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30th Southern Festival of Books features
all-star lineup of award-winning authors

Roster features Knoxville Daily Sun's Travel Writer,
Tom Adkinson

NASHVILLE, TN – Celebrating its 30th annual event, Humanities Tennessee has released its lineup of award-winning, bestselling authors who will headline the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, October 12-14, 2018. The roster includes Tom Adkinson, Knoxville Daily Sun's travel writer. Adkinson's book is 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, a lighthearted bucket list of activities that are distinctly Nashville. Of course, they include attending the Grand Ole Opry and getting a cold beer at a Lower Broadway honky-tonk, but the book goes for the unusual, too. Unusual ones include finding out who is buried in the Tennessee capitol, touring a Presbyterian church with ancient Egyptian architecture and patronizing an all-night "sober-up or fill-up" restaurant that doesn't open until 10 p.m.

Other notables headlining the Southern Festival of Books are Rick Bragg, Ben Fountain, Craig Johnson, Tayari Jones, Lorrie Moore, Celeste Ng, Deborah Plant, Luis Alberto Urrea, The Honorable Sonia Sotomayor and Jacqueline Woodson.

Tom Adkinson
Tom Adkinson is featured on the Southern Festival of Books roster.

The Southern Festival of Books is a free event that annually attracts 25,000 attendees, creating dialogue around new literature and cultural issues, and introducing readers to favorite authors and new writers. The Festival has become one of the most popular literary events of the South, each year bringing together readers to discover new books, hear from award-winning authors and soak in the eclectic cultural atmosphere.

Marquee appearances and events for the 2018 Southern Festival of Books include:

• Pulitzer Prize winner, journalist and southerner Bragg, author of The Best Cook in the World: Tales From My Momma’s Table and classic non-fiction works All Over but the Shoutin’ and The Prince of Frogtown.

• New York Times-bestselling authors Ng to promote the paperback version of her best-seller Little Fires Everywhere, B.A. Shapiro (The Collector’s Apprentice: A Novel) and Johnson (Depth of Winter: A Longmire Mystery) will debut new works. Johnson’s stories about Sheriff Walt Longmire are the inspiration behind the popular television show Longmire.

• Non-fiction works from popular fiction authors Fountain, whose new book Beautiful Country Burn Again: An Election, A Rebellion, and the Next American Revolution argues that the United States is experiencing its third major crisis point in today’s political atmosphere; renowned essayist and short story author Moore (See What Can Be Done: Essays, Criticism, and Commentary); and a moving memoir about abandonment and emotional survival by Glen David Gold (I Will Be Complete: A Memoir).

• Plant, editor of New York Times best seller Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo,” a posthumously published Zora Neale Hurston book, will appear at the Festival and discuss the 1930s story that remained unpublished until 2018.

• New book club favorites by Jones (An American Marriage: A Novel) and Leesa Cross-Smith (Whiskey and Ribbons: A Novel). Jones’ novel was recently named to Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club list for 2018 and Cross-Smith’s book was recognized as one of Oprah’s “Best Books of the Summer”.

• In partnership with the Robert Penn Warren Center at Vanderbilt University, the Festival will offer themed programming on “Democracy and the Informed Citizen.” The featured track will bring scholars from across Tennessee and the U.S. to discuss democracy, voting and the media before the November election.

• Exciting children’s and young adult authors Woodson (The Day You Begin); Cressida Cowell (Wizards of Once) author of the How to Train Your Dragon series; National Book Award Finalist Deborah Wiles (a long line of cakes), and Sotomayor (Turning Pages: My Life’s Story), Supreme Court Justice and newly published children’s author whose book tells her story from childhood to present day.

• Novels from well-known authors Urrea (The House of Broken Angels), and Rebecca Makkai (The Great Believers).

You can find a full lineup of Festival authors here.

“It’s hard to believe but extremely exciting that we celebrate the 30th annual Southern Festival of Books this year,” said Executive Director of Humanities Tennessee Tim Henderson. “Since its beginning, the Festival stands to bring a community of authors, poets, artists and book-lovers of all ages together to honor the Written Word, which has impacted each of our lives. We’re incredibly thankful for every person who has helped make this Festival possible for decades, and look forward to the 30th being the best year yet.” In addition to three days of author readings and talks, the Festival also features three performance stages. A music stage focuses on the incredible talent of the Nashville music community and the performing arts stage offers theater, spoken word and poetry throughout the weekend. The Festival children’s stage features authors, musicians, performers, crafts, character costumes and parties celebrating beloved children’s books.

The Festival is committed to curating a diverse collection of books by authors who will discuss and autograph their books. This group includes writers of adult, young adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction, Pulitzer Prize winners, New York Times bestsellers and book club favorites. More than 60 publishers, booksellers and nonprofit organizations will exhibit at the event, and Parnassus Books serves as the onsite bookseller.

Watkins College of Art, one of the foremost art and design colleges in the nation, will again hold its Handmade & Bound Festival in conjunction with the Southern Festival of Books at War Memorial Plaza. Handmade & Bound celebrates independent publications and printed matter, featuring artists’ books, zines, mini-comics and other book art, making it a natural addition to the Southern Festival of Books footprint. This year marks Watkins’ ninth annual Handmade & Bound Festival, which will offer craft sales, hands-on demonstrations and a community project.

On Friday, Oct. 12, Authors in the Round, the Festival’s fundraising dinner, seats authors amongst attendees for an evening of dining and conversation, creating a true one-of-a-kind experience.

About the Southern Festival Of Books
The Southern Festival of Books is presented by Humanities Tennessee, a nonprofit organization that promotes humanities education across Tennessee. The Festival is proudly sponsored by the National Endowment for Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, Tennessee Arts Commission, Nashville Public Library, Ingram Content Group, The Memorial Foundation, Dollar General Literacy Foundation, Middle Tennessee State University, Parnassus Books and the Nashville Scene.

Humanities Tennessee and The Southern Festival of Books are online at Join the Festival on Facebook and follow it on Twitter and Instagram (@SoFestBooks).

Published August 18, 2018

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