Today Humanities Tennessee announced a lineup of award-winning, bestselling authors to headline the twenty-ninth annual Southern Festival of Books, which will take place in Nashville October 13-15. The roster includes such notables as Jami Attenberg, Ann Beattie, Chris Bohjalian, Wiley Cash, Clyde Edgerton, Jennifer Egan, Jonathan Eig, Radney Foster, Andy Hardin, Rodney Jones, Nicole Krauss, Peter Cooper, Ron Rash, and Ben Winters.
The Southern Festival of Books is a free annual event that attracts 25,000 attendees to meet their favorite authors, become familiar with talented new writers, and engage other followers of great literature. The festival has become one of the most popular literary events in the country as guests travel to Nashville to encounter a huge range of authors and their books, along with food and entertainment for the whole family.
Marquee activities for the 2017 Southern Festival of Books include a wide range of authors and book-related events:
• Pulitzer Prize winners Jennifer Egan (Manhattan Beach: A Novel) and Rodney Jones (Village Prodigies), who will showcase highly-anticipated works of new fiction and poetry.
• New York Times-bestselling authors Jami Attenberg (All Grown Up); Chris Bohjalian (The Sleepwalker), whose novel Midwives was also a selection of Oprah’s Book Club; Wiley Cash (The Last Ballad); and Ron Rash (The Risen)
• New fiction from Ben Winters (Underground Airlines) and National Book Award finalist Nicole Krauss (Forest Dark).
• Short stories from Ann Beattie, who will introduce the Library of America’s new collection, Peter Taylor: Complete Stories, which she edited, followed by a discussion on her own new collection, The Accomplished Guest: Stories; and Grand Ole Opry regular Radney Foster (For You to See the Stars).
• A reading and Q&A session with Clyde Edgerton in celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of his classic novels Raney and The Floatplane Notebooks.
• Former Wall Street Journal reporter Jonathan Eig, whose biography Ali: A Life chronicles the transformation of Muhammed Ali, one of America’s most compelling and polarizing figures.
• Celebrated children’s and young-adult authors Sarah Dessen (Once and For All), Stephanie Perkins (There’s Someone Inside Your House), and author and illustrator Judy Schachner (Sarabella’s Thinking Cap).
• Readings by many local authors, including former Tennessean music columnist Peter Cooper (Johnny’s Cash and Charley’s Pride: Lasting Legends and Untold Adventures in Country Music) and 2016 Nashville Youth Poet Laureate Cassidy Martin (Green).
For a full lineup of festival authors, click here.
This year Humanities Tennessee will partner with Watkins College of Art, one of the foremost art and design colleges in the nation, to merge the Handmade & Bound Festival into the Southern Festival of Books footprint. Handmade & Bound is a festival that celebrates independent publications and printed matter, featuring artists’ books, zines, mini-comics, and book arts. This year Watkins will hold its seventh annual festival in conjunction with the Southern Festival of Books, offering craft sales, hands-on demonstrations, and a community project.
“This is a natural partnership for the Southern Festival of Books and Humanities Tennessee,” said Tim Henderson, Executive Director of Humanities Tennessee. “The Handmade & Bound Festival is a well-established literary and cultural event in Nashville, and it makes perfect sense to hold our two events jointly. We think this will only enhance the festival experience.”
“Handmade and Bound celebrates the art of the book, and we think there is no better place to acknowledge the partnership of story and design than with this wonderful community of book lovers,” said Maggie Fansher, Director of Community Education for Watkins.
In addition to readings, panel discussions, and book-signings, many authors will join Humanities Tennessee supporters at the annual fundraising dinner on October 13: Authors in the Round offers festival patrons an evening of dining and conversation with festival authors.
The festival also features three performance stages. A music stage focuses on the incredible talent of the Nashville music community, and the performing-arts stage offers theater, spoken word and poetry throughout the weekend. The children’s stage showcases authors, musicians, performers, crafts, character costumes, and parties celebrating beloved children’s books.
More than sixty publishers, booksellers, and nonprofit organizations will also have booths at the event, and Parnassus Books will serve as the onsite bookseller.
The Southern Festival of Books is presented by Humanities Tennessee, a nonprofit organization that promotes humanities education across the state. The festival is sponsored by the National Endowment for Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, Tennessee Arts Commission, Nashville Public Library, Ingram Content Group, The Memorial Foundation, Dollar General Literacy Foundation, Middle Tennessee State University, Parnassus Books, and the Nashville Scene.