Independent Book Review did some research to find the best literary festivals of 2018, starting in May. Which ones should you add to your list?
The year, like time in general, can sometimes escape us.
Our schedules get in the way, things come up, and I for one will admit that I haven’t made it to any of the first literary festivals of 2018. There, I said it. There are so many available to me, and still, this is my truth. It’s out there, but I’m unashamed–because there is hope for me yet!
I know I’m not the only one who slacked on the lit opportunities of the beginning of 2018, but we need to be ready to try again midway through. Festivals celebrating our love for all things literary are crawling throughout the country, especially in the summer months, and there are options in nearly every state.
So here it is: a quick list of some of the best remaining literary festivals of 2018.
Lit Fest Pasadena – Pasadena, California •May 19th & 20th 2018 • Free
This weekend of literary programs features performances, panels, and in-conversation events. They are held in multiple venues in Pasadena and all within walking distance of each other. Now in its 7th year, The Lit Fest Pasadena aims to represent the greater Los Angeles literary community through this writer-driven festival by its free admission and all-ages programming. I’m sure it’s gonna be lit!!! (had to do it)
Printers Row Lit Fest – Chicago, Illinois • June 9th & 10th 2018 • Free
Considered the largest free literary event in the Midwest, this festival takes up over 5 city blocks in Chicago’s Printers Row neighborhood. The festival offers a free and enjoyable two days of book vendors, food, and author readings if there are seats available. To make a claim to your spot in the crowd at your favorite author reading, $2 general tickets can be purchased. But if you’re willing to risk it or just want to browse the vendors on the block, the event is totally free!
Harlem Book Fair – Harlem, NY • July 21st 2018 • Free
Celebrate the 20th anniversary of America’s largest African American book fair in Harlem this July, where famous authors like Maya Angelou, Nelson George, and Mark Anthony Neal have all presented in the past. You can get involved by taking some of their writing workshops or just sit back and listen to the wealth of knowledge coming from their always-amazing speakers.
AJC Decatur Book Festival – Decatur, Georgia •August 31st – September 2nd 2018 • Free
Attend the largest independent book festival in the country this Labor Day weekend in Decatur, Georgia. This event is completely free and expects around 80,000 attendees this year. Poetry slams, writing workshops, and author readings are just a few reasons to look forward to this lively festival.
National Book Festival – Washington DC • September 1st 2018 • Free
Get ready for a huge literary celebration in our nation’s capital with the National Book Festival. Key note speakers for the 2018 event include Isabelle Allende, Amy Tan, and Jennifer Egan! These are only a few of the big names attending this year’s festival, with more being announced as we get closer to the event. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s sponsored by the Library of Congress either (just minutes away from the conference center), the biggest library in the world!
Boston Book Festival – Boston Massachusetts- October 13th 2018 – Free
This free event features So. Many. Awesome workshops and lectures. We were lucky enough to attend last year and had an amazing time. Vendors line the streets outside of the Boston Public library. Schedules get posted early, in order to help you plan your day with lectures by a variety of authors and literary professionals. Some of our favorite lectures? Independent Publishers of New England and Margot Livesey!
Wordstock – Portland, Oregon • November 10 2018 • $15
Held in and around the Portland Art Museum, this event includes writing workshops, pop-up readings and over 100 author presentations. Pre-ordered tickets cost $15, but that includes a $5 book voucher, redeemable at an excellent book fair filled with lit mags, publishers, and more. Your entry fee grants you access to every event held at the festival, so long as you get there before each even reaches capacity.
To be quite honest, nothing seemed to be going on for this month. We’re just keeping it real, but if you know of anything we’d love to hear about it!