At a party at the Brentwood Public Library tonight, Humanities Tennessee unveiled the lineup of bestselling and award-winning authors set to headline the twenty-sixth Southern Festival of Books, which will be held October 10-12, 2014, at Nashville’s Legislative Plaza and downtown library. The roster includes Ishmael Beah (The Radiance of Tomorrow), Pat Conroy (The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son), Jasper FForde (The Eye of Zoltar), Lev Grossman (The Magician’s Land), Christina Baker Kline (Orphan Train: A Novel), Nicholas Kristof (A Path Appears: Transforming Lives Creating Opportunity), Eric Litwin (The Nuts: Bedtime at the Nuthouse), Gary Shteyngart (Little Failure: A Memoir), and Lawrence Wright (Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin and Sadat at Camp David), among many others.
The Southern Festival of Books is a free, three-day celebration of the written word that attracts about 25,000 attendees to meet their favorite authors, as well as to be introduced to up-and-coming talented new writers. The festival is a fixture of fall in the South and has become one of the most popular regional literary events in the country. Festival guests travel to Nashville to experience the weekend’s abundance of authors, books, food, entertainment, and culture.
Highlights of the 2014 festival will include:
● Solo and panel presentations from bestselling and critically acclaimed novelists from across the country, including James Ellroy (Perfidia), Joshua Ferris (To Rise Again at a Decent Hour), Amy Greene (Long Man), Laird Hunt (Neverhome: A Novel), Cristina Henriquez (The Unamericans), Emily St. John Mandel (Station Eleven), Rebecca Makkai (The Hundred-Year House) Sharyn McCrumb (Nora Bonesteel’s Christmas Past: A Ballad Novella), Antonya Nelson (Funny Once: Stories), Maggie Shipstead (Astonish Me: A Novel), and Lauren Oliver (Rooms: A Novel).
● Memoir, biography, and nonfiction from leading essayists, legislators, and scholars across the country, including poet Richard Blanco (The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood), New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow (Fire Shut Up in My Bones), South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn (Blessed Experiences: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black), Frances Mayes (Under Magnolia: A Memoir), and Atlantic editor Scott Stossel (My Age of Anxiety).
● Literary Death Match, a contest with four writers and three judges, to be held October 11 at Third Man Records. This event is a partnership with The Porch Writers’ Collective.
● Women’s National Book Association Coffee with Authors, an annual highlight of the festival to be held October 11 at Nashville Public Library. Confirmed authors participating include Nadia Hashimi, Lily King, and Gabrielle Zevin.
● A special track of sessions devoted to writing about war and veterans’ homecoming, a partnership with the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities at Vanderbilt University. Speakers will include acclaimed authors Kevin Powers (The Yellow Birds) and Phil Klay (Redeployment).
● The seventh annual Authors in the Round dinner, to be held October 10 at War Memorial Auditorium. This is a fundraiser for the Festival, with a guest author at each table. Information is available here.
● The debut of author Rick Bragg’s book Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story, about the rock legend.
● Nashville authors Tony Earley (Mr. Tall: A Novella and Stories), Ariel Lawon (The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress), J.T. Ellison (A Deeper Darkness), Tracy Barrett (The Stepsister’s Tale), Julie Danielson (Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature), Courtney Stevens (Faking Normal), and others.
● Performance stages for music, performing arts, and children’s activities.
● A lineup of the best of Nashville’s food trucks.
● A full list of authors scheduled to participate can be found here. It is updated weekly.
Back by popular demand will be weekly contests leading up to the festival. Follow Southern Festival of Books on Facebook, on Twitter at @Sofestofbooks, and on Instagram (sofestofbooks) for details.
The Southern Festival of Books is presented by Humanities Tennessee, a non-profit organization that promotes humanities education across Tennessee. The festival is proudly sponsored by the National Endowment for Humanities, Metro Nashville Arts Commission, Tennessee Arts Commission, Ingram, Dollar General Literacy Foundation, Nashville Scene, AWC Family Foundation, Memorial Foundation, Vanderbilt University, Nashville Public Library, and Parnassus Books.
For more Tennessee literary news, please visit Chapter 16’s News & Notes page, here.