The Savannah Book Festival brings in some of the best authors from around the country, and sometimes it brings hometown writers back to their roots. David DiBenedetto - he said he likes to be called Dave - is one of those hometown writers coming to the festival.
DiBenedetto, editor in chief of the award-winning Southern lifestyle magazine Garden & Gun, grew up on Wilmington Island and his parents still live here.
He is a graduate of Savannah Country Day School and went on to study journalism and landed writing gigs at prestigious magazines like Men's Journal, Field & Stream and Salt Water Sportsman.
DiBenedetto will be in Savannah for the book festival's main day on Feb. 15 to talk about Garden & Gun's newest book, "The Southerner's Handbook," which he was responsible for editing, as well as writing the introduction.
"The Southerner's Handbook" is a compilation of stories, essays and tips from the editors and contributors of the popular Garden & Gun magazine based in Charleston. The book serves as a guidebook of essential skills and crafts a Southerner should master.
"The book has really surprised everyone with how well it's done," he said. "It hit The New York Times bestseller list for two weeks. It also made the USA Today bestseller list and we are on our fifth printing."
The book was released at the end of October and DiBenedetto said the staff at Garden & Gun magazine has now turned their attention to a second book, a collection of their "Good Dog" essays that run in the magazine. That book will be released at the end of October.
"A lot of the stories are what have run and 30-40 percent of the material is new," DiBenedetto said. "... The 'Good Dog' essays are something our readers are always asking about."
Following that book is a Garden & Gun cookbook scheduled for release in fall 2015.
DiBenedetto said he has done a lot of book signings in the past with the "The Southerner's Handbook" and his first published book, the non-fiction road trip account "On the Run: An Angler's Journey down the Striper Coast" (2003), but this will be his first book festival.
And what better way to start off the book festival circuit than in his hometown.
"I haven't been to the Savannah Book Festival before, but I certainly heard about it at Garden & Gun, and it's amazing to see the growth and the caliber of writers ... I'm excited to join the club."
DiBenedetto said he plans to speak at 9 a.m. Feb. 15, the festival's main day, at the Telfair Rotunda.
"I'm going to kind of cover a little of my history of writing for magazines, and talking about Garden & Gun and its success and what I think has made its success happen, and how that success translates to the book," he said. "I will certainly touch on Savannah and how it shaped my own career.
"It will be fun to see my family, old friends, old coaches and the like."
But DiBenedetto's demanding schedule as editor in chief of a major magazine won't allow for him to spend as much time in his hometown as he wished.
"I'm zooming in and zooming out," he said. "After the reading, I was hoping to end up at Pinkie Master's for drinks and I heard of some cool restaurants I wanted to try out, but I probably won't have time.
"Or should I say, we'll see what happens," he said with a laugh.