27th Annual Southern Festival Of Books Begins This Friday In Nashville

Monday, October 5, 2015 - by Lauren Weathers

As the colors of summer fade to fall, Nashville’s War Memorial Plaza and the downtown Nashville Public Library come to life in a dynamic celebration of the written word. The Southern Festival of Books, widely recognized as a fixture of fall in the South, will take place Oct. 9-11.

The 2015 program welcomes back festival favorites, introduces new opportunities for festival-goers to interact with the arts and spotlights current events.

·         Bringing the action to your fingertips, the new Southern Festival of Books mobile application allows attendees to browse the author list, customize their own schedule, identify the “essentials,” and by essentials we mean food trucks and tents, get the latest Festival news, and of course, donate to Festival presenter Humanities Tennessee. Available on iTunes andGoogle Play, the mobile application is powered by the Convention & Visitors Corp.

·         Four festival authors will use their words in a live, literary fight to the death at 8 p.m. onOct. 10 in War Memorial Auditorium. The second annual Literary Death Match will feature a thrilling mix of four popular and emerging authors who perform their most electric work before a lively audience and a panel of all-star judges. Stepping into the ring are Erica Wright(The Red Chameleon), Alex Sheshunoff (A Beginner’s Guide to Paradise), Harrison Scott Key(The World's Largest Man) and Tina Clark (celebrated local poet). Unlike the rest of the Festival, which is free and open to all ages, Literary Death Match is 21 and older. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door.

·         Humanities Tennessee will partner with the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities at Vanderbilt University to present a special literary track on “Understanding Islam,” featuring International Law Professor Karima Bennoune (Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here) and Executive Director of Cultural Conversations at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University Professor Azar Nafisi (The Republic of Imagination).

Three stages bring performances as vibrant and diverse as the book lovers in attendance.

·         The Music Stage will pay homage to the Festival’s Music City roots with live Bluegrass, Folk, Country and Americana performances. The lineup features Americana darlings Julie Christensen and Tiffani Huggins Grant; the soulful stylings of R.B. Morris; industry veteransMichael Buffalo Smith and Tommy Womack; bright lights John Fabke and Matt Flinner; and Jesse Lee Jones of Brazilbilly, house band of famed Nashville honky-tonk Robert’s Western World.

·         The Festival will once again celebrate Artober with its Artober Performing Arts Stage, bringing a weekend of local theater, music and spoken-word performances. Belmont graduate student Aaron Walters will turn the stage into a music, movement and dance experiment; the magnetic Whit Hill will perform an album she penned entirely about metal detecting; Nashville Repertory Theatre's Playwright-in-Residence Nate Eppler will discuss his fierce, funny and explosive writing; and the Nashville Ballet, Nashville Shakespeare Festival and Circle Playerswill also perform.

·         Operating on Saturday and Sunday, the Youth Stage will feature special activities for kids and kids-at-heart. The Nashville Zoo will tell Animal Tales and introduce curious critters; theNashville Public Library and Wishing Chair Productions Puppet Truck will present The Little Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings; the Adventure Science Center will present Living and Working in Space and Matter Matters; and First Baptist Church Capitol Hill will celebrate its Sesquicentennial.

Participate in one of the weekend’s literary-inspired pursuits.

·         Leave no book unread, booth unexplored or food truck untasted! The Festival is excited to announce the return of the Instagram Scavenger Hunt. Festival programs include a list of items to find and photograph, and participants will upload their photo hunt entries to Instagram with the hashtag #SFBphotohunt. At the end of the weekend, participants with the most entries win a free item from the merchandise tent.

·         The Festival annually attracts 25,000 attendees, and dodging the crowd will be the beloved yet baffling Where’s Waldo. For the third year, inquisitive attendees will be able to participate in the Where’s Waldo Contest by signing up at the Youth Stage. After finding all five Waldo’s, you will be entered to win a prize.

Once you’ve gotten your literary fix, enjoy refreshments from a wide variety of Nashville’s famed food trucks in the Charlotte Avenue food truck line-up including: Crepe a Diem, Yayo's Original Mexican Gourmet, Deg Thai, Slow & Low BBQ, Provence Breads & Café, Crankee's Pizza, Bolton’s Hot Chicken and Fish and The Herbal Lemonade Company.

As you navigate through the wide variety of Plaza activities, browse the more than 50 exhibitors from across the country that line the plaza perimeter, including The New York Times, the Oxford AmericanThe Southern Magazine of Good Writing, Dust-to-Digital and many more.

Before ducking into some of the more than 150 author sessions throughout the weekend, be sure to visit the Parnassus Books book sales tent to purchase books from our 2015 Festival authors, with an opportunity to get them signed after each session. A portion of the proceeds from book sales benefits the Festival. 

Visit www.humanitiestennessee.org/programs/southern-festival-books-celebration-written-word for more information on the Southern Festival of Books, including the star-studded author line-up and schedule. For updates on exciting plaza activities and contests, connect with the Southern Festival of Books on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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