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Guide to the 2024 Southern Festival of Books in Nashville

The annual literary festival welcomes 150 authors to Nashville for two days of public programming. Here’s what to know ahead of the event.

Piles of books are stacked on a table as festival-goers pick through them.

Which tent are you stopping by first? | Photo by Jason Bihler via Humanities Tennessee

Add this to your list of topics to discuss at book club this week. The Southern Festival of Books returns to downtown Nashville on Saturday, Oct. 26-Sunday, Oct. 27.

Humanities Tennessee announced the lineup for the 36th annual event, and no surprises here, it’s a real page turner.

Returning fan favorites

Student Day: Now in its second year,  the festival will welcome 500 Davidson County students on Thursday, Oct. 24 for meet-and-greets, book giveaways, and writing exercises.

Community events: Mark your calendars the week leading up to the festival for a ticketed author talk with Erik Larson at Montgomery Bell Academy’s Paschall Theater (Thursday, Oct. 24) + a writer’s workshop led by Darnell Arnoult, Ann Powers, Justin Taylor, and more at the Tennessee State Museum (Friday, Oct. 25).

What to expect

The Southern Festival of Books is known for hosting a wide variety of programming, and this year is no different with:

  • Authors, publishers, and booksellers
  • Panels, signings, and readings
  • Three performance stages for music, performing arts, and children’s activities
  • 60 vendors and food trucks

All of which can be found across three venues: Bicentennial Mall, Tennessee State Museum, and Tennessee State Library.

No genre is off limits — expect everything from fiction and nonfiction to young adult literature, poetry, science fiction, and mystery.

The lineup

This year’s lineup is stacked with local, regional, and national authors. Some of the major appearances include Joan Baez, TJ Klune, Jayne Anne Phillips, Ann Patchett, and Lisa Unger.

Plan to hear from local authors like romance novelist Sarah Adams and cooking extraordinaire Anne Byrn, among other familiar faces.

Bonus: Additional authors and other special announcements will be added to the list every Friday.

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