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US Literary Festivals To Add To Your Calendar

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From New York to Ohio, bookworms will be spoilt for choice

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Reading tends to be a solitary activity – but literary festivals bring book-lovers together. Some of the world’s most renowned events take place in America, offering the chance to meet both local and international writers, take part in workshops, discover new reads and much more. Here we highlight some of the best literary festivals in the US.

Best Literary Festivals in the US

Bay Area Book Festival

 

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One of America’s largest literary events is the Bay Area Book Festival, which takes place across two days in downtown Berkeley, California. The key focus is to celebrate a wide spectrum of voices, exploring themes of justice and diversity. Each year between 250 and 300 authors take part in venues across the area, plus a free Outdoor Fair takes over Martin Luther King, Jr. Civic Center Park, filled with stalls and activities for children. 

When? 6 – 7 May 2023

Where? Berkeley, California

How? baybookfest.org

Brooklyn Book Festival

 

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New York’s biggest free literary festival is held each year in Brooklyn, bringing together readers and writers from all over the world for a week of talks, shopping and more. The upcoming event this autumn will be a hybrid of in-person and virtual, with the line-up including Jennifer Egan, best known for her acclaimed novel A Visit From the Goon Squad, and author and poet Meghan O’Rourke, who recently published The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness. There’s also a day dedicated to children’s books, complete with readings, workshops and art projects.

When? 25 September – 3 October 2023

Where? Brooklyn, New York

How? brooklynbookfestival.org

Texas Book Festival

 

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This Austin festival has been around since 1996, after being founded by First Lady of Texas Mary Bush. It has hosted a stream of big names over the years including Margaret Attwood, Salman Rushdie and Robert Caro, and no doubt this year’s line-up (revealed in September) will be suitably star-studded. Talks and book signings take place across numerous venues around the city, and in true Austin style you can expect plenty of great food, family activities and live music.

When? 5 – 6 November 2022

Where? Austin, Texas

How? texasbookfestival.org

Books by the Banks

 

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Every October in Cincinnati, Ohio, local and international authors join together for a day of literacy and learning. It’s a chance to hear your favourite writers talk candidly about their work, plus budding authors can attend workshops on honing their own craft. There are activities for all ages, with a special kids’ corner hosting librarian storytimes, alongside a spot just for teens, where young adult authors host meet and greet sessions.

When? 19 November 2022

Where? Cincinnati, Ohio

How? booksbythebanks.org

New Orleans Book Festival

Held on Tulane University’s uptown campus, the New Orleans Book Festival is a three-day celebration which draws in a diverse line-up of authors, chefs and musicians each year. It returns next March, with names confirmed so far including political commentator David Brooks, journalist Amanda Ripley, activist Sandy Rosenthal and many more. Family Day will offer activities for children of all ages, including events with Donna Edwards and Marti Dumas.

When? 9 – 11 March 2023

Where? Tulane University, New Orleans

How? bookfest.tulane.edu

Printers Row Lit Fest

Chicago’s annual book fair attracts over 100,000 visitors each year, offering two days of talks, workshops and shopping opportunities. Held on the historic Printers Row – once the bookmaking hub of Chicago – and the surrounding area, it always draws in big names, with this year’s line-up spearheaded by Natasha Trethewey, who served two years as the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States. She’ll be joined by the likes of writer Shannon Cason, author Adam Levin and many other interesting voices.

When? 10 and 11 September 2022

Where? Printers Row, Chicago

How? printersrowlitfest.org

Los Angeles Festival of Books

Now in its 27th year, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books brings together not just writers, but also artists, chefs, filmmakers and musicians. It takes place on the University of Southern California campus, with a mixture of indoor and outdoor events, and hundreds of exhibitor booths and author signings. The 2022 event involved everyone from Janelle Monáe to novelist Jennifer Haigh and DJ Phil Taggart, with the 2023 line-up yet to be announced. 

When? 22 – 23 April 2023

Where? University of Southern California, Los Angeles

How? events.latimes.com

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