13 Literary Events Every Book-Lovers Needs To Attend In Their Lifetime
When you're a true book-lover like me, there is no end to your literary obsessions, which go far beyond joining book clubs, taking frequent trips to the library, collecting more books than you could ever read in one lifetime. In fact, the only thing bigger than your TBR pile is your bookish buckets list, which includes author-inspired vacations, Harry Potter-themed sight seeing, and these literary events every book-lover wants to go to.
A lot of people think of readers as solitary people who prefer to stay in the house alone with a good book than go out into the real world and interact. While it may be true that most of the time bibliophiles do prefer a Friday night in with a thriller and a bottle of wine rather than human interaction and putting pants on, we also appreciate any kind of gathering that involves books, authors, and other literary-lovers. If there's a book conference in Europe, count us in. An author panel on the west coast? Our bags are packed. A Harry Potter festival anywhere at all? We'll be there, wizard robes and all, because there's no limit to our love for books.
At least, not in our dreams.
From book festivals by the beach to author forums in the hill side, these are the 13 coolest literary events all book-lovers should add to their bucket list.
1. BookExpo America
The biggest book event of the year, BookExpo America — or BEA to the real book-nerds of the world — is three days of author panels, book signings, literary exhibits, industry discussions, and so much more. A gathering of book publishers, writers, and readers, this massive event, which takes place in NYC from May 31-June 2 this year, ends with a separate bookish extravaganza: BookCon, a two-day event featuring even more autographing sessions, panel discussions, literary exhibitors, and plenty of swag. Bonus this year: the one and only Hillary Rodham Clinton will be in attendance. Do you have your ticket already?
2. Comic-Con International: San Diego
While there are dozens of comic-cons held all over the country every year, the one true book-lovers will appreciate is Comic-Con International, held in San Diego every year since 1970. A full four days of all things comics, Comic-Con features art shows, autograph sessions, screenings, and even a Masquerade costume party. If you're a reader who likes pictures to go with it, this is the bookish event, held July 20-23, is for you.
3. PEN America World Voices Festival
If your two passions are reading and social justice, than the PEN America World Voices Festival should be the literary event at the very top of your bucket list. Founded in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks by Salman Rushdie, Esther Allen, and Michael Roberts, this annual festival — the only international one of its kind in the U.S. — brings over 150 authors together to "celebrate the transcendent power of art to enable people to see beyond their differences," according to the official website. Though the 2017 events, which featured participants like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Laurie Anderson, Jill Filipovic, and more, already passed, you can start looking forward to planning a trip to next year's NYC fest, held at the end of April and beginning of May each year.
Do you love diving into a good YA? Then you're going to want to make sure to keep November 10-11 wide open, because that is this year's date for the 7th annual Charleston Young Adult Book Festival, otherwise known as YALLFest. The largest YA book festival in the south, this two-day event brings together best of the best YA authors and their fans for a celebration of literature, inspiration, and reading. While this year's schedule isn't available yet, you can expect to see incredible author panels, film screenings, book signings, and more.
Can't make it to North Carolina? Don't worry, because YALLFest has a west coast sister festival, YALLWest, held in Santa Monica every April.
5. Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
Held every April since 1996, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is a two day event with one simple goal: "to bring together the people who create books with the people who love to read them." This year's highlights included speakers like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Margaret Atwood, a nonfiction conversation about activism, and a performance of Into the Woods. As always, to kick off the event, the L.A. Times gives out its annual book prizes, whose winners this year included Nathan Hill, Wesley Lowery, Frances Hardinge, and more.
6. Hay Festival of the Arts
Get your passport ready, because you're going to want to head to Wales this May 25-June 4 for a literary event you'll never forget. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the Hay Festival is a beautiful celebration of readers, writers, and storytelling that seeks to "inspire, examine, and entertain." This year's special theme, inspired by the event's anniversary, is centered around 30 essential books from the last 30 years. You'll have to attend to find out if your favorite made the list.
7. National Book Fair
You may be sick of Washington D.C. and just about everyone in it, but the 17th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival just might be cool enough to bring you back to our nation's capital. Featuring authors like Megan Abbott, Nicola Yoon, Lisa Ko, Elizabeth Strout, and more, this year's one day event, which takes place September 2, will have dozens of author talks, signings, and presentations you won't want to miss.
8. Edinburgh International Book Festival
Celebrate your love of books in Scotland's beautiful capital at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Started in 1983 and featuring everything from Meet the Author events to literary debates, this two-week event has become one of the largest international celebrations of books in the world. If you're interested in this year's festival, which is held August 12-28, look out for the program which will be launched on June 13.
9. Miami Book Fair International
Find your next beach read while visiting an actual beach at the Miami Book Fair International. Held at Miami Dade College every fall, this eight-day "literary party" includes street fairs, theater, booksellers, publishers, and the one and only Festival of Authors which stars over 450 writers you know and love. The festival also includes the Miami Book Fair Prize for the Novella, which accepts submissions May 1- June 15, so if you have always wanted to be published and want to be a guest at the event, it's time to get writing.
Can't make it to Florida for the main event this November? Check out the smaller, year-round events they put on and get ready for surf, sun, and a literary event you won't ever forget.
10. Agatha Christie Festival
Like you needed another reason to go abroad, the International Agatha Christie Festival gives you one. Held in Devon every September, this annual birthday celebration honors Queen of Crime and includes fun and interactive events like artistic presentations about Christie, author panels, bookish tours, and more. This year's IACF will be held September 13-17, so get your bags ready for a beautiful and bookish fall vacation.
If you're looking for rich culture, international exchanges, and fantastic bookish events, then FLIP — Festa Literária Internacional de Paraty — is the literary event for you. Held in the beautiful coastal city Costa Verde since 2003, this annual event is the largest literary festival in Brazil and draws tens of thousands of visitors to its incredible programing. This year's curator, Joselia Aguiar, has put together an incredible celebration of all things books and features international authors like Juan Gabriel Vásquez, Toni Morrison, Karl Ove Knausgård, and more. Don't miss this year's festival, which will be held July 26-30.
12. Brooklyn Book Festival
You don't have to travel as far as South America to find a fun bookish event. Every year in September, Brooklyn hosts its own Book Festival featuring everything from a literary marketplace, a special Children's Day, and bookend events around the city all week. While this year's programming hasn't been released, you can look forward to amazing literary events in your favorite borough September 11-17. The best part? It's totally free — that is, if you can keep yourself from buying all the books.
13. Texas Book Festival
Everything's bigger in Texas, including the book festivals. One of the largest literary events in the U.S., this annual event strives to inspire all Texans to fall in love with books by bringing together authors and readers together for one big celebration. Featuring everything from literary readings, author panels, book signings, cooking demonstrations, and live music, this unique event is held around the beautiful State Capital in downtown Austin will make you want to call the Lonestar State your home. Held on November 4-5 this year, the schedule of events is yet to be released, but if it's anything like past years, it will have something for every kind of reader.
More into YA? Then add the Texas Teen Book Festival, held in October, to your bucket list too.