Jim Stovall was the motivational speaker at my first Library Book Fair ever. The event was held at the Hardesty Regional Library in Tulsa on Saturday, Sept. 13. 2014. I didn’t have the slightest idea who Jim Stovall was or why I should be really happy he was speaking at an event. Shame on me.
I had no idea Jim Stovall was blind or that after losing his sight he went on to become:
- An International Humanitarian of the Year
- A National Olympic weightlifting champion
- An Emmy Award winner
- The Founder and President of the Narrative Television Network
- One of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans awarded by the U.S. Jaycees
- A National Entrepreneur of the Year
- A recipient of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce National Blue Chip Enterprise Award
- A world-renowned author and speaker
- The author of, The Ultimate Gift. Best seller and now a 20th Century Fox major motion picture
It takes me—and most authors—from six months to a few years to finish a book. Jim Stovall has managed to write fifteen best sellers including two that were made into major motion pictures by dictating them. At his Hardesty lecture he said The Ultimate Gift was dictated in five days start to finish and sent off to the publisher with no edits. This book was then made into a movie staring James Garner (another Oklahoman everybody should know about) and Abigail Breslin.
For his work in making television accessible to our nation’s 13 million blind and visually impaired people, The President’s Committee on Equal Opportunity selected Jim Stovall as the Entrepreneur of the Year. He was also chosen as the International Humanitarian of the Year, joining Jimmy Carter, Nancy Reagan, and Mother Teresa as
recipients of this honor. Steve Forbes, president and CEO of Forbes magazine, said, “Jim Stovall is one of the most extraordinary men of our era.”
Aside from having one of the greatest speakers ever, the book fair went pretty well. Forty authors—including me and Jim Stovall—were there signing and selling books. It’s safe to say he sold more than I did (probably more than everyone else combined) but commerce was brisk all around, exposure was good, and everybody went away smiling.
Karen Marie Graham, author of Promises You Keep, and children’s book, Thank You God for Everything, did an excellent job of organizing the book fair. When she isn’t writing or organizing events, Karen is the driving force behind the Oklahoma publishing company, Books-A-Daisy.
In the quiet moments between events, entertainment was provided by the outstanding jazz guitarist Sean Al-Jibouri.