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Southern Festival of Books Announces New Location

The annual event that promotes reading and early literacy will hold its 35th anniversary at multiple Nashville venues Oct. 20 - 22.

The Southern Festival of Books celebrates its 35th anniversary October 20 – 22, 2023, with an exciting move to Bicentennial Mall, Tennessee State Museum and Tennessee State Library.

The annual event, which will feature appearances by roughly 150 authors, will be open to the public on Saturday, October 21, and Sunday, October 22, for panel sessions, discussions and readings from a wide variety of genres including fiction and nonfiction, young adult literature, poetry, science fiction and mystery.

For the first time in the festival’s history, Friday, October 20, will be a designated Student Day, welcoming 1,000 students from Davidson County schools for author meet-and-greets, book giveaways and educational programming. Featured festival books will be available for purchase and can be signed by authors throughout the weekend. Parnassus Books is the festival bookseller.

The Authors in the Round Dinner, co-chaired by Laura Smith and LoLita Toney, will be held on Friday, October 20, 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.

“Our 2022 festival, which marked our return to an in-person event after nearly three years, was more successful than we could’ve imagined. We are looking forward to an even greater year to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the Southern Festival of Books, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of Humanities Tennessee,” says Tim Henderson, Humanities Tennessee executive director. “Bicentennial Mall, the Tennessee State Museum, and the Tennessee State Library will be the perfect backdrop for another exciting year of celebrating the written word in Tennessee.”

Southern Festival of Books anticipates roughly 150 authors for 2023, including:

  • Harvard University President Emeritus Drew Gilpin Faust
  • New York Times bestselling author and Reese Witherspoon Book Club selection Megan Miranda
  • bestselling author and recent National Humanities Medal recipient Ann Patchett
  • award-winning and bestselling author Lee Smith
  • Nashville-based author and New York Times columnist Margaret Renkl

The full list of authors will be released at the Author Reveal Party on July 20 at the Tennessee State Museum.

In the week leading up to the festival, Humanities Tennessee will be partnering with a number of literary events happening across Nashville, including the National Black Poetry Festival on Sunday, Oct. 15, and a ticketed author event with John Scalzi at Parnassus Books on Thursday, Oct. 19.

For more information, visit www.sofestofbooks.org.




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.