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April 24, 2024

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2022 Southern Festival of Books Announces Lineup

This popular annual festival brings literary and cultural leaders to Nashville's War Memorial Plaza for panels, readings and discussions.

The celebration of books and reading known as the 34th Annual Southern Festival of Books is on in person! The festival takes place at War Memorial Plaza and at the Nashville Public Library’s main branch Oct. 14 – 16, 2022. 

The festival features appearances from more than 200 authors. Festival-goers will enjoy the opportunity to connect with favorite writers through live events, panels, book signings and more. The roster includes numerous authors highlighted below.

“We are thrilled and honored to welcome so many esteemed and talented writers to the 34th annual Southern Festival of Books,” says Tim Henderson, Humanities Tennessee executive director. “This year’s festival was already shaping up to be a memorable event, as we gather together in person for the first time in three years,” he says. “But to have so many brilliant authors joining us makes it even more special.” 

More about the festival

In addition to 75 sessions over three days, the festival features vendors, food trucks and stages. A music stage focuses on the Nashville music community, while the performing arts stage offers theater, spoken word and poetry. The children’s stage and activity center — presented with Turnip Green Creative Reuse — features authors, musicians and performers. In addition, kids will be able to enjoy crafts, character costumes and parties celebrating beloved children’s books. 

Authors from a wide variety of genres will be giving panels and signing their books during the event. 

The 2022 Southern Festival of Books will feature: 

  • JOSHUA COHEN (The Netanyahus: An Account of a Minor and Ultimately Even Negligible Episode in the History of a Very Famous Family). Cohen’s most recent novel is the winner of the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His won  the 2021 National Jewish Book Award for Fiction and was a finalist for the 2021 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Kirkus, The A.V. Club and The Telegraph, named it a best book of the year.
  • RICK BRAGG (The Speckled Beauty: A Dog and His People). Bragg is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author, known for his musings on Southern life. He is the author of 12 books, including The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma’s Table, All Over But the Shoutin’ and The Prince of Frogtown. 
  • TAYARI JONES (Black Folk Could Fly: Selected Writings by Randall Kenan). Jones is a 2021 Guggenheim fellow and a New York Times bestselling author. She is the winner of the Orange Prize, Aspen Words Prize and an NAACP Image Award. Her 2018 novel, An American Marriage, was an Oprah’s Book Club Selection. She wrote the introduction for Black Folk Could Fly: Selected Writings by Randall Kenan, which was released in August, 2022. 
  • ANDREW SEAN GREER (Less is Lost: A Novel). Greer is a Pulitzer Prize-winning and bestselling novelist. His forthcoming novel, Less is Lost: A Novel, is a follow-up to Less, which won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. 
  • MARGO PRICE (Maybe We’ll Make It: A Memoir): Grammy-nominated country music artist and producer Price makes her literary debut with the release of Maybe We’ll Make It: A Memoir, a story “of loss, motherhood, and the search for artistic freedom.” 
  • JULIE OTSUKA (The Swimmers: A Novel). A recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature winner, Otsuka is the bestselling author of The Buddha in the Attic and When the Emperor Was Divine. 
  • DOLEN PERKINS-VALDEZ (Take My Hand: A Novel). Perkins-Valdez is a New York Times bestselling author and  two-time NAACP Image Awards finalist. Inspired by true events, her new novel, Take My Hand, is about a Black nurse in post-segregation Alabama who blows the whistle on a terrible wrong. 
  • DIANE KRUGER (A Name from the Sky). Kruger’s acting career has spanned more than two decades in film and television. She received a Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress in 2017. The German actress and mother makes her literary debut on October 25, 2022, with the autobiographical children’s book, A Name from the Sky. 
  • ANDREW YOUNG (The Many Lives of Andrew Young). Young was a Civil Rights leader and the first Black congressman from Georgia. Additionally, he was U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and a former mayor of Atlanta. This new biography from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Ernie Suggs examines Young’s illustrious career. 
  • PATRICK RADDEN KEEFE (Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks). The bestselling author and award-winning journalist ‘s new book, Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks, is a collection of 12 New Yorker articles about criminals and con artists.
  • The themed track in partnership with the Robert Penn Warren Center at Vanderbilt is “Mending and Transforming.” The track includes Gal Beckerman, author of The Quiet Before: On the Unexpected Origins of Radical Ideas. 
  • The Southern Festival of Books is partnering with Southern Foodways Alliance for a panel on food and culture. 

For an updated list of authors, visit To learn more about the Southern Festival of Books and to stay updated on festival announcements, follow Twitter (@SoFestofBooks), Facebook (@SoFestofBooks) and Instagram (@sofestofbooks).


About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 4-year-old Ezra and baby Norah.