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Southern Festival of Books a Windy and Wonderful Success

To be part of the Southern Festival of Books: A Celebration of the Written Word as a reader, an author, or a volunteer is to be part of the larger literary community that comes together in Nashville every October. For three days, panel discussions, readings, and signings connect writers with readers.  This year, more than 60 exhibitors, three performance stages, and Nashville’s best food trucks helped to make the weekend a true celebration for book lovers. 

Humanities Tennessee produces the Festival with strong support from corporate, foundation, and educational partners and from more than 400 volunteers who give of their time so that the weekend can run smoothly for all. This year, 280 authors from across the United States took part in the event. 

"I am from New York. No one applauds authors in New York," wrote author and Atlantic.com blogger Ta-Nehisi Coates after the event. "I can't think of another time when I saw the work of writing more appreciated than at this festival."

Coates was part of a special track of sessions on emancipation presented in partnership with the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities at Vanderbilt University, and with support from the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area. These sessions included readings, panel discussions, and moderated public conversations. Some of the foremost writers on the Civil War and the subject of emancipation took part, including: Adam Goodheart, Harold Holzer, Tony Horwitz, and James McPherson. 

A new partner, Parnassus Books of Nashville, managed the onsite book sales area, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Festival. Visit Parnassus while you’re in town, or online at www.parnassusbooks.net. We are also grateful to the staff at the Nashville Public Library, which hosted the Festival this year at its beautiful main branch.

From visits by favorite characters like Olivia and Clifford, to browsing book sales, to visiting the Digital Library bus, readers found ways all weekend to share their love of books. Even on Sunday, when high winds forced the move of book sales indoors and many exhibitors were unable to occupy their booths, readers turned out to hear favorite authors like Damien Echols ("Life After Death"), AJ Jacobs ("Drop Dead Healthy") and R.L. Stine ("Red Rain"). 

Keep checking in on our website, or follow us on Facebook or on Twitter (@sofestofbooks) for regular updates. We're looking forward to celebrating the 25th annual festival, October 11-13, 2012!