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Fest for Beatles Fans hosts record-breaking author's forum

By Jude Southerland Kessler, author of
Shoulda Been There and Shivering Inside

Mark and Carol Lapidos' 37th Annual Fest for Beatles Fans at the New Jersey Crowne Plaza in the Meadowlands (near New York City) is in full swing. The Friday night festivities featured the largest Author's Forum in the Fest's long and respected history.

Eleven distinguished writers and researchers took the Main Stage for an hour-long event, talking about their varied, scholarly projects; they represented ever y facet of journalism, from personal memoirs to Beatles memorabilia catalogues.

Host Emcee, Martin Lewis, welcomed Susan Ryan, Judith Kristen, David Bedford, John Borack, Ken Womack, Larry Marion, Ron Grelsamer, Richard Courtney and George Cassidy, Bruce Spizer, and Jude Southerland Kessler - all of whom have recently published or are soon releasing books on The Fab Four.

Beatles authors Richard Courtney, John Borack,
Jude Southerland Kessler, Ken Womack and Judith Kristen

Ryan, who runs the "Rooftop Sessions" Fan Fiction Website, encouraged writers who want to write "fan fiction of superior quality" to turn in their selections for the upcoming edition. She also talked about her John Lennon Walking Tours of New York "now that spring is just around the corner" and the city is in bloom. This weekend, Ryan will be taking reservations for couples or group tours to see the New York sites frequented by Lennon during his years there.

Judith Kristen's lively and hilarious account of her "moment" with George Harrison - A Date With A Beatle - sold so well in 2010 that she is back at the Fest with a revised edition. This time the cover of her page-turner has been designed by talented Dallas Beatles artist, Eric Cash.

Scouser David Bedford has "crossed the pond" to do a fascinating AV presentation about his hometown, Liverpool, England, and to premiere his gorgeous and informative hardback book, Liddypool. The volume takes the reader on a tour of "the home of The Beatles" in pictures and informative text. Bedford is also hard at work on an exciting new project (to be discussed in an exclusive interview for BeatlesNews tomorrow).

California native, John Borack, has come to New York to display his Lennon memorabilia and memories book, John Lennon: Life is What Happens. Borack is working on a new book of a similar nature about Paul McCartney...a volume that combines quotes from Beatles friends and experts with rare photos of collectible items and a concise biography of the stars.

Larry Marion has come to the Fest to unveil his new book, The Beatles Lost Photographs: The Bob Bonis Archive. These never-before-seen photos of John, Paul, George, and Ringo (taken by Beatles Tour Manager from 1964-1966, Bob Bonis) have been compiled into a stunning hardback book which Marion is debuting and discussing.

Believing that valuable life and business lessons may be gleaned from studying The Beatles, Richard Courtney and George Cassidy are in New Jersey to offer CEO's and aspiring CEO's their thoughtful work, Come Together: The Business Wisdom of The Beatles. This book examines every aspect of The Beatles unparalleled success and suggests ways in which managers and businesspersons can employ The Beatles' tactics in their work plans.

An orthopedic surgeon by day, Ron Grelsamer, is a first-time guest at The Fest with his new work of historical fiction, Into The Sky With Diamonds. The novel combines two outstanding developments of the 1960's: the progress of the space program and the overwhelming success of The Beatles. Grelsamer believes that these two key elements of the era have much more in common than one would imagine, and his novel explores that thesis.

Long-time Fest participant and Beatles authority, Bruce Spizer, is giving Fest-goers a sneak peek at his new book - due out this summer - Beatles for Sale on Parlophone Records. Spizer, who is the foremost source for information about Beatles recordings (and who penned the Beatles Trivia questions) has covered every other label on which The Beatles recorded. Now, he turns his attention to the "purists'" choice for recordings, the one label on which Beatles songs were placed in the poetic order that the Beatles selected: Parlophone. Spizer is giving presentations in the main ballroom on Saturday and Sunday.

Jude Kessler discussing her new book with fans

Finally, I, Jude Kessler, am giving readings throughout the weekend from the second volume in her Lennon Series. Shivering Inside, which covers the Fab Four's rise to British fame (1961-April 1963), traces the addition of Ringo to the band, the "Love Me Do" and "Please Please Me" LP recordings, the wedding of John and Cynthia, the Beatles package tours with Helen Shapiro and Montez/Roe, the birth of Julian, and the whirlwind that swept The Beatles to English fame.

For those who love photographs, art, reading, and research...or who just love The Beatles, The 37th Annual Fest for Beatles Fans is truly "The Place" to be. Throughout the weekend, these writers will be offering Power Point presentations, Question-and-Answer Sessions, lively debates, and discussions for fans. For more information, call 1-800-TheFEST or go to


Published March 26, 2011

This article is Copyright © 2011, The Author, and may not be reproduced on other web sites or in print, in whole or in part, without expressed permission

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