News in Brief: Virginia Festival of the Book Is a Literary Hoos’ Hoo

March 5, 2024
Birthday cake made of a book with a lit candle on it

The Virginia Festival of the Book is celebrating its 30th anniversary with this year’s events, which run March 20-24. (Photo illustration by John DiJulio, University Communications)

The Virginia Festival of the Book, a yearly celebration of reading put on by the Virginia Center for the Book through Virginia Humanities, kicks off on March 20.

The festival opens with a ’90s music-themed launch party hosted by music critic Rob Harvilla at Common House on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall. You don’t have to wear era-appropriate attire, but you might harsh the vibe.

This year’s programming marks the festival’s 30th anniversary.

“It’s very exciting for my second year to be the festival’s 30th,” said Kalela Williams, director of the Virginia Center for the Book.

Kalela Williams

Kalela Williams is in her second year as the director of the Virginia Center for the Book. (Contributed photo)

Organizers are throwing a birthday party for the festival, called Wordy Thirty, on March 23 at the Bradbury and Vault Virginia on the Downtown Mall. The party follows a full day of programs at the Paramount Theater, but the birthday bash is only a part of the festivities. On March 23, festivalgoers can attend talks by Danica Roem, Virginia’s first openly transgender state senator; U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón; New York Times bestselling feminist author Roxane Gay; and Percival Everett, a Pulitzer Prize finalist whose novel “Erasure” inspired the Academy Award-nominated movie “American Fiction.”

The festival has offerings for readers of all tastes. Crime junkies can hear from bestselling writer Cara Black; younger readers may check out Lauren Blackwood’s latest fantasy novel; and nonfiction fans can delve into memoirist Jeanette Walls’ foray into historical fiction.

“If you’re a person who likes community, who likes meeting people who also have thoughts and ideas, this is a festival for you,” Williams said.

Tickets for the festival, which runs from March 20-24, are on sale now. Looking to give back? The Virginia Festival of the Book needs volunteers. Sign up here.

Media Contact

Alice Berry

University News Associate Office of University Communications