What recession? Judging from the roster of returning--as well as newly established--spring book festivals, the commitment to hold these annual events celebrating authors, books, literacy and local library systems is still strong in the face of our incessant economic drama.
New to this year’s listing are the National Black Book Festival in Houston, Tex. and the Fox Cities Book Festival in Appleton, Wisc., both two years old; the Hollywood Book Festival in Los Angeles, Calif. and the Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival in Rochester, NY, both four years old; the Beach Book Festival in Atlantic City, N.J., in its third year; the first annual Green Book Festival in Los Angeles, Calif. and the first annual San Francisco Book Festival. (These last four are productions of JM Northern Media.)
The following 28 book festivals are among the many scheduled to take place from February through July 2009. Contact information for publishers wishing to participate is provided below; check festival Web sites for complete author lists and more details on participants, activities and educational programs.
NATCHEZLITERARY AND CINEMA CELEBRATION
Natchez, Miss., Feb. 19-22
Twentieth year. Authors: Dorothea Benton Frank, JoAnne Prichard Morris, Brenda Marie Osbey, Julia Reed, Ruth Williams. Activities: a theme-based lecture series (this year's theme is “Southern Women Writers: Saluting the Eudora Welty Centennial”) enhanced by workshops, exhibits, book signings and discussions; presentation of Richard Wright Literary Excellence Award to Carolyn Haines and Natasha Trethewey.
SOUTH CAROLINABOOK FESTIVAL AND ANTIQUARIAN BOOK FAIR
Columbia, S.C., Feb. 27-March 1
Thirteenth year. Authors: more than 80, including David Bajo, Mignon Ballard, Nicholas Basbanes, Bill Bass, Laurel Blossom, Marvelyn Brown, Kwame Dawes, JT Ellison, Lise Funderburg, Linda Lee Harper, Beverly Jenkins, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe. Activities: keynote speaker Scott Turow; Book Appraisal Fair; children’s event Cocky's Reading Express with USC mascot Cocky; Brunching with Authors; Braille literacy outreach (to commemorate the bicentennial of the birth of Louis Braille); a special Opening Night Gala; master classes on writing; other special events and programs. Expected attendance: 6,000.
CHILDREN'S LITERATURE FESTIVAL
Warrensburg, Mo., March 15-17
Forty-first year. Authors: C. S. Adler, Veda Boyd Jones, Alexandria LaFaye, Dandi Daley Mackall, P. J. Petersen, Vivian Vande Velde, Judy Young. Activities: 41st anniversary luncheon with featured speaker Patricia Hermes; informal conversation and autographing; workshops; presentations; exhibit of children’s book illustrations.
VIRGINIAFESTIVAL OF THE BOOK
Charlottesville, Va., March 18-22
Fifteenth year. Authors: Mario Acevedo, Jonathan Alderfer, Bliss Broyard, Stephen L. Carter, Lise Funderburg, Catherine Gourley, John Grisham, Mary Ellen Hughes, Etgar Keret. Activities: business breakfast with Dan Ariely; Wine and Words event with Adriana Trigiani and David Baldacci; authors’ reception; Another Music: An Evening with Rita Dove and Boyd Tinsley; Celebrate Women Writers reception; StoryFest for Families; sixth annual Links Celebration Brunch honoring the African-American literary tradition; Crime Wave Mystery Luncheon with Brad Meltzer.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla., March 20-21
Twentieth year. Authors: Rita Mae Brown, W. Hodding Carter, Stephen Coonts, Annette Gordon-Reed, Laura Lippman, Vicki Myron, Joyce Carol Oates, Esmeralda Santiago. Activities: Novel Day for Students; Night of Literary Feasts; Lit Live! author appearances.
SOUTHWEST FLORIDAREADING FESTIVAL
Ft. Myers, Fla., March 21
Tenth year. Authors: Lisa Black, Tracy Brown, Katie Davis, Tim Dorsey, Tess Gerritsen, Jeff Kinney, Dennis Lehane, Jeff Lindsay, Lois Lowry, Robert Macomber, Janeen Mason, Anne Mazer, Ellen Potter, Jeff Shaara. Activities: TBA.
TENNESSEEWILLIAMS / NEW ORLEANS LITERARY FESTIVAL
New Orleans, La., March 25-29
Twenty-third year. Authors: Nevada Barr, John Berendt, John Biguenet, Amanda Boyden, Rick Bragg, Jill Conner Browne, Mark Doty, Richard Ford, Laura Lippman, Bill Loehfelm, Stephen Lovely. Activities: staged readings and productions of Williams's work; master classes; celebrity interviews; theater and music events; food and wine tastings; a scholars' conference; literary and other French Quarter walking tours; Tea with Tennessee; a Stanley and Stella Shout-off.
Birmingham, Ala., March 28
Eleventh year. Authors: Richard Arrington, Vanessa Davis Griggs, Peter Huggins, Robert McCammon, Cody Miller, Mary Monroe, Sonia Sanchez, Chandra Sparks-Taylor. Activities: a day-long series of programs celebrating Alabama authors and their publishers.
FAY B. KAIGLER INTERNATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL
Hattiesburg, Miss., April 1-3
Forty-second year. Authors: Judy Blume, Ashley Bryan, Eloise Greenfield, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, John Green, Arthur Yorinks. Activities: Keats Luncheon with Pat Scales; author discussion panels; workshops for educators and librarians.
GREATER ROCHESTER TEEN BOOK FESTIVAL
Rochester, N.Y., April 4
Fourth year. Authors: Michael Buckley, Cinda Williams Chima, Svetlana Chmakova, Matt de la Peña, Sharon Flake, Kenneth Oppel, Linda Sue Park, Terry Trueman, Sara Zarr. Activities: breakout sessions with authors; caricatures by local artist Kevin SerWacki;music by local teen bands; special autographing session; book sales.
