It's book convention season! Here's what you need to know
Rejoice, book lovers! With a new year comes a fresh slew of awesome literary festivals you’ll be dying to attend. Authors and readers will be out in full force to celebrate the glory that is good old-fashioned books. If you’re an avid reader and haven’t yet attended a festival, you’re missing out. These are our people! Not only do you get to possibly meet your favorite writers and hear their insights about their work and lives, but you have the potential to make a world of new friends. Readers and writers are some of the coolest kids on the block and there’s no more appropriate place to strike up a conversation with “Read any good books lately?”
Plus, when you’re at a festival you’re exposed to all sorts of books you might not find in a store. Smaller presses get the chance to set up booths and big publishers are out to highlight new and upcoming books. You might win a giveaway or ask an author a question during a panel that sparks their next big idea. And you will definitely have a good time.
So whether you’re in to add to your endless to-be-read list, to meet your favorite author, or to bond with other readers who can relate to your intense emotional relationships with fictional characters, these are the festivals you should add to your calendar.
YALLWEST – April 11th & 12th
YA readers have a festival all their own with this Santa Monica-based sister festival to Charleston’s YALLFEST. Check out panels with your faves like Divergent series author Veronica Roth, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’s Ransom Riggs, the Lunar Chronicles’ Marissa Meyer, and The Beginning of Everything’s Robyn Schneider. They’ll also have signings, food trucks, photobooths, meetups with Booktubers, and a cupcake hour. Oh, and an all-author cover band called Tiger Beat. Amazing. Yes, please, now.
Los Angeles Times Festival of Books – April 19th & 20th
Celebrating it’s 20th anniversary, this is a true booksplosion. Taking over the USC campus in downtown LA, you can explore bookish booths, buy bookish products, check out music and art, and see all your favorite writers, naturally. Writers like Joyce Carol Oates, TC Boyle, Jacqueline Woodson, and Meg Wolitzer will be in attendance. The list of those scheduled to appear is mind-bogglingly awesome. And since it is LA, it wouldn’t be a book festival without some celebs/authors, like Maria Bello, Jason Segel, Billy Idol and Octavia Spencer. Plus, if you’re lucky you can snap up a ticket to a screening of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.
BookCon – May 30th & 31st
This is basically the biggest collision of books and pop culture all year. Rub shoulders with everyone from celebs like Mindy Kaling and Nick Offerman, to YA authors like Eleanor and Park’s Rainbow Rowell and If I Stay’s Gayle Forman. YouTube superstars like Mamrie Hart will be on hand, as well as our own Sophia Rossi repping her rad YA book A Tale of Two Besties. Panels, Q&A sessions, literary quiz shows, special screenings, and more make this event a must.
Bay Area Book Festival – June 6th and 7th
Debuting this year is a brand new festival and they’re doing it up right – Judy Blume is scheduled to appear to celebrate the publication of her new novel. Also appearing is “the happiest man in the world,” Tibetan Buddhist monk and scientist, Matthieu Ricard, YA (and now adult) author Lauren Oliver, and Daniel Handler. Check out their site and support this new fest!
Library of Congress National Book Festival – September 5th
With the 15th anniversary of this festival comes a very appropriate theme to be based around Thomas Jefferson’s quote “I cannot live without books.” So far confirmed to appear are author/historian David McCullough and writer/biographer Walter Isaacson.
Brooklyn Book Festival – September 20th
This is the largest free literary event in New York City. They’ve yet to announce who will be featured this year, but some of last year’s literary superstars who appeared include Paul Auster, R.L. Stine, Coe Booth, Scott Westerfeld, Jenny Han, and Zadie Smith. So there’s no doubt this year’s line up will be killer.