FORT LAUDERDALE — Award-winning journalist and talk show host Tavis Smiley will discuss and sign his latest book, My Journey with Maya Angelou at this year’s South Florida Book Festival Friday and Saturday at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center (AARLCC).

The festival will also feature a collection of New York Times bestselling authors, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, an Oprah Winfrey Book Club selection author.  It kicks off Friday evening with a glamorous “Evening with the Stars” and book-signing event where guests can enjoy meeting the authors at a dressed-up affair complete with food, wine and an autographed book of their choosing. The event is $25 in advance or $30 at the door at the AARLCC, 2650 Sistrunk Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale.

Tavis-Smiley-to-appear-at-South-Florida-Book-FestivalSmiley, a popular figure on NPR and current host of Tavis Smiley on the Public Broadcasting Service and The Tavis Smiley Show on Public Radio International recently spoke with the South Florida Times about attending the festival.

Smiley’s book, My Journey with Maya Angelou, details his 28-year friendship with the renowned writer.  He met her while an intern for former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, the only Africa- American mayor of the city.  He presented an award to her on behalf of Bradley.  He was already a fan because he’d studied her work while in college.

“She was a surrogate mother to me,” Smiley said. “It is a mother and son story.”

The book begins with Smiley trying to find his path in life, he said.  As a young man in his 20s, Maya took him on his first trip out of the country to Africa with others for two weeks.

“She helped me to become a man and find my voice,” Smiley said.  “She placed me under her wing and