We’re sharing this article today with both our Nashville readers and our Southern Edition readers, as the Southern Festival of Books is a must-attend event for Nashville residents, but it also is the premier author event in the region and draws thousands of visitors. If reading is your passion, this is your weekend to embrace it!

Nashville, Tennessee, is proud to display the South’s literary prowess every year at the Southern Festival of Books, an annual event that celebrates prominent regional authors. Now in its 27th year, the festival is the first of its kind and has served as a model for similar events throughout the country since its inception. This fantastic, free, family-friendly event allows more than 250 best-selling and award-winning authors to interact with the community, to share their ideas, to showcase their work and to open the floor to dialogue. The Southern Festival of Books takes place this weekend, October 9 through 11, at War Memorial Plaza with several sessions taking place at Nashville’s downtown library. Trust us, it’s an event you don’t want to miss!

Over the entire three days, festival attendees can enjoy live music from the Southern Festival of Books music stage. Folk, country, bluegrass and Americana singer-songwriters will fill the air with what Music City is best known for, the perfect complement to the art of the written word.

And you’re bound to get hungry, as this festival is so much fun you won’t want to leave. Food trucks will be on hand to satiate those hunger pangs and allow you to try a variety of cuisines. After downloading the Southern Festival of Books free app, we found the following food trucks plan to be on hand: Bare Naked Bagel, Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish, Crankee’s Pizzeria, Crepe A Diem, Deg Thai, Provence Breads & Café, Slow & Low BBQ and Yayo’s O.M.G.

Yes, there is a free app to the Southern Festival of Books, which makes the event easy to navigate. Download it here. This will allow you to find out what children’s events are occurring and where, what vendors are set up, and where and when the authors are signing books, as well as general information like the location of ATMs, where to park and a map to the entire event.

Poster for The Southern Festival of Books 2015 in Nashville, Tn.

While you will find an abundance of new books, many by the participating authors, do note that there are deals to be made, most especially in the selection of used books offered. There will be a used book sale by Friends of the Public Library, located in the lobby of the main library, which is located near War Memorial Plaza on Church Street. Other used book vendors include McKay Books, as well as Landmark Booksellers, out of Franklin, TN, known for its hard-to-find rare books, including many first editions. And, if you see a featured book that you would like, BookManBookWoman is offering 20 percent off all books featured at the festival—just stop by their shop in Hillsboro Village.

The selection of participating authors this year is diverse, from chefs and food writers to historians, children’s authors and novelists. Each will lead either a panel discussion or present a solo reading from their current works, in addition to book signings after each session. If you’ve been longing for a reason to release your inner bookworm, now is your chance to bask in the rich literary culture of the South.

Panel Discussions at The Southern Festival of Books

Each panel discussion at the festival is worthy of attendance and the full schedule is listed here. We were lucky to score behind-the-scenes interviews with three amazing authors—Lily Clayton Hansen, Kimberly Belle and Beverly Bond—and they have some truly great wisdom to impart. See more information about their panel discussions and interviews below:

Word of Mouth: Nashville Conversations
Lily Clayton Hansen

Sunday, October 11, 12 to 1 p.m.
Auditorium, Nashville Public Library

“The journey of bringing my book to fruition was so ridiculous that it worked. By railing against the system, I produced something that is uniquely me. And at the end of the day, all I am trying to do is contribute to the world and get a better sense of who I really am.”- Lily 

Read all of StyleBlueprint’s in-depth interview with Lily here.

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From The Ashes: Novels of Justice and Hope at Home and Abroad
Corban Addison, Kimberly Belle

Saturday, October 10, 2 to 3 p.m.
Conference Room 2, Nashville Public Library

“All my favorite Tennessee memories happened outdoors–hiking the Appalachian Trail or camping in the Smokies or winding down a country road with the windows rolled down. I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but looking back now, the setting is what made those memories stand out.” – Kimberly

Read all of StyleBlueprint’s in-depth interview with Kimberly here.

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Tennessee Women: Their Lives and Times, Vol. 2
Beverly Bond, Sarah Wilkerson Freeman

Saturday, October 10, 4 – 5 p.m.
Conference Room 3, Nashville Public Library

“I came from a family of very strong women and grew up in a community where women were active as storytellers, organizers and maintainers of secular and religious institutions, preservers of family and community history, and culture. … So, it was just natural that I would decide to focus on the female voice and to recognize their integral roles in local, state and national affairs.” – Beverly

Read all of StyleBlueprint’s in-depth interview with Beverly here.

