What you need to know about the 2021 Southern Festival of Books in Nashville

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The 33rd Nashville Southern Festival of Books will run until October 10.

The festival will be primarily online, with live broadcasts accessible via YouTube or Facebook. There are, however, four in-person events in Nashville taking place in the evening.

When planning began last winter, the event was to follow a hybrid model, but rising rates of COVID-19 infections led to a go virtual for the second year in a row. Tim Henderson, executive director of Humanities Tennessee, believes the virtual format will allow people across Tennessee to connect to the event.

The virtual event will bring together more than 110 authors. Henderson said if “you like to read at all” there should be something at the festival for you.

Anyone interested in more information about the festival can visit sofestofbooks.org.

Underlined authors

Jeff Vandermeer will speak on his book, “Hummingbird Salamander,” at nearly 7 pm Wednesday.

Daniel de Visé will speak about his book, “King of the Blues: The Rise and Reign of BB King”, at 5 pm on October 5 at the National Museum of African American Music.

Rickie Lee Jones will discuss his book, “Last Chance Texaco: Chronicles of an American Troubadour,” in a virtual chat with NPR music critic Ann Powers at 2:15 pm on October 9.

Paula McLain will be speaking about her book, “When the Stars Go Dark: A Novel”, almost at noon on October 10th.

Former Governor Bill Haslam will speak on his book “Faithful Presence: The Promise and Peril of Faith in the Public Square”, practically at 1:15 pm on October 10.

How to access virtual events and the calendar

Virtual events will run until October 10, and a full schedule can be viewed on the festival website.

Events can be streamed through the Southern Festival of Books Facebook page and YouTube channel. YouTube streams can also be viewed on the festival’s website and app.

The app can be downloaded for Apple or Android from their respective app stores. The app contains the full program and an author’s event feed.

Almost all recorded events will be able to be broadcast later, but, according to Henderson, some editors or authors will not want the feeds to stay online. At the moment, he’s not sure which author conversations won’t stay online.

If you connect live, it will be possible to ask questions of the authors, as if it were an in-person event.

All streaming events will be free, with the exception of the October 8 virtual fundraiser, accessible with a $ 50 donation to the festival. The fundraiser features authors Alice Waters and Laurie Woolever in conversation with Lisa Donovon.

In person events

Sharon Cameron will speak at Parnassus Books at 6:30 p.m. on October 2. Masks will be compulsory. The event is free, but limited space means those who wish to attend must register here: https://www.parnassusbooks.net/event/store-sharon-cameron-ya-author-bluebird-joined- jt-ellison.

Jess Walter will speak at Parnassus Books at 6:30 p.m. on October 4. Masks will be compulsory. The event is free, but limited space means those who wish to attend must register here: https://www.parnassusbooks.net/event/store-jess-walter-author-cold-millions.

Daniel de Visé will speak at the National Museum of African-American Music at 5:30 p.m. on October 5. Masks will be compulsory.

Alix Harrow will speak at Parnassus Books at 6:30 p.m. on October 5. Masks will be compulsory. The event is free, but limited space means those who wish to attend must register here: https://www.parnassusbooks.net/event/store-alix-harrow-author-spindle-splintered.

Young readers events

The event has many writers and events for young readers at children’s, intermediate and young adult levels.

The authors highlighted for young readers are:

  • Jason Reynolds presents his book “Stamped (For Kids): Racism, Antiracism, and You” virtually at 7 pm on October 7th.
  • Stephen Pastis virtually presents his book, “Trubble Town # 1”, at 6pm on September 29th.
  • Gayle Forman virtually presents her book, “Frankie and Bug”, at 11 am on October 6.

Is the festival free?

Most of the festival is free, with the exception of the October 8 fundraiser.

In addition to accessing the fundraiser, a $ 50 donation will include a book by Alice Waters. Other thank you gifts will be offered to donations of $ 100, $ 250 and $ 1,000.


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