Southern Festival of Books Announces List of Award-Winning Authors, Poets and Literary Legends

Annual festival brings literary and cultural leaders to Nashville for panel discussions, readings and discussions

Humanities Tennessee today announced the initial slate of award-winning bestselling authors who will headline the 34th Annual Southern Book Festival, which will be held in person at War Memorial Plaza and the Nashville Public Library’s main branch of October 14 to 16, 2022.

The festival will feature appearances from over 200 authors, offering attendees the chance to connect with their favorite writers through a series of live events, panels, book signings and more. The list includes Joshua Cohen, Rick Bragg, Tayari Jones, Andrew Sean Greer, Julie Otsuka, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Margo Price, Patrick Radden Keefe, Diane Kruger, and Andre Young, among others.

“We are delighted and honored to welcome so many esteemed and talented writers to 34e Annual Southern Book Festival, said Tim Henderson, executive director of Humanities Tennessee. “This year’s festival was already shaping up to be a momentous event, as we came together in person for the first time in three years, but the fact that so many brilliant authors are joining us makes it even more special. Our entire team is looking forward to what we think will be our best festival yet.

Marquee appearances and events for the 2022 Southern Book Festival will include:

  • JOSHUA COHEN (The Netanyahus: the story of a minor and ultimately even negligible episode in the history of a very famous family): Cohen’s most recent novel is a 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winner, winner of the 2021 National Jewish Book Award for Fiction, 2021 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction finalist, and named one of the best in history. year books of The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Kirkus, AV Club, and The telegraphamong others.
  • RICK BRAGG (Speckled Beauty: A Dog and His People): Bragg is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and best-selling author, known for his thoughts on life in the South. He is the author of 12 books, including The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Mom’s Table, Everywhere except the screams and The Prince of Frogtown.
  • TAYARI JONES (Black Folk Could Fly: Selected Writings by Randall Kenan): Jones is a 2021 Guggenheim Scholar, a New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Orange Award, Aspen Words Award, and an NAACP Image Award. Her 2018 novel An American wedding was an Oprah book club selection and was on President Obama’s summer reading list. She wrote the introduction to Black Folk Could Fly: Selected Writings by Randall Kenan, which will be released on August 9, 2022.
  • ANDREW SEAN GREER (Less is Lost: A Novel): Greer is a Pulitzer Prize-winning and best-selling novelist. Her next novel, Less is lost: a novel, follows on from Lesswhich won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Less is Lost: A Novel will be released on September 20, 2022.
  • MARGO PRICE (Maybe we’ll get there: a memoir): The Grammy-nominated country music artist and producer will make her literary debut on October 4, 2022, with the release of Maybe we’ll get there: a memoira story of “loss, motherhood and the search for artistic freedom”.
  • JULIE OTSUKA (The swimmers: a novel): The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Otsuka is the best-selling author of The Buddha in the Attic and When the emperor was divine.
  • DOLEN PERKINS-VALDEZ (Take My Hand: A Novel): Perkins-Valdez is a New York Times best-selling author, two-time NAACP Image Awards finalist and recipient of the DC Commission on the Arts Grant. Inspired by real events, her recently published novel Take my hand is about “a black nurse from post-segregated Alabama who speaks out against terrible harm to her patients.”
  • DIANE KRUGER (A name from heaven): Kruger’s acting career spans more than two decades in film and television, earning her the Cannes Film Festival award for Best Actress in 2017. The German actress and mother makes her literary debut on October 25, 2022, with the autobiographical children’s book, A name from heaven.
  • ANDRE YOUNG (The Many Lives of Andrew Young): Politician, diplomat, activist, and philanthropist, Young was a civil rights leader, Georgia’s first black congressman, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, mayor of Atlanta, co-chair of the Summer Olympics in 1996, co-founder of Good Works International and co-founder of the Andrew Young Foundation. This new biography of the famous Atlanta Journal-Constitution journalist Ernie Suggs examines Young’s illustrious and dynamic career.
  • PATRICK RADDEN KEEFE (Thieves: True Stories of Scammers, Killers, Rebels and Swindlers): The new book by best-selling author and award-winning journalist Keefe, Thieves: True Stories of Scammers, Killers, Rebels and Swindlersis a collection of 12 New Yorker articles about criminals and scammers.
  • The theme track in partnership with the Robert Penn Warren Center at Vanderbilt is “Mending and Transforming” and will include GAL BECKERMANauthor of The Silence Before: On the Unexpected Origins of Radical Ideas and editor of books at Atlantic.
  • The Southern Festival of Books will again partner with the Southern Foodways Alliance for a panel on food and culture with the winner of the John Egerton award, to be announced.

For a full list of festival authors, click here. Additional authors and other special announcements will be added to the list every Friday.

In addition to 75 sessions over three days, the festival also features 60 vendors, food trucks, as well as three performance stages. A Music Stage focuses on the incredible talent of Nashville’s music community, and the Performing Arts Stage features drama, spoken word and poetry throughout the weekend. The festival’s children’s stage and activity center, presented in partnership with Turnip Green Creative Reuse, features authors, musicians, performers, crafts, character costumes and parties celebrating well-known children’s books. -loved.

The festival features authors from a wide variety of genres, including fiction and non-fiction, young adult literature, poetry, science fiction and mystery. Featured festival books are available for purchase and can be signed by authors during the event. Parnassus Books is the festival bookseller.

All interested media can arrange author interviews and access photographs and promotional material by sending a request to [email protected].

For a regularly updated list of all authors, please visit To learn more about the Southern Festival of Books and to stay up to date with festival announcements, please follow us on Twitter (@SoFestofBooks), Facebook (@SoFestofBooks) and on instagram (@softestofbooks).


The Southern Festival of Books is presented by Humanities Tennessee, a nonprofit organization that promotes humanities education throughout Tennessee. The festival is proudly sponsored by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, Tennessee Arts Commission, Nashville Public Library, Ingram Content Group, Vanderbilt University, Parnassus Books and the Nashville Scene.


Humanities Tennessee is a nonprofit organization that fosters community and civility in Tennessee through engaging programs that examine and reflect on ideas, stories, history, arts, and culture. In addition to our own programming, we partner with a variety of organizations across the state that similarly encourage community dialogue and activities that challenge us to think deeper and develop mutual respect and understanding. each other.

Humanities Tennessee, formerly the Tennessee Humanities Council, is the state branch of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Founded in 1973, we continue to develop ways to connect, learn and grow as a community.

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