2015 AViD logo

2015 AViD Author Series

Making a Mark in Des Moines for 15 Years!

The Des Moines Public Library presents the 2015 AViD (Authors Visiting in Des Moines). All programs are free and open to the public. Seating is first-come, first-served. Books will be available for purchase and signing at each event.

John Stauffer
Tuesday, June 23, 7:00 PM
Central Library
1000 Grand Avenue

Stauffer, a Des Moines native, is the author or editor of fifteen books and more than 100 articles, including two that have been national bestsellers: GIANTS: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln and State of Jones, co-authored with Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins, soon to be a major motion picture directed by Gary Ross. His most recent book, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, co-authored with Benjamin Soskis, was a Lincoln Prize finalist. His essays and reviews on history, culture, and art have appeared in Time, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, and Huffington Post and he has appeared on national radio and television shows, including the Diane Rehm Show and Book TV with Susan Swain. He has appeared on national radio and television shows and has lectured widely throughout the United States and Europe.

Steve Berry
Saturday, April 11th at 2:00
Central Library, 1000 Grand Avenue

The Patriot Threat

History lies at the heart of every Steve Berry novel, and his newest book, The Patriot Threat, is no exception.  With appearances by Franklin Roosevelt, Andrew Mellon, a curious painting that still hangs in the National Gallery of Art, and some eye-opening revelations from the one dollar bill, his newest story poses a dangerous question: What if the Federal income tax is illegal? When Berry’s popular character, Cotton Malone, is asked to track a rogue North Korean who may have acquired some top secret Treasury Department files, he is vaulted into a harrowing twenty-four hour chase that begins on the canals in Venice and ends in the remote highlands of Croatia.

Berry is the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of fourteen books.  They have been translated into forty languages with seventeen million copies in fifty-one countries and consistently appear in the top echelon of The New York TimesUSA Today, and Indie bestseller lists.  Berry was born and raised in Georgia, graduating from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University.  He is a founding member of International Thriller Writers, a group of more than 2,500 thriller writers from around the world.  He and his wife Elizabeth live in St. Augustine, Florida.

Rebecca Skloot
Held Wednesday, April 1, 7:00 PM
Hoyt Sherman Place Theater
1501 Woodland Avenue

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Rebecca Skloot is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.  Skloot’s debut book, took more than a decade to research and write, and instantly hit the New York Times best-seller list, where it remained for more than four years. The book was chosen as a best book of 2010 by more than sixty media outlets, including Entertainment WeeklyUSA Today, O the Oprah Magazine, Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, People Magazine, New York Times, and U.S. News and World Report; it was named The Best Book of 2010 and one of the 100 Books to Read In a Lifetime by Amazon.com, and a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick.

The Immortal Life has been translated into more than twenty-five languages. It is also being made into an HBO movie produced by Oprah Winfrey and Alan Ball. Skloot is the founder and president of The Henrietta Lacks Foundation, which has been featured in the New York Times. Skloot lives in Chicago, where she is currently working on a new book about humans, animals, science, and ethics, a topic near and dear to her.

Bill Cotton
Tuesday, April 7, 7:00 PM
Central Library
1000 Grand Avenue

Iowa Roots Vol. 1:  Ruminations Upon a Unique land, Uncommon People

When Texas native Bill Cotton came to Iowa more than fifty years ago he never anticipated falling so deeply in love with the Hawkeye state and its people. Iowa Roots follows Cotton’s journey through Iowa as a United Methodist Minister and all the people he meets along the way.

Cotton learns the unique stories of people that make Iowa special and realizes just how remarkable the Midwest can be. From political activists to progressive farmers and everyone in between, Iowa is home to many uncommon people with stories of perseverance and hope that we can all learn from.  Iowa’s landscape has also captured Bill’s heart and he shares the hustle and bustle of the city, the charm of small towns, and the beautiful escape of nature all in one place.   Cotton’s first book, A Madison County Journal, is a personal reflection of his seasons of grace in Iowa. He and his wife, Jan Hill, live in Des Moines.