FOX CITIES BOOK FESTIVAL
Appleton, Wisc., April 14-19
Second year. Authors: nearly 40, including Sherman Alexie, Simon Armitage,A. Manette Ansay, Elizabeth Berg, Samantha Chang, David Giffels, Philip Gulley, Sandra Kring, Michael Perry. Activities: readings; book chats; a Saturday Book Fair showcasing publishers, local and regional authors and their works; author appearances at local libraries as part of the 2009 Fox Cities Reads program.
BORDER BOOK FESTIVAL
Mesilla and Las Cruces, N. Mex., April 15-19
Fourteenth year. Authors: Perla Batalla, Rick Batalla, Denise Chávez, Luis Rodriguez and other local and area writers. Activities: featured artists will visit area and local schools; readings; performances; workshops and panels.
Little Rock, Ark., April 16-19
Eighth year. Authors: TBA. Activities: book appraisals by NPR's "The Book Guys"; author party; celebrity chef events; children’s reading event at the Governor’s mansion, activities at the Clinton Presidential Center, multiple writing workshops; a puppet show, panel discussions.
SOUTHERN KENTUCKYBOOK FEST
Bowling Green, Ky., April 18
Eleventh year. Authors: Chuck Barris, Jill Conner Browne, Michael Buckley, Jen Calonita, Dana Canedy, Kevin Clash, Charles Bracelen Flood, Ellen Hopkins, Silas House, Janis Ian. Activities: book signings; panel discussions; writing workshops; children's tea. Expected attendance: 10,000.
GREEN BOOK FESTIVAL
Los Angeles, Calif., April 22
First year. Authors: TBA. Activities: Awards presentation to winners of GBF competition honoring books that contribute to greater understanding, respect and positive action on the changing worldwide environment; panel discussions, exhibition.
NORTHERN ARIZONABOOK FESTIVAL
Flagstaff, Ariz., April 24-26
Twelfth year. Authors: Bruce Aiken, Robert Bly, Mark Gibbons, Lois and Steve Hirst, Seth Muller, Rod Parnell, Wayne Ranney. Activities: TBA.
LOS ANGELES TIMES FESTIVAL OF BOOKS
Los Angeles, Calif., April 25-26
(800) LATIMES, ext. 7BOOK
Fourteenth year. Authors: more than 450, TBA. Activities: author/panel discussions; children's programming; poetry readings; cooking demonstrations; music. Expected attendance: 140,000.
BOOKS IN BLOOM
Eureka Springs, Ark., May 3
Fifth year. Authors: TBA. Activities: author readings, presentations, and children’s literary activities.
BEACH BOOK FESTIVAL
Atlantic City, N.J., May 8-9
Third year. Authors: TBA. Activities: Awards to winners of BBF competition for the hottest reads of the upcoming summer season; exhibition at casino; TBA.
SAN FRANCISCOBOOK FESTIVAL
San Francisco, Calif., May 8-9
First year: Authors: TBA. Activities: Awards presentation to winners of competition for Author of the Year, Book Design of the Year and Publisher of the Year; day festival; live music; exhibits.
ANN ARBORBOOK FESTIVAL
Ann Arbor, Mich., May 14-17
Sixth year. Authors: TA Barron, Gary Schmidt, others TBA. Activities: Authors @ Lunch Event with Meg Daley Olmert; announcement of winners of "It's All Write" short story contest for young people; literacy symposium; author reception; writer's conference; book signings; panel discussions; children's activities; music; workshops.
NATIONAL BLACK BOOK FESTIVAL
Houston, Tex., May 16-17
Second year. Authors: Tracy Brown, Donna Hill, R. M. Johnson, Roland S. Martin, Brandon Massey, Mary Monroe, Jacquelin Thomas. Activities: Book signing and discussion sessions; workshops and seminars; a spoken word poetry slam; book club giveaways; ladies-only Slumber Party with author Mary B. Morrison; a Get Acquainted Breakfast; a Prayer Breakfast.
CELEBRATION OF BLACK WRITING FESTIVAL
Philadelphia, Pa., May 22-23
Twenty-fifth year. Authors: TBA. Activities: first-ever Lifetime Achievement Awards presented to Dr. Houston A. Baker, Jr., Walter Dean Myers and Jerry Pinkney; a live radio broadcast to kick off the festival; Writers in the Schools; school matinees; panel discussions; workshops; children’s and hip-hop youth pavilions; main stage performances; outdoor book fair.
NEW YORKBOOK FESTIVAL
New York, N.Y., June 5-6
Third year. Authors: TBA. Activities: book signings/readings; clowns; live music stage; food; awards presentation to winners of NYBF competition for books that deserve greater recognition from the world’s publishing capital. Expected attendance: 20,000.
CHICAGOTRIBUNE PRINTERS ROW BOOK FAIR
Chicago, Ill., June 6-7
Twenty-fifth year. Authors: TBA. Activities: TBA.
AUTHOR! AUTHOR! SHREVEPORT'S CELEBRATION OF THE WRITTEN WORD
Shreveport, La., June 13
Second year. Authors: TBA. Activities: separate children's area with special activities and a brown bag fairy lunch; author panels; keynote speakers; author meet & greet for autographs; fais do-do (Cajun literary ball).
Los Angeles, Calif., July 10-11
Fourth year. Authors: TBA. Activities: author readings, celebrity book signings, panels on the Hollywood/book publishing connection, live music, clowns doing face painting and balloon animals; awards presentation to winners of HBF competition for books that deserve greater attention from the film, TV and video game communities. Expected attendance: over 30,000.
New York, N.Y., July 18
Eleventh year. Authors: TBA: Activities: panel discussions; outdoor stage; TBA.