5 Major American Literary Festivals

Fancy a trip across the pond?

Whilst it could be argued that the most prized literary works in the English language originate from our sceptred isle (as a certain English wordsmith once put it), modern history has given rise to some truly significant writers from the land of the brave and free.

Although the origins of the novel can certainly be traced back to English writers such as Daniel Defoe and John Bunyan, it wasn’t long until American writers such as Thomas Attwood Digges and William Hill Brown followed suit with celebrated works of their own. These early American works were quickly surpassed in popularity by the writing of Susanna Rowson and Harriet Beecher Stowe. These writers led the way for modern writers from all social classes and backgrounds to engage with the written word, paving the way for eminent writers such as Edgar Allen Poe, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, amongst others, to carve out an American style which is continued and celebrated today in a huge variety of literary festivals in the States.

Fall for the Book

Based in George Mason University, Virginia, Fall for the Book is a completely independent non-profit book festival that serves as the flagship event for the year, held in October each year. Readers are connected with hundreds of authors each year, with the Fall for the Book acting as the focal point for the year’s festivities. Authors at this year’s event include book club picks David Grann, Rainbow Rowell and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Kansas Book Festival

Taking place this year in (you guessed it!) Kansas, this book festival is solely focused on providing fans of fiction the opportunity to learn more about their favourite books and authors. It’s origins begin with First Lady Mary Brownback back in 2011, the first event of which hosted 900 attendees and 30 authors, including David Eisenhower, Chester Nez, Alexandra Robbins and Frank White. Since its inception, the Festival has made thousands of dollars of grants available to schools in the State, spreading the written word more with every passing year.

Savannah Book Festival

Now in itsĀ  12th year, the Savannah Book Festival is peculiar in that it is completely free to all attendees, meaning that people from all walks of life and experience the curated series of solo author presentations, readings and workshops. From its humble beginnings at the Trinity United Methodist Church in 2008, the Festival has grown to become one of the major literary events in Georgia with over 40 authors (local, regional and national) appearing at over seven venues around downtown Savannah.

Boston Book Festival

If you’ve not had the opportunity to visit Boston yet, then their annual Book Festival might be just the thing to get you there. In addition to a full roster of year-round events, the flagship event is one of the largest of its kinds in the states and offers readers the opportunity to meet some of the biggest literary names in the country. This year’s event sees Erin Entrada Kelly, Elizabeth Strout, Samantha Power and Reginald Dwayne Betts, amongst others, take to the stage to present their works, discuss their influences and share their experiences.

Would you rather visit a literary festival in the UK? Check out our top picks for Literary Festivals in the Countryside and in the City!