Virginia Festival of the Book 2019: 30,000 Reasons to Attend

 Festival of the Book Offers A Variety of Reading Pleasures


Every year at the Iris Inn, we have guests that travel near and far to attend Charlottesville’s Festival of the Book.

And what a festival it is!

The Festival of the Book is the largest community-based book event in all 50 states plus six US territories. Produced by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, it attracts huge audiences each year.

In fact, last year, Festival attendance reached more than 30,000 with attendees traveling from 30 states to enjoy this unique event.

And it’s easy to see why. The Virginia Festival of the Book boasts an impressive list of author presenters: Elliot Ackerman,Cassius Adair, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, André Alexis, Jane Alison, Brooklyn Allen, Jennifer Alluisi,Laurie Halse Anderson, Maggie Anderson, Carol Anderson, Nin Andrews, Andi Arndt, and Raymond Arsenault.

To get a complete list of past participants, click here.

The Mission of the Virginia Festival of the Book

The mission of the Festival is to have deeply engaging discussions about issues facing us today. For example, In 2013, “American Icons: A Conversation with the Honorable John Lewis and Dr. John Carlos, was presented.

Both speakers came of age during the Civil Rights era and shared their experiences advocating for human and civil rights.

The 2016 Festival featured Bryan Stevenson who spoke on the issue of social justice. Questions were followed by John Grisham. And finally, in 2017, Margot Lee Shetterly and Dava Sobel discussed women in science and their unsung contributions.

There are about 250 programs with the Festival, most of them free, that offer up book discussions on almost every imaginable genre and for every reading level.

What’s more, in 2017, Virginia Festival of the Book also scheduled classroom visits to local kindergarten-12th-grade students with 100 authors making the rounds. This provided reading discussions with more than 10,000 students.

Virginia Festival of the Book Presenters for 2019

This year, Festival of the Book will feature some of the most acclaimed authors working in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. These ticketed events take place at The Paramount Theater. Tickets are bound to go fast, so don’t wait. Get them now!

Festival of the Book All-Stars

Festival of the Book All-Stars

Three of the Festival’s most popular recurring authors will kick off the event with Margot Lee Shetterly, Hidden Figures hosting it.

An evening with Festival All-Stars

Lee Smith, Dimestore

Adriana Trigiani, Tony’s Wife

Douglas Brinkley, American Moonshot

Time and Date: March 20th, 8:00 p.m.

These three authors will take the stage to share their memories and to swap stories. They will also reflect on the literary evolution of the past 25 years, as well as discuss their own work. Don’t miss it!



Next up on March 21, 8:00 p.m.

All of our Rights: America’s Legacy of Inequality

Moderated by Jamelle Bouie, columnist for the New York Times Opinion pages and political analyst for CBS News, three influential authors will discuss their award-winning works on racism, resistance, and American rights.

  • Carol Anderson, One Person, No Vote
  • Michael Eric Dyson, What Truth Sounds Like
  • Martha S. Jones, Birthright Citizens

These authors will exam the Civil Rights movement, voter suppression, and the study of birthright citizenship. The conversation will explore conflicts as well as opportunities between policies and people.

Lastly, on March 23, 8:00 p.m.

Future Tense: Writers You’ll be Reading for the Next 25 Years

Moderated by Carlos Lozada, nonfiction book critic for The Washington Post, three of 

today’s most exciting young writers take the stage.

Mitchell S. Jackson, Survival Math

José Olivarez, Citizen Illegal

Sarah Smarsh, Heartland

Future Tense Writers

Future Tense Writers


All three will discuss their very personal works of poetry and nonfiction with each representing an eye-opening look at larger political and social issues in America today.

But that certainly isn’t all. There are plenty of other exciting events to attend, such as:

The Process of Book Illustrating

Read and Lead Lunch with Douglas Brinkley

Exhibit: Deborah Willis at the Jefferson School African Heritage Center

And so much more! Here’s the schedule and the speakers’ page. With the Iris Inn just a short, scenic 30 minute drive, make your reservations with us now. We can even pack a picnic lunch for you! Book your reservation here.