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The list of panel discussions can be daunting, as there are so many to choose from and we are delighted to see such an engaging group. But if you are looking for a smaller list, here are our picks for national author panel discussions, as well as some local Nashville author panel discussions that we are particularly excited to hear. All are listed in chronological order:

Friday, October 9, 2015

Lucy Negro, Redux
Caroline Randall Williams

Friday, October 9, 12 – 1 p.m.
Artober Performing Arts Stage

John Baeder’s Road Well Taken
John Baeder

Friday, October 9, 12 – 1 p.m.
Room 31, Legislative Plaza

On the Nature of Things: Three Poets
Bill Brown, Laura-Gray Street, Katherine Smith

Friday, October 9, 12 – 1 p.m.
Conference Room 2, Nashville Public Library

Heartbreaking Reckonings: Literary Suspense Novels
Ed Tarkington, Tim Johnston, M.O. Walsh

Friday, October 9, 12 – 1 p.m.
Commons Room, Nashville Public Library

How’s Your Faith?: An Unlikely Spiritual Journey
David Gregory

Friday, October 9, 12 – 1 p.m.
Auditorium, Nashville Public Library

My Southern Heart: A Conversation with Rebecca Wells
Rebecca Wells

Friday, October 9, 1 – 2 p.m.
Room 16, Legislative Plaza

Sunday Dinner and Outdoor Entertaining: Meals that Bring People Together
Tammy Algood, April McKinney

Friday, October 9, 2 – 3 p.m.
Room 30, Legislative Plaza

Soul Food Love: Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family
Caroline Randall Williams, Alice Randall

Friday, October 9, 3 – 4 p.m.
Room 16, Legislative Plaza

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Women’s National Book Association presents Coffee with Authors
Lauren Acampora, Lauren Groff, Ron Rash, Hester Young

Saturday, October 10, 9:30 – 11 a.m.
Auditorium, Nashville Public Library

A Conversation with Pat Conroy
Pat Conroy, Catherine Seltzer

Saturday, October 10, 10 – 11 a.m.
Conference Room 1A-B, Nashville Public Library

Memory, Museum, Muse: Poems
Bridgette Bates, Patricia Waters, Sandy Longhorn

Saturday, October 10, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Conference Room 3, Nashville Public Library

House of Thieves: A Novel
Charles Belfoure

Saturday, October 10, 11a.m. – 12 noon
Room 12, Legislative Plaza

My Southern Journey: True Stories from the Heart of the South
Rick Bragg

Saturday, October 10, 12 – 1 p.m.
Conference Room 1A-B, Nashville Public Library

Food is Love: Best Dishes from Nashville and the South
Nicki Pendleton Wood, Jennifer Justus

Saturday, October 10, 12 – 1 p.m.
Banner Room, Nashville Public Library

Robert Churchwell: Writing News, Making History
Gloria Respress-Churchwell, Kevin B. Churchwell, Alexandria Churchwell, Michael McBride, Bryard Huggins

Saturday, October 10, 12:30 – 2 p.m.
Room 29, Legislative Plaza

Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables
Nathalie Dupree, Cynthia Graubart

Saturday, October 10, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Room 12, Legislative Plaza

From The Ashes: Novels of Justice and Hope at Home and Abroad
Corban Addison, Kimberly Belle

Saturday, October 10, 2 – 3 p.m.
Conference Room 2, Nashville Public Library

The Secret Chord
Geraldine Brooks

Saturday, October 10, 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
War Memorial Auditorium

Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story
David Maraniss

Saturday, October 10, 3 – 4 p.m.
Room 16, Legislative Plaza

Tennessee Women: Their Lives and Times, Vol. 2
Beverly Bond, Sarah Wilkerson Freeman

Saturday, October 10, 4 – 5 p.m.
Conference Room 3, Nashville Public Library

Nancy
Guy Gilchrist

Saturday, October 10, 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Auditorium, Nashville Public Library

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Word of Mouth: Nashville Conversations
Lily Clayton Hansen

Sunday, October 11, 12 – 1 p.m.
Auditorium, Nashville Public Library

Deep South: Four Seasons on Back Roads
Paul Theroux

Sunday, October 11, 12 – 1 p.m.
Conference Room 1A-B, Nashville Public Library

Crooked Letter I: Coming Out in the South
B. Andrew Plant, Liz Craven, Christina Holzhauser, Ed Madden, Vickie Spray

Sunday, October 11, 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Conference Room 1A-B, Nashville Public Library

The Southern Festival of Books promises great events for kids and young adult readers, too. There will be a handful of children’s book authors, storytellers, illustrators, educators and librarians sharing their wisdom of new and old books in all genres. Encourage your family and friends to celebrate literature with people of all ages and feel inspired by the undeniable power of the written word.

To see the entire weekend schedule of events, click here and remember to download the free Southern Festival of Books app, here.

Find more great events happening this month near you, click here

Have a great weekend!