Phoenix Celebrates 25th Book and Author

Literary Phoenix Event Hits the Quarter-Century Mark

Carol Kern’s “baby” turns 25 next year — and there’s plenty to celebrate.

The Book and Author event Kern initiated in 1991 for the Brandeis National Committee’s Phoenix chapter, when a couple of local authors discussed their work with about 150 attendees at a nearby hotel, has grown into a signature event. The gathering annually attracts big-name authors, generates crowds of nearly 1,000 people and raises more than $60,000 for Brandeis.

“It’s exciting to see what the Phoenix Book and Author has become,” says Kern, a onetime Brandeis trustee and former BNC national, region and chapter president. “It is our brand in this community.”

Authors Anita Diamant, Greg Iles and Chris Tomlinson are among the literary headliners for the silver anniversary event, scheduled for March 15-16, 2015, at the Phoenician Hotel in Scottsdale. Kern and Merrill Kalman are serving as event chairs, leading a team of nearly 100 volunteers.

When she became president of the Phoenix chapter after moving west from Westchester County, New York, Kern wanted to create a high-profile event that would attract new BNC members, create a buzz in the community, spread the Brandeis name and increase support for the university. The result was the Book and Author affair, modeled after the Los Angeles chapter’s successful Authors and Celebrities event.

“It’s more than just a nice day of entertainment,” Kern says. “We’re doing something important for a good cause — Brandeis.”

Through the years, dozens of big-name authors and celebrities have participated, including Steve Allen, David Baldacci, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Judy Collins, Larry King, Dennis Lehane, James Patterson and Jeffrey Toobin. Many Brandeisians — President Frederick Lawrence, Professor Anita Hill, Gary David Goldberg ’66, Sidney Blumenthal ’69 and Margaret Salinger ’82, among them — have also taken part.

“We all love working on this event,” says Sue Karp, a member of the BNC national executive committee and former national vice president, region president and Phoenix chapter president. “It gives us great pride to do this on behalf of Brandeis.”