Readers Connect With Authors at 21st Annual BookFest

Mar 17, 2015

The Virginia Festival of the Book is in its 21st year and will feature 400 authors from around the country, who will come to Charlottesville to take part in 200 programs from Wednesday, March 18 through Sunday March 22.

Jane Kulow is the program director and spoke with WMRA’s Sefe Emokpae about what to expect.

KULOW: The Virginia Festival of the Book is a five-day celebration of authors and books and reading and literacy. We happen to believe that books and reading are the backbone of a literate democracy. We also think this festival and offering the opportunity for readers to connect with authors is one of the things that provides a great quality of life in the Charlottesville and Albemarle community, and for visitors that come to town.   Most of the events involve a discussion of some kind.  Especially nonfiction where the authors have spent a lot of time researching topics and they will talk about their work and they will ofteb get engaged in a discussion with each other.”

The festival is produced by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and organizers say it takes all year to prepare for.  Some of the headline events include the Opening Ceremony featuring Karen Abbott… The Crime Wave Brunch with Karin Slaughter.. and a sports-oriented session Kulow says she’s particularly excited about.

KULOW: Wednesday night at the Culbreath, it’s called Football in the Red Zone.  We have a former NFL player and college coach, Bill Curry, who’s coming to town. We have an author who is a professor of English at UVa, Mark Edmundson with his book, Why Football Matters. And we have Steve Almond coming to town with his book ,Against Football: One Fan’s reluctant Manifesto.”

Many of the headline events do require the purchase of a ticket but Kulow says not to worry… there’s plenty to enjoy without the need to break open your wallet.

KULOW: We have 200 events and 194 of those are free.  So a handful of ticketed events that are marked very clearly on the website but everything else is free, just come on in and maybe buy a book afterwards.

A full schedule of events is up at vabook.org… where those interested can search events by day, location or topic.