Virtual Southern Festival of Books

Updated: Aug 11, 2020

The 32nd annual Southern Festival of Books: A Celebration of the Written Word is going virtual in 2020. The Festival will be held online October 1-11.

At the event will be over 100 authors! What an amazing experience to be able to connect with all of these authors, who each have their own individual writing styles, genres, and more! There are some very famous authors in the line up, so I really hope you check them out!


Here are some of the children's and young adult authors who will be there!


Betsy Bird is the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library, and the former Youth Materials Specialist of New York Public Library. Betsy reviews for Kirkus, served on the 2007 Newbery Award committee, and her children’s literature blog, A Fuse #8 Production, is hosted by School Library Journal. Betsy is the author of the picture book Giant Dance Party (Greenwillow, 2013) illustrated by Brandon Dorman, and a co-author on the nonfiction book Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature (Candlewick, 2014) which she wrote with fellow bloggers Julie Danielson and Peter Sieruta.


Samira Ahmed received her BA and MAT from the University of Chicago and went on to teach high school English in both the suburbs of Chicago and the New York City Public Schools. After she left the classroom, she worked in education non-profits, helping to create more than seventy small high schools in New York City and fought to secure billions of dollars in public school funding throughout New York State. Samira is the New York Times bestselling author of Love, Hate, & Other Filters and Internment (March 2019) and Mad, Bad, & Dangerous to Know (April 2020).


Kacen Callender Born and raised in St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, Kacen Callender is a bestselling and award-winning author of the middle-grade novels Hurricane Child and King and the Dragonflies, the young-adult novels This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story and Felix Ever After, and the adult novel Queen of the Conquered and its forthcoming sequel King of the Rising. They enjoy playing RPG video games in their free time. Kacen currently resides in Philadelphia, PA.


Sharon Cameron was awarded the 2009 Sue Alexander Most Promising New Work Award by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators for her debut novel, The Dark Unwinding. When not writing Sharon can be found thumbing dusty tomes, shooting her longbow, or indulging in her lifelong search for secret passages.


Doreen Cronin Doreen Cronin was a practicing attorney in Manhattan when her first book Click, Clack Moo: Cows That Type became a publishing success. But her book was not published overnight; in fact, she had written this barnyard tale even before attending law school but only received rejection letters from publishers. Five years after submitting the original manuscript she got a call from a publisher who wanted to turn her story into a book and the rest is history! The busy life of a writer left no room for courtroom litigation and arbitration so Doreen made the leap to being a full-time children”s book author. She then teamed up once again with illustrator Betsy Lewin to write another hilarious barnyard tale, Giggle, Giggle, Quack, that continues the escapades of these lovable animals on a farm. In Doreens book, Diary of a Worm, she explores the daily life of a lovable worm. Who knew that the underground dwellings and activities of worms could be so funny? Readers may even find that worm”s life is much the same as theirs except worm eats his homework and his head looks a whole lot like his rear!


Toni DiTerilizzi #1 New York Times bestselling author and illustrator, Tony DiTerlizzi, has been creating children’s books for twenty years. From fanciful picture books like The Broken Ornament and The Spider & The Fly (a Caldecott Honor book), to chapter books like Kenny and The Dragon and The Search for WondLa, DiTerlizzi imbues his stories with a rich imagination. With Holly Black, he created the middle-grade series, The Spiderwick Chronicles, which has sold over 20 million copies, been adapted into a feature film, and has been translated in over thirty countries. He teamed up with Lucasfilm to retell the original Star Wars trilogy as a picture book and his collaboration with celebrated author Mo Willems created the bestseller The Story of Diva & Flea. The Norman Rockwell museum’s retrospective, “Never Abandon Imagination”, featured artwork from the beginning of DiTerlizzi’s career as an artist for Dungeons & Dragons and broke attendance records. He has been featured in Time magazine, USA Today, CNN, PBS, NPR the BBC and The Today Show.


L.M. Elliot is the pen name of Laura Malone Elliott. She was born on September 17, 1957, close to Washington, DC. award-winning author of young adult novels, including Under a War-Torn Sky, Flying South, Give Me Liberty, and A Troubled Peace, the sequel to Under a War-Torn Sky.


Lamar Giles Lamar Giles is an American author of young adult novels and short stories. He best known for his award-winning novels with his most popular being Fake ID and Endangered. He is also one of the founding members of the American non-profit We Need Diverse Books.


Ruta Sepetys (Rūta Šepetys) is an internationally acclaimed, #1 New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction published in over sixty countries and forty languages. Sepetys is considered a “crossover” novelist as her books are read by both students and adults worldwide. Winner of the Carnegie Medal, Ruta is renowned for giving voice to underrepresented history and those who experienced it.  Her books have won or been shortlisted for over forty book prizes, are included on over thirty state reading lists, and are currently in development for film and television. Ruta is the daughter of a Lithuanian refugee. Born in Michigan, she was raised in a family of artists, readers, and music lovers. Ruta is passionate about the power of history and story to foster global dialogue and connectivity. She has been invited to present at NATO, European Parliament, the U.S. Capitol, the Library of Congress, and Embassies worldwide. She was awarded The Rockefeller Foundation’s prestigious Bellagio Fellowship for her studies on human resilience. The New York Times Book Review declared, “Ruta Sepetys acts as champion of the interstitial people so often ignored—whole populations lost in the cracks of history.” Ruta was bestowed the Cross of the Knight of the Order by the President of Lithuania for her contributions to education and memory preservation and was recently honored with a postage stamp containing her image. She is extremely proud to be of Baltic heritage, even if that means she has a name no one can pronounce.


Phil Stamper grew up in a rural village near Dayton, Ohio. He has a B.A. in Music and an M.A. in Publishing with Creative Writing. And, unsurprisingly, a lot of student debt. He works for a major book publisher in New York City and lives in Brooklyn with his husband and their dog.


Renée Watson Renée Watson is an American teaching artist and author of children's books, best known for her award-winning and New York Times bestselling young adult novel Piecing Me Together, for which she received the John Newbery Honor and the Coretta Scott King Author Award.


Jessica Young Jessica Young is the author of the award-winning chapbook Only as a Body. She has received two Hopwood Awards, a Zell Fellowship, various Ilona Karmel Prizes from MIT, and numerous writing residencies. She teaches at the University of Michigan and lives in Ann Arbor, MI.


Don't worry, there are plenty of authors for adults too!


For the full list of authors, visit:


https://www.humanitiestennessee.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/SFB-2020-AUTHOR-LIST.pdf


For more information as it becomes available for the event, visit:


https://www.humanitiestennessee.org/programs-grants/core-program-overview/southern-festival-of-books-2020/

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