Virginia Festival of the Book 2018 – Charlottesville VA

Virginia Festival of the Book 2018 – Charlottesville VA

If you hear a buzz of excitement on the Downtown Mall and around town this time of year, you know it’s almost time once again for the Virginia Festival of the Book (VFB), which celebrates its 24th anniversary this year!

The annual Festival will be held March 21-25, 2018, in and around Charlottesville, and brings readers and writers together for a five-day program of mostly free events including author readings, book signings, panel discussions, programs for children, and more. 

This year you can see: Leland Melvin (Chasing Space), who will share stories from his memoir about how perseverance helped him find success as both an NFL wide receiver and a NASA astronaut; Khizr Khan (An American Family), who will discuss his experiences as an immigrant, our rights as Americans, and the legacy of democracy that we are each empowered to protect; Attica Locke, the New York Times bestselling author of Bluebird, Bluebird and winner of the 2016 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction; and finally, hear 2017 National Book Awards finalists Erica Armstrong Dunbar (Never Caught) and David Grann (Killers of the Flower Moon), and 2017 National Book Awards longlisted author Kevin Young (Bunk) in a discussion of the stories and facts their books bring to light, the hidden impacts of racism and social inequality in America that their work speaks to, and ultimately, the pursuit of truth in their award-winning nonfiction.

Celebrating everything reading

Produced by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH), the largest of the 56 state (and territory) humanities councils, the Festival is a signature program of the Virginia Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

The VFB is the largest community-based book event in the Mid-Atlantic region and has attracted audiences of more than 20,000 for each of the past 13 years, a great track record! 

The Festival’s annual attendance reached more than 30,000 in March 2017. Attendees enjoy a captivating list of authors, ranging from international bestsellers to topical specialists to debut authors. 

An abbreviated list of past participants includes Rick Atkinson, David Baldacci, Douglas Brinkley, Edwidge Danticat, Nikki Giovanni, Jan Karon, Representative John Lewis, Beth Macy, Sonia Manzano, Colum McCann, Margot Lee Shetterly, Bryan Stevenson, Joseph Stiglitz, Elizabeth Strout, Natasha Trethewey, and Lawrence Wright. 

Major programs have established a reputation for offering deeply engaging discussions of important current issues. In 2013, the Festival presented “American Icons: A Conversation with the Honorable John Lewis and Dr. John Carlos,” during which contemporaries Lewis and Carlos, who came of age in the Civil Rights era and who had never before met, shared their experiences advocating for civil and human rights. 

In 2016, Bryan Stevenson spoke about social justice, followed by questions from John Grisham. In 2017 Margot Lee Shetterly and Dava Sobel discussed the long unsung contributions of women in science and Joseph Stiglitz discussed economic inequality with Frank Sesno.

Plenty to choose from

The Festival offers about 250 programs, most of them free, and provides book discussions in every genre and for every level of reader. In 2017 the Festival also scheduled 100 author visits into local K-12 classrooms, providing programs for more than 10,000 students.

All programs are open to the public and, with the exception of a few ticketed events, the majority of Festival programs are free to attend.

The Festival is presented through a unique partnership of contributors that includes VFH, foundations, corporations, bookstores, schools, libraries, area businesses and organizations, and committed individuals. This partnership results in programs on a wide range of topics taking place at a variety of venues throughout the city, county and at UVA.

Signature annual event

The VFB has become an integral part of the community. It was formally recognized as such when it was named a Signature Event by the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau.

In support of the staff, almost every aspect of the Festival is organized and generated by Festival Committees of community volunteers who generously contribute their time and energy.

Future Festival Dates

The 25th annual Virginia Festival of the Book

March 20-24, 2019

The 26th annual Virginia Festival of the Book

March 18-22, 2020

The 27th annual Virginia Festival of the Book

March 17-21, 2021

The 28th annual Virginia Festival of the Book

March 16-20, 2022

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