Southern Festival of Books Announces 2024 Dates

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photo courtesy of Southern Festival of Books

The 36th annual Southern Festival of Books will return to Bicentennial Mall, Tennessee State Museum, and Tennessee State Library and Archives on October 26-27, 2024, announced festival producer Humanities Tennessee today.

The time-honored annual event, which will feature appearances by more than 175 authors, will be open to the public on Saturday, October 26, and Sunday, October 27, for panel sessions, discussions, and readings from a wide variety of genres including fiction and nonfiction, young adult literature, poetry, science fiction, and mystery. The full author lineup will be announced at the Author Reveal Party on July 18 at Tennessee State Museum.

“We were thrilled with the community’s positive response last year to our move to Bicentennial Mall, Tennessee State Museum, and Tennessee State Library and Archives,” said Tim Henderson, Executive Director of Humanities Tennessee. “We’re happy to share with festivalgoers that we will return to this incredible site and make adjustments based on their feedback, so the event will be an even better experience for all. We’re also working on new ideas and partnerships to make sure the event offers something for everyone – families, readers, writers, and Tennesseans of all backgrounds.”

The festivities will officially kick off on Thursday, October 24, with two special events. During the day, the popular Student Reader Day will return, welcoming hundreds of students from Metro Nashville Public Schools to engage in lively discussion with acclaimed authors, including free books for all participants. Award-winning and New York Times bestselling young adult author Renee Watson is slated to appear, along with other yet-to-be announced authors. On the evening of October 24, bestselling author Erik Larson will appear at a special ticketed event with Parnassus Books.

On Friday, October 25, in response to popular demand, Humanities Tennessee will again partner with The Porch Writer’s Collective to offer four writing workshops. Writer and NPR music critic Ann Powers and author and writing teacher Justin Taylor will be among those leading the workshops. More details will be announced in the coming months.

The beloved Authors in the Round Dinner, co-chaired by Allison Stansberry of HCA, will be held on Friday, October 25, at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Authors in the Round, which allows guests to dine alongside 40 regionally and nationally known authors, is the festival’s signature fundraiser, ensuring that Humanities Tennessee can present the annual festival free of charge.

“Authors in the Round is one of Nashville’s most fun, unique, and fascinating events,” says Co-Chair Allison Stansberry. “It is a book lover’s dream, and I am so honored to co-chair this year’s festivities. Not only does Authors in the Round raise critical funds for the Southern Festival of Books, but it also brings together one of the most dynamic groups of authors, writers, readers, and community leaders for a night of thoughtful discussion. It’s the ultimate book club, and I can’t wait to welcome first-time and returning attendees to this amazing event.”

Featured festival books will be available for purchase and can be signed by authors throughout the weekend. Parnassus Books is the festival bookseller. The festival is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Metro Nashville Arts Commission, Tennessee Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others. Sponsorship opportunities are available by contacting Sandy Obodzinski at [email protected].

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