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Popular authors Garth Stein and Robert D. San Souci visit Batavia

By Daniel Crofts

How often does this happen? Batavia got a visit from two acclaimed authors last week -- two days in a row!

The first was Garth Stein, author of the 2010 Tale for Three Counties committee pick, "The Art of Racing in the Rain." At the committee's invitation, Stein came to speak to readers and sign autographs at the Richmond Memorial Library on Thursday night.

This latest work is Stein's third novel and it's about a Seattle family as told by none other than -- Enzo, the family dog.

Stein's book had the honor of a 38-week streak on the New York Times bestseller list, won several awards and honors, and has been translated into 31 languages. Stein recently signed a film deal with Universal Studios and hopes to see the book made into a movie in the near future.

The second author was award-winning children's writer Robert D. San Souci, who came to speak to the children and sign autographs at John Kennedy Elementary School Friday afternoon.

San Souci's works include "The Talking Eggs," "Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella," the "Dare to be Scared" series and "The Legend of Scarface." He also wrote the story for the 1998 Disney film "Mulan." His visit to JK was arranged by Donna Katter, program assistant for Genesee Valley BOCES' School Library System.

Whether you were in the almost-over-crowded reading room at RML or sitting in the school cafeteria as hand after hand after hand shot up from the crowd of fifth-graders during the Q&A session, you would have gotten a good idea of just how much people still appreciate their writers.

Both authors read portions of their books and shared funny anecdotes from their lives and careers, including the setbacks they have faced while trying to get their work published.

Stein, for example, talked about having gone from one agent to another before he finally found someone who wanted to take a chance on a book narrated by a dog.

San Souci -- who realized he was destined to become a writer in second grade -- said that he wrote persistently for many years, facing a long string of what he called "thanks, but no thanks" letters from publishers.

Both men were kind enough to share some of their thoughts, insights and comments with The Batavian after signing autographs -- at RML and the JK Media Center, respectively.

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