Carrie Fisher to headline Jewish Book Festival

Carrie Fisher

Award-winning actress and best-selling author Carrie Fisher will serves as keynote speaker for the 2012 St. Louis Jewish Book Festival, organizers announced late Thursday.

Fisher will open the 34th annual festival at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4 in a live, on-stage interview with KMOX radio’s Charles Brennan.

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The daughter of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, Fisher made her feature film debut opposite Warren Beatty in the 1975 hit “Shampoo,” and became a cultural icon when she portrayed Princess Leia in the original “Star Wars” trilogy. Her movie career includes roles in countless films such as “The Blues Brothers,” “Hannah and Her Sisters,” and “When Harry Met Sally.”

Fisher’s first book, “Postcards from the Edge,” was a bestseller and netted her the Los Angeles Pen Award for Best First Novel. Four bestselling books followed: “Delusions of Grandma,” “Surrender the Pink,” “The Best Awful” and “Wishful Drinking.” Her latest book is entitled “Shockaholic.” 

Fisher turned “Postcards” into a screenplay for the hit film starring Shirley MacLaine and Meryl Streep, and is currently adapting “The Best Awful” for Lifetime and Sony Television. Her writing has also appeared in a variety of major publications, including Details, Harper’s Bazaar, the New York Times, Travel & Leisure, Vogue.

On TV, Fisher’s credits range from “Laverne and Shirley” to “Sex and the City,” with an Emmy nomination most recently for her appearance on the popular NBC comedy, “30 Rock.”

In 2009 and 2010, Fisher received a number of awards and nominations for “Wishful Drinking,” her sold-out, one-woman Broadway show, winning the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Solo Performance. Following the show’s close, in 2011, “Wishful Drinking” was made into an Emmy-nominated documentary by HBO.

Fisher’s dry wit and candid manner have endeared her to audiences. Her experiences with addiction and bipolar disorder — and her willingness to speak honestly and candidly about them — have made her a respected advocate for these communities. She has appeared on the California Senate floor, urging state legislators to increase government funding on medication for people living with mental health issues. For her continued commitment to fighting mental illness and associated stigmas, Fisher has received accolades, recognition and dozens of awards.

This year’s St. Louis Jewish Book Festival runs Nov. 4-15 with an added event on the evening of Sunday, Nov. 18. In addition to Fisher, other authors already scheduled to appear include Chef Giuliano Hazan, A.J. Jacobs, Nathan Englander, Rachelle Bergstein, Marc Elliot, Ellen Abramson and Chuck Korr. 

Series & Series PLUS Tickets for the festival go on sale in August. Individual author program tickets will be available in September. For more information on the festival, tickets and announcements of authors being added to the festival schedule, go to stljewishbookfestival.org or call the festival hotline at 314-442-3299. Updates also available on Facebook at facebook.com/saintlouisjewishbookfestival.

This year’s Festival co-chairs are Kitty Gross and Ann Spector.