Robin Oliveira
Monday, April 20, 7:00 PM
Central Library
1000 Grand Avenue

My Name is Mary Sutter

Selected as the 2015 All Iowa Reads title, this stunning historical novel features Mary Sutter, a brilliant, headstrong midwife from Albany, New York, who dreams of becoming a surgeon. Determined to overcome the prejudices against women in medicine— and eager to run away from her recent heartbreak—Mary leaves home and travels to Washington, D.C. to help tend the legions of Civil War wounded. Under the guidance of William Stipp and James Blevens, Mary pursues her medical career in the desperately overwhelmed hospitals of the capital.

Robin Oliveira grew up just outside Albany, New York. She holds a B.A. in Russian, and studied at the Pushkin Language Institute in Moscow, Russia. She worked for many years as a Registered Nurse, specializing in Critical Care and Bone Marrow Transplant. In 2006 Robin received an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. In 2007 she was awarded the James Jones First Novel Fellowship. The book also received the 2011 Michael Shaara Prize for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the 2010 American Historical Fiction Honorable Mention from the Langum Charitable Trust. Oliveira’s second novel, I Always Loved You, was published in 2014 and is now available in paperback.  She lives near Seattle, WA with her husband, Andrew Oliveira.

Jon Katz
Monday, May 4, 7:00 PM
Sheslow Auditorium
2507 University Avenue

Saving Simon

Although best known for his endearing books about dogs, Jon Katz’s newest book is a heartfelt, thoughtful, and inspiring memoir about his beloved rescue donkey, Simon, and the wondrous ways that animals make us wiser and kinder people.  Katz tells the story of rescuing the neglected donkey, whose recovery was far from easy.  But during the healing process, Simon revealed to Jon the true meaning of compassion, the ways in which it can transform our lives, and how it can inspire us to take great risks.

Katz's other books, providing insight to his relationships with dogs, include titles, A Second Chance Dog, Dancing Dogs, Rose in a Storm, and Izzy & Lenore.   He has written on topics such as geek subculture and the controversy surrounding New York Carriage Horses.   He also penned a successful series of mystery novels centered on a former Wall Street financier turned private investigator. Katz initially worked as a reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Boston Globe and The Washington Post, and later on CBS Morning News. He and his wife Maria live on Bedlam Farm, located in Cambridge, New York.

Marisa de los Santos
7:00 PM, Tuesday, May 19
Central Library
1000 Grand Avenue

The Precious One

Marisa de los Santos will visit Des Moines on book tour for her captivating new novel, The Precious One, a story of friendship, family, second chances, and the redemptive power of love.  Told in alternating voices, the book is an unforgettable novel of family secrets, lost love, and dangerous obsession, a captivating tale with the deep characterization, piercing emotional resonance, and heartfelt insight that are the hallmarks of Marisa de los Santos’s beloved works.

Marisa de los Santos has published three New York Times bestselling novels for adults, including Love Walked In and Belong to Me.  Her husband, David Teague, is the author of the picture books Franklin's Big Dreams and Billy Hightower. Saving Lucas Biggs was their first joint venture. Married for over twenty years, Marisa and David live with their two children, Charles and Annabel, and their Yorkies, Finn and Huxley, in Wilmington, Delaware.

The AViD Author Series is sponsored by the Des Moines Public Library Foundation with support from: 

AViD Acknowledgements

Des Moines University
Douglas and Deborah West
Downtown Events Group
Drake University
Ellen Hubbell
Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities
Wells Fargo
Cultivating Compassion: The Richard Deming Foundation
Principal Financial Group Foundation
Kelly & Brad Edmister
Rusty Hubbell

Catch your favorite AVID authors on the City of Des Moines YouTube channel youtube.com/cityofdesmoinesiowa or on Mediacom cable channel 7, 86 and 97-1 (still on three channels) on these dates and times.

