One Book One Community to kick off MacDonald celebration on Jan. 22

Well-known contemporary authors to be special guests during festivities at Selby Library in Sarasota

Image courtesy Sarasota County
Image courtesy Sarasota County

As the One Book One Community program kicks off its celebration of the works of the late, well-known Sarasota author John D. MacDonald on the anniversary of his 100th birthday, the public is invited to join Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources Department staff at 6 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 22, at the Selby Public Library in downtown Sarasota, the county has announced.

Best known for his Travis McGee crime thriller series, MacDonald lived and worked in Sarasota from 1952 until his death in 1986, a news release points out. “He was a prolific novelist and short-story writer, completing 78 books across genres including thrillers and science fiction,” the release notes. Additionally, MacDonald’s novel The Executioners was adapted into the film Cape Fear.

“MacDonald had significant impact on a host of modern writers, including Florida mystery novelists Randy Wayne White, James Hall, Carl Hiaasen and Tim Dorsey, who credit his Travis McGee series as a key influence on their careers,” the release says. “Stephen King and Kurt Vonnegut have also repeatedly praised MacDonald’s work, with Vonnegut likening MacDonald’s novels to sacred treasures that will be valued throughout the ages,” the release adds.

Moreover, MacDonald’s definitive hurricane disaster novel Condominium was just selected as the Florida Library Association’s One Book One State for 2016, the release notes. Among his many accolades, the release continues, MacDonald was named a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America in 1962, and he won a National Book Award in 1980.

The Jan. 22 kickoff event will feature a number of special guests, the release says:

  • John Jakes, New York Times best-selling author and “acknowledged contemporary master of the family saga,” the release notes. His books include the eight-volume Kent Family Chronicles and The North and South Trilogy.
  • James W. Hall, 14 of whose 19 novels — including his most recent, The Big Finish — “feature a hardcore loner named Thorn, who makes a meager living in Key Largo tying bonefish flies. Thorn thwarts animal smugglers, cruise ship hijackers, and other assorted villains,” the release notes.
  • Don Bruns, five of whose 12 novels are part of his Caribbean series featuring protagonist Mick Sever, “who explores the seamy side of the music business, flipping the industry on its back and looking at the underbelly of power and corruption,” the release adds.
  • Cal Branche, a John D. MacDonald scholar for 30 years and creator of

More detailed programming information is posted on the website at

For more information, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 861-5000 or visit