If you follow my Instagram, you know that I spent the weekend at the Southern Festival of Books in downtown Nashville! It happens every year, but this was the first year that I was able to go, and I have to say, it was magical.
Friday, October 12
I started off the first day early, and got to the festival about an hour before it actually started. I wanted to be able to get the lay of the land, take some nice pictures before there were a ton of people, and grab some lunch from one of the food trucks.
I was super pumped! I think this was the best way to start off my festival experience. I wasn’t having to rush around trying to find where things were as they were happening. I was able to plan out my day and feel calm and confident (which can be difficult with my anxiety issues).
Next I walked around the library to figure out where the rooms my panels were being held were. If you have never been to the Nashville Public Library, make it a destination next time you visit. It is absolutely gorgeous, and it is filled with books. What more could you want?!
I went to two panels on Friday. The first panel was The Heft of History: Novels of Personal and Monumental Decisions. It was about historical fiction, which is one of my favorite genres. I went specifically to see Ariel Lawhon. She was there talking about her latest book, I Was Anastasia. It was fascinating to hear the story behind it, and about her writing process. Also on the panel was Jane Lorenzini talking about her book, After the Rain. This is her first novel, and it sounds absolutely fantastic! I knew I had to buy it. So, I went straight to the Parnassus tent after the panel and bought her book so I could get both of their signatures.
The second panel I went to on Friday was a teen panel called Fantasy with a Vengeance! I went to the panel to see Laura Sebastian, the author of Ash Princess. I had just finished reading it a couple of days before this panel, so I was extra excited to see her. Also on the panel was Lisa Maxwell, who I had heard of before but knew nothing about. She is the author of the Last Magician series, as well as Unhooked. They were both absolutely delightful, and now I have a brand new series to binge!
This rounded off my first day of the festival, only after getting some delicious ice cream, of course! I was going to come back with friends for the second day, which was great because it is always even more fun to fangirl over your favorite authors with friends!
Saturday, October 13
My friend, Lori, stayed the night with me and did my makeup for the second day at the festival. We met up with a bunch of my friends (all former co-workers from the bookstore) and got breakfast before the first event of the day, Coffee with the Authors! There were four authors there to talk about their books: Rebecca Makkai, Abigail DeWitt, Alexander Chee, and Wayétu Moore. I was the most excited about Rebecca Makkai and Abigail DeWitt‘s books, The Great Believers and News of Our Loved Ones, respectively. So, those were the two that I later got signed!
After we got our books signed, we headed over to a teen panel called The Heart of the Matter: YA Novels of Life and Love. I had heard great things about Rachael Allen‘s book, A Taxonomy of Love. She was so sweet and shy, and I want to be her friend! Unsurprisingly, I fell in love with Jen Doll as well, talking about her book Unclaimed Baggage. Getting to talk to them afterwards in the signing tent was so great. They were both so sweet and I want to read everything they have ever written now!
After that, we went to our third and final panel of the day, Gunslingers, Mysteries, and Wonderland: New YA Heroines. I was super pumped to see Lyndsay Ely, the author of Gunslinger Girl. It was so much fun to hear her talk about wanting to write a heroine that is strong just because she is a strong person, not because she is a strong girl.
That was the end of day two of the festival for us! It was going to be super rainy on day three, and it was going to be super busy, so we walked around and just savored the lovely weather for a while before we headed home. And we might have gotten ice cream a second time 😉
Sunday, October 14
As was predicted, it was super rainy and dreary on the third day of the festival. But, after meeting my friend Heidi for lunch beforehand, we went to see Victoria Schwab to start of the day, and she was perfect! She was also excited about the weather because it reminded her of Edinburgh, where she lives, and I immediately fell in love with her then and there. Y’all know how much I love Edinburgh! Now, don’t yell at me, but I’ve actually never read anything by Victoria Schwab… (I’m ducking so you don’t throw things at me) She has been on my TBR forever, and now I have the first book in three of her series, so I will remedy this oversight very quickly!!
After waiting in line for Victoria Schwab, we made our way over to the War Memorial Auditorium to see Celeste Ng and Tayari Jones talk about their books, Little Fires Everywhere and An American Marriage, respectively. They were both such a delight! I’ve listened to the audiobook of Little Fires Everywhere, but I’ve never read her first book, Everything I Never Told You. So, that was the book I had her sign. Now I have no excuse 😉 I had not intended to get An American Marriage, but Tayari Jones was absolutely fantastic, so I just had to get it!
Unfortunately for me, there were too many authors that I wanted to see on Sunday. They all had panels happening at the same time, so I didn’t get to see three of them speak, but I was able to get their autographs in my books. These three lovely authors were Anna-Marie McLemore, author of Blanca & Roja; Rachel Hawkins, author of Royals; and Tiffany Schmidt, author of Bookish Boyfriends: A Date with Darcy. All three of them were so sweet, and had huge lines to get their books signed.
All in all, I had an amazing time at the Southern Festival of Books! This is definitely going to become a yearly excursion for me. I got so many amazing books, discovered amazing authors, and made even more amazing memories. I will leave you with a picture of me attempting to hold all of the books that I got signed this weekend.
Needless to say, I am going to be covered as far as books go for a loooonnnnggg time!! I am actually going to try to go on a book buying ban for the rest of the year (apart from the two author signings I have later on this month!!) Wish me luck!!
Have you ever gone to the Southern Festival of Books? Have you gone to any other book festivals? What was your experience there? Who were some authors you discovered because of a book festival or event? Let me know down in the comments!
Love and happy reading,