Southern Festival of Books 2021

Photograph courtesy of Humanities Tennessee

The Southern Festival of Books has announced the first author lineup for the in-person portion of the festival at War Memorial Plaza. It was recently announced that the 33rd annual Celebration of the Written Word will be back on War Memorial Plaza for some live events, signings, sales, musical entertainment, a beer garden and food trucks.

After learning a great deal of lessons from last year’s entirely online festival, Humanities Tennessee has also announced that they will host virtual talks and programming in the weeks surrounding the in-person event, which will offer book lovers all over the world a chance to join in the festivities. That lineup is available online and is always expanding the closer we get to the event.

The lineup for the in-person events is also expanding, but we’re excited to have the first look at this year’s authors, which include two-time Grammy award-winner Rickie Lee Jones in conversation with NPR music critic Ann Powers to discuss her memoir, Last Chance Texaco: Chronicles of an American Troubadour; Brian Broome, whose debut memoir, Punch Me Up to the Gods, is receiving praise for its exploration of the intersections of being Black, male and gay; author and journalist David Zucchino, who won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction for his book Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy; and Benjami Labatut, whose When We Cease to Understand the World made it onto President Obama’s 2021 summer reading list.

“Every year, we seek to put on an event for readers and writers across the country to celebrate their favorite works, discover new favorites and connect with fellow book lovers, and this year’s event is no exception,” says Tim Henderson, executive director of Humanities Tennessee. “We couldn’t be more thrilled with this festival lineup and are grateful for the opportunity to offer our attendees the option to celebrate the written word through in-person and virtual experiences.”

For more information on the Southern Festival of Books, visit