"Fred Venturini’s visit to Writers Week at

Hazelwood West was one of the highlights of our

event! Fred is an engaging, energetic presenter

who immediately connected with the audience of

400+ teenagers at 7:25 am…that’s no easy feat!

Through sharing stories of his life experiences and

the path he has travelled in becoming a published

author, Fred inspired our students and touched on

life lessons that will help them whether they’re

aspiring writers or not."– Doug Jameson, Teacher & Writer's Week Organizer at Hazelwood West, Missouri. 

"Hearing Fred speak was very inspirational to me,

because he has been through so much pain in his life that

could have halted his dreams, yet didn’t... One thing he said

that stuck out to me was 'What is a roller coaster if it

doesn’t dip down every once in a while' it really made me

just acknowledge the bad times because they ultimately

help us to appreciate the good times all the more. He also

said 'Process over results' which is really good advice

because I often get stressed out about life, when in reality

I just need to focus on the process and take it one day at a

time." -Chyna Blissett, Student

"Seeing Fred Venturini was really great. He was very interesting to learn from and to hear him talk about how important the process and finishing work, even though you may not like it,

really is. His stories about his life and becoming a writer were truly inspirational . . as an aspiring writer, I really connected with him when he answered a question about someone not

wanting to continue with a piece and he answered simply by saying 'Finish it, no matter what finish it.'" -Luke Schumacher, Student

Hear Fred's Story in His Own Words

Interview on KATU ABC2 discussing his personal story and his acclaimed novel The Heart Does Not Grow Back. 

Fred discussing why he wrote The Escape of Light. 

"For every book sold, I am honored to pledge a donation to Phoenix Society and Stomp Out Bullying."

Fred Venturini

Wilder Tate just wants a normal life with a normal face.

Burns have disfigured him, his father has passed away, and his

mother now works so many jobs, he feels like he's living alone.

He expects more of that same loneliness as he starts at a new

high school, but Wilder surprises even himself as he finds a new

best friend, discovers a knack for basketball, and catches the eye

of the coolest girl in school. All the cruelty and bullying seems

reserved for the enigmatic Lane McKenzie, and Wilder is all too

happy to let her take the heat.

But sometimes Wilder is his own worst enemy, and his scars run

far deeper than just physical damage. He's haunted by a secret he

thinks he can erase with a bold and risky plan to fix his

disfigurement for good--a plan that may cost him far more than

he ever imagined . . .

Filled with twists, heart, and humor, The Escape of Light is a bold

and unexpected story of resilience, love, and basketball from the

acclaimed author of The Heart Does Not Grow Back.

Fred Venturini has eleven scars from eleven separate

incidents, the most interesting of which is the time he was

set on fire.

For the others, just ask. His short fiction has been featured

in the Booked. Anthology and Chuck Palahniuk's Burnt Tongues anthology. He is the acclaimed author of The Heart Does Not Grow Back and The Escape of Light.

On the basketball court, he is a three-point specialist and defensive liability. 

He lives in Southern Illinois with his wife and daughter. 

Email him personally at venterminator@gmail.com


Author Fred Venturini


"Full of surprises . . . a stunning read for a wide audience."―Kirkus

“Intriguing, intense, and― dare I say it―visceral. Keep your eye on this guy. He's going to cause trouble.” ― Isaac Marion, author of Warm Bodies

“Fred Venturini is an awesomely talented writer, and he proves it on every page . . . ”― Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff and The Devil All the Time

"Venturini's latest novel blends the star-crossed love story of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS with the rousing finale of the best ROCKY movies as he triumphantly mirrors his own incredible life story, using it as a launchpad to weave a tale about the the love and hope just waiting to be discovered within the dark, raw realities of modern teenage life―THE ESCAPE OF LIGHT is a compulsively-readable marvel that demands to be read in one sitting, preferably with a box of tissues close at hand." 
 ― Dan Loflin, screenwriter, CW's Supernatural

“No one captures the life of a teenager in small-town America with as much empathy, humor, and complexity as Fred Venturini. In burn victim Wilder Tate, readers will discover a kid with a blunt and piercing resilience about loneliness and pain, and has the valor needed to fight through a daily life of disappointment and suffering. The Escape of Light contains the powerful voices of grief told through the eyes of a young man filled, against all odds, with hope.”
Michael Nye, author of All The Castles Burned

“Smart and tough and willing to look death in the eyes . . . this books comes from a real place– that’s what hits you right away, and that’s what matters to young adults most of all.” – Josh Woods, author of The Black Palace

"If you couldn't tear yourself away from The Fault in Our Stars, open your heart, slap on a basketball jersey and lose yourself in The Escape of Light.”– Taylor Zajonc, author of The Maw

Media/Speaking Inquiries:

Kathleen Timberlake

Marketing Director, Turner Publishing


Fred Venturini



Copyright 2019 by Fred Venturini