About Us

The Virginia Festival of the Book brings together writers and readers to promote and celebrate books, reading, literacy, and literary culture over five days in Charlottesville and Albemarle County every March.

The 26th annual Virginia Festival of the Book will take place March 18-22, 2020.

Produced by the Virginia Humanities, the largest of the 56 state (and territory) humanities councils, the Festival is a program of the Virginia Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

The Festival is the largest community-based book event in the Mid-Atlantic region and has attracted audiences of more than 20,000 for each of the past thirteen years. The Festival’s annual attendance reached more than 30,000 in March 2017. Attendees come from more than thirty states. We have presented a captivating list of authors, ranging from international bestsellers to topical specialists to debut authors. An abbreviated list of past participants includes Rick Atkinson, David Baldacci, Douglas Brinkley, Edwidge Danticat, Rita Dove, Nikki Giovanni, Jan Karon, Representative John Lewis, Beth Macy, Sonia Manzano, Colum McCann, Margot Lee Shetterly, Bryan Stevenson, Joseph Stiglitz, Elizabeth Strout, Natasha Trethewey, and Lawrence Wright. A more complete list of past participants can be seen here.

The Festival established a reputation for offering deeply engaging discussions of important contemporary issues from its first programs in 1995. More recently, in 2013, the Festival presented “American Icons: A Conversation with the Honorable John Lewis and Dr. John Carlos,” during which contemporaries Lewis and Carlos, who came of age in the Civil Rights era and who had never before met, shared their experiences advocating for civil and human rights. In 2016, Bryan Stevenson spoke about social justice, followed by questions from John Grisham. In 2017 Margot Lee Shetterly and Dava Sobel discussed the long unsung contributions of women in science and Joseph Stiglitz discussed economic inequality with Frank Sesno.

The Festival offers about 250 programs, most of them free, and provides book discussions in every genre and for every level of reader. In 2017 the Festival also scheduled one hundred author visits into local K-12 classrooms, providing programs for more than 10,000 students.

All programs are open to the public and, with the exception of a few ticketed events, the majority of Festival programs are free to attend.

The Festival is presented through a unique partnership of contributors that includes Virginia Humanities, foundations, corporations, bookstores, schools, libraries, area businesses and organizations, and committed individuals. This partnership results in programs on a wide range of topics taking place at a variety of venues throughout the City of Charlottesville, County of Albemarle, and the University of Virginia.

The Festival has become an integral part of the Charlottesville and Albemarle County community. It was formally recognized as such when it was named a Signature Event by the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau.

In support of the staff, almost every aspect of the Festival is organized and generated by Festival Committees of community volunteers who generously contribute their time and energy.

Future Festival Dates

The 26th annual Virginia Festival of the Book
March 18-22, 2020

The 27th annual Virginia Festival of the Book
March 17-21, 2021

The 28th annual Virginia Festival of the Book
March 16-20, 2022

The 29th annual Virginia Festival of the Book
March 22-26, 2023

The 30th annual Virginia Festival of the Book
March 20-24, 2024


Jane Kulow
Director, Virginia Center for the Book
434 924-7548

Sarah Lawson
Assistant Director, Virginia Center for the Book
434 982-2983

Tori Talbot
Events Manager, Virginia Humanities
434 243-8809