US Literary Festivals To Add To Your Calendar

By Ellie Smith

9 months ago

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


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 the US, 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.

The Best Literary Festivals In The US For 2023

Brooklyn Book Festival

When? 25 September–3 October 2023

Where? Brooklyn, New York

 

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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. brooklynbookfestival.org

Texas Book Festival

When? 11–12 November 2023

Where? Austin, Texas

 

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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 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. texasbookfestival.org

Books By The Banks

When? 18 November 2023

Where? Cincinnati, Ohio

 

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Every autumn 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. booksbythebanks.org

New Orleans Book Festival

When? 14–16 March 2024

Where? Tulane University, New Orleans

 

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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, next taking place in March 2024. The latest edition included talks from political commentator David Brooks, journalist Amanda Ripley, activist Sandy Rosenthal and many more. Plus, Family Day offers activities for children of all ages. bookfest.tulane.edu

Los Angeles Festival Of Books

When? 20–21 April 2023

Where? University of Southern California, Los Angeles

Now in its 28th 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. events.latimes.com

Bay Area Book Festival

When? Late spring 2024

Where? Berkeley, California

 

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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. baybookfest.org

Printers Row Lit Fest

When? September 2024

Where? Printers Row, Chicago

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 the 2023 line-up spearheaded by Natasha Trethewey, who served two years as the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States. printersrowlitfest.org