will lead “a stellar lineup of successful authors” at an upcoming event hosted by the Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources Department, county staff has announced.

The Off the Page literary celebration will launch on Nov. 1, featuring “more than two weeks of author talks, writing workshops, book signings, and more — all free to attendees. No registration is required,” the release notes. However, attendance is first-come, first-seated.

Along with Gaiman, the release says, the guest speakers will be Sarah MacLean, a New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today best-selling author of historical romances; six-time Eisner Award winner Raina Telgemeier, the creator of The New York Times best-selling graphic novels Smile and Sisters; science writer Sam Kean, the author of The Disappearing Spoon, The Bastard Brigade and The Icepick Surgeon; and historical fiction writer Sarah Penner, author of The Lost Apothecary and The London Séance Society, who has an upcoming drama series on the Fox TV network.

The main events of Off the Page will be as follows, the release adds:

  • Author talk and book signing with Sarah MacLean at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4, at Selby Library, (1331 First St. in Sarasota).
  • Author talk and book sale with Neil Gaiman at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7, at the Venice Performing Arts Center (1 Indian Ave. in Venice).
  • Author talk and book signing with Raina Telgemeier at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11, at the Shannon Staub Library, (4675 Career Lane in North Port).
  • Discussion with Sam Kean at 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 13, at Gulf Gate Library (7112 Curtiss Ave. in Sarasota).
  • Author talk and book signing with Sarah Penner at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 16, at the William H. Jervey Jr. Venice Library (300 Nokomis Ave. S. in Venice).

Participants also may “explore the written word through programming associated with Off the Page” — which occurs daily at every Sarasota County library location — the release points out — and with events scheduled for the Ringling College of Art + Design and the Hermitage Artist Retreat.

“Writing and literature is a form of art that deserves to be celebrated as part of Sarasota’s world-class art scene,” said Di Pilato, director of Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources, in the release. “We hope that this will be the start of an annual festival that residents can look forward to year after year,” she added.

Further, among the upcoming events will be teen writing workshops led by Ringling professor Ryan Van Cleave; a carnivorous plant sale hosted by botanist Kenny Coogan; and a mystery night panel discussion with representatives of Ocean View Publishing, the release points out.

“There is really something for everyone,” said Di Pilato in the release. “We wanted to showcase literature in its many forms and create events that are interactive, fun, and spark a sense of wonder.”

For a full programming lineup, visit, or call 311 or 941-861-1110.