Humanities Tennessee has announced a lineup of award-winning, bestselling authors who will headline the 28th annual Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, taking place Oct. 14-16. The roster includes such notables as Megan Abbott, Cat Cora, Gayle Forman, John Hart, Adam Hochschild, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jay McInerney, Ann Patchett, Curtis Sittenfeld andKimberly Williams-Paisley.

The Southern Festival of Books is a free event that annually attracts 25,000 attendees to meet their favorite authors, become familiar with talented new writers, and engage like-minded fans and followers of great literature. The Festival has become one of the most popular literary events in the country, as guests travel to Nashville to experience an abundance of authors and their books, along with food, entertainment and culture.

The fundraising dinner Authors in the Round on Friday, October 14, provides patrons with an evening of dining and social conversation with the authors.

Marquee appearances and events the 2016 Festival will feature:

  • Former and current Nashvillians including author and owner of Parnassus Books Ann Patchett (Commonwealth), novelist and respected wine critic Jay McInerney (Bright, Precious Days: A Novel), fantasy writer Sherrilyn Kenyon(DragonMark) and musician Kix Brooks (Cookin’ It With Kix: The Art of Celebrating and the Fun of Outdoor Cooking).
  • New York Times-bestselling authors Curtis Sittenfeld (Eligible: A Retelling of Pride and Prejudice), John Hart(Redemption Road) and Gayle Forman (Leave Me), who has transitioned from young-adult books to debut her first adult novel.
  • Award winning nonfiction authors such as National Book Award winner Adam Hochschild (Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939) and New York Times- bestselling author Matthew Desmond (Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City).
  • New fiction from acclaimed authors Megan Abbott (You Will Know Me: A Novel), Gyasi Yaa (Homegoing: A Novel),Donald Ray Pollock (The Heavenly Table), Libby Ware (Lum) and Brad Watson (Miss Jane).
  • Humanities Tennessee will partner with the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities at Vanderbilt University to present a special track on “The Pulitzer Prize in the 21st Century,” featuring fiction winner Robert Olen Butler (Perfume River) and renowned photographer Robert Cohen, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2015 for his coverage of the Ferguson riots. Performances of Pulitzer-winning music and a special interactive presentation on media literacy will also be offered.
  • Celebrated children’s and young-adult authors David Arnold (Kids of Appetite), Lauren Oliver (Replica), C.J. Redwine (The Shadow Queen), Beth Revis (A World Without You) and Jason Reynolds (As Brave as You).
  • Solo and Q&A sessions with television, film and music legends Kimberly Williams-Paisley (actress from ABC’s hit show Nashville, wife of country music star Brad Paisley, and author of Where the Light Gets In), Bill Anderson (Whisperin’ Bill Anderson: An Unprecedented Life in Country Music), Sean Patrick Flanery (Jane, Two: A Novel).

For a full lineup of Festival authors, click here.

In addition to three days of author readings and talks, the Festival also features three performance stages. A music stage focuses on the incredible talent of the Nashville music community, and the Artober performing arts stage offers theater, spoken word, and poetry throughout the weekend. The Festival children’s stage features authors, musicians, performers, crafts, character costumes, and parties celebrating beloved children’s books.

The Festival is committed to curating a diverse collection of books by authors who will discuss and autograph their books. This group includes writers of adult, young-adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction, Pulitzer Prize winners, New York Times bestsellers and book-club favorites. Sixty publishers, booksellers and nonprofit organizations will exhibit at the event, and Parnassus Books serves as the onsite bookseller.

All interested media (online, print, broadcast, etc.) can arrange author interviews and access photographs and promotional materials by sending a request to or by calling (615) 242-8856.


The Southern Festival of Books is presented by Humanities Tennessee, a non-profit organization that promotes humanities education across Tennessee. The Festival is proudly sponsored by the National Endowment for Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, Tennessee Arts Commission, Nashville Public Library, Ingram Content Group, The Memorial Foundation, Dollar General Literacy Foundation, Middle Tennessee State University, Parnassus Books and the Nashville Scene.

Humanities Tennessee and The Southern Festival of Books are online at Join the Festival on Facebook and follow it on Twitter and Instagram @SoFestBooks.