Representatives of the Tucson Festival of Books will present a $200,000 check today to the University of Arizona and two other literacy organizations at an international celebration of literacy.

In addition to the UA, the Tucson Festival of Books check is going to Literacy Connect Coalition and Reading Seed Children's Literacy Program for work in supporting literacy services in the community, said Kathy Short, a UA College of Education professor.

During the celebration at the UA College of Education, Finland's ambassador to the United States, Ritva Koukka-Ronde, will award a Finnish language and culture book kit to Worlds of Words, a collection of international children's and adolescent literature.

Worlds of Words is a collection of 30,000 books used for teaching and research by UA students and scholars. The UA also uses the collection for community and school workshops, said Short, who also is director of Worlds of Words.

Since 2009, the Tucson Festival of Books has contributed $700,000 to organizations dedicated to improving literacy efforts in the Tucson community.

"Giving back to promote literacy is the real success of the festival, said Bill Viner, chief executive officer of Pepper Viner Homes and one of the festival's founders, in a news release.

"Literacy is the foundation of building a strong, vibrant community, and the Tucson Festival of Books is proud to play a role in ensuring vital literacy programs are available," Viner said.

The fifth annual Tucson Festival of Books is set for March 9-10 on the UA campus. The event has grown to become the fourth largest event of its kind in the country, organizers said.

The 2012 festival drew 120,000 people and featured more than 450 authors, illustrators, agents and other presenters. The event is sponsored by the Arizona Daily Star and the UA. It is presented by University of Arizona Medical Center.

For more information on the Tucson Festival of Books and its beneficiaries, go to

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at 573-4104 or