  • Mondays and Fridays: 10:30 AM
  • Tuesdays and Saturdays 6:00 PM
  • Wednesdays and Sundays 8:00 PM

Past AViD Authors


AViD 2014 Authors

Dr. Terry Wahls
Neil Nakadate
New Adult Panel
David Haynes
Thomas Maltman
Dorothea Benton Frank
Beth Howard
Wally Lamb
Billy Collins

AViD 2013 Authors

Mitch Albom
Mary Jane Clark [watch on youtube]
Ayana Mathis [watch on youtube]
Michael Perry [watch on youtube]
Cheryl Strayed [watch on youtube]
Amy Tan
Karen Thompson Walker [watch on youtube]

Checkout the AViD 2013 DVDs >

AViD 2012 Authors

Larry Baker [watch on youtube]
Steve Berry [watch on youtube]
Meg Cabot [watch on youtube]
Wil Haygood [watch on youtube]
Tracy Kidder
Erik Larson

Checkout the AViD 2012 DVDs >

AViD 2011 Authors

Dr. Benjamin Beck, Dr. Robert Shumaker, and Dr. Kristina R. Walkup
Patrick J. Carr [watch on youtube]
Conor Grennan
Anne Lamott
Debbie Macomber [watch on youtube]
Robert V. Morris
Rainbow Rowell [watch on youtube]

Checkout the AViD 2011 DVDs >

AViD 2010 Authors

Peter Bognanni [watch on youtube]
Claire Cook
Ivan Doig
Camille Dungy [watch on youtube]
Sara Gruen [watch on youtube]
James Grippando
Peter Hedges
Carolyn Jessop [watch on youtube]
David Lipsky [watch on youtube]
Nick Reding [watch on youtube]
Gail Sheehy

Checkout the AViD 2010 DVDs >

AViD 2009 Authors

Elizabeth Berg [watch on youtube]
Steven Biel
Lawrence Block
Carrie Brown
David Ebershoff [watch on youtube]
Jane Hamilton [watch on youtube]
Marion Blumenthal Lazan [watch on youtube]
Lisa See
William Taubman
Omar Tyree

Checkout the AViD 2009 DVDs >

AViD 2008 Authors

George Guidall [watch on youtube]
Joanne Harris [watch on youtube]
Mildred Kalish [watch on youtube]

Laura Lippman [watch on youtube]
Alexander McCall Smith
Paul Shirley [watch on youtube]

Checkout the AViD 2008 DVDs >

AViD 2007 Authors

Jim Autry
Shirley Damsgaard
Bill Geist
Nikki Giovanni
Masha Hamilton
Chip Kidd
Erik Larson
Greg Mortenson
Mary Doria Russell

Checkout the AViD 2007 DVDs >

AViD 2006 Authors

Maureen Corrigan
Diane Mott Davidson
Mark Doty
Janet Evanovich
Michael Gartner
David Laskin
Barbara Robinette Moss
Molly Peacock
James Tate

Checkout the AViD 2006 DVDs >

AViD 2005 Authors

Elizabeth Berg
Dayton Duncan
Don Harstad
Peter Hedges
Cokie Roberts
Luis J. Rodriguez

Checkout the AViD 2005 DVDs >

AViD 2004 Authors

Rick Bragg
Ruth Irene Garrett
Philip Margolin
Dow Mossman and Mark Moskowitz
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Juan Williams

Checkout the AViD 2004 DVDs >

AViD 2003 Authors

Chris Bohjalian
Nancy Carlson
Max Allan Collins
Tom Hallman
J.A. Jance
Jacquelyn Mitchard

Checkout the AViD 2003 DVDs >

AViD 2002 Authors

Stephen Bloom
Tom Bodett
Donald Kaul
Tinker Marks
Lisa Scottoline
Eleanora Tate

Checkout the AViD 2002 DVDs >

AViD 2001 Authors

Bill Bryson
Donald Harstad
Barbara Robinette Moss