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Bookmarks Festival of Books and Authors - September 7-10, 2017

Bookmarks Festival of Books and Authors, the largest book and author festival in the Carolinas celebrated 12 years with the 2016 festival, which expanded from a three-day event to four days. Held in downtown Winston-Salem, the festival takes place along Spruce Street and inside of the contemporary Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts.

The 2017 Festival dates have been announced for September 7-10!  Check back soon for additional information! In the meantime, check out this video to learn more about the power of books and the purpose of Bookmarks Festival of Books and Authors!



Each year, more than 15,000 festival goers enjoy enriching panel discussions with national best-selling authors, Eat & Greet events and exciting family activities that engage young readers. More than 40 guest authors attending have written a cumulative 300 New York Times best sellers and are winners of prestigious awards such as the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the Coretta Scott King Honor Award. 

2016 Keynote Speakers

Author Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran) and best-selling author, John Grisham each spoke to large crowds at keynote lectures on Opening and Closing Nights of the Festival. 

To see the full list of authors, click here.

Panel discussions are held on topics such as: Book Club Favorites; Celebrating a Love of Books: The Importance of Reading at Every Age; Celebrating Diversity in Books; Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair: Exploring the Controversial Issues Surrounding Collegiate and Professional Sports Today; Journey of a Book: From Writing and Selling to Editing and Publishing to Marketing and Book Tours; and That’s Not My Genre: Looking Beyond Book Labels.

2016 Festival Schedule:

Thursday, September 8

Celebrating the Culture of Books featuring Azar Nafisi
Thursday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.
Location: Hanesbrands Theatre, 209 Spruce St N, Winston-Salem, NC
Tickets: Click here to buy tickets

Azar Nafisi, an international bestseller, is most notable for "Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books" which spent 117 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. Her most recent book, "The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books," is a powerful and passionate case for the vital role of fiction in America today. Nafisi is also a professor of aesthetics, culture, and literature.

Tickets are $22 general admission and may be purchased online here or by phone at (336) 747-1471. General admission includes one ticket, a paperback copy of The Republic of Imagination, followed by a book signing.

Day-of tickets* will be available for $30 if purchased at the door.
Doors open at 6:15 p.m. Program begins at 7 p.m.

VIP Admission: $55 for premier admission (only available if purchased in advance). This includes one ticket for the 7 p.m. event with reserved premier seating, free parking, and an intimate private reception with Azar Nafisi beginning at 5:30 p.m. featuring heavy hors d’oeuvres, local Raffaldini wine, a paperback copy of The Republic of Imagination, and a book signing.

*Based on availability.
(Photo credit: Stanley Staniski)


Friday, September 9

Eat & Greet with Terry McMillan
Sweet Potatoes Restaurant (529 Trade Street, Winston-Salem, NC)
Doors open at 8 a.m., Program begins at 8:30 a.m.
Tickets: $40; Click here to buy.

Terry McMillan’s novels "Waiting to Exhale" and "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" each spent months on The New York Times Bestseller list and the films based on each were highly successful earning seven Grammys and a MTV award.

Admission by ticket only. Buy tickets online or call 336-747-1471. Tickets are $40 and include entry for one, a hardcover copy of I Almost Forgot About You, breakfast by Sweet Potatoes with Terry McMillan, followed by a book signing. Doors open at 8 a.m.

Eat & Greet with Karen Robards
Salemtowne Retirement Community (190 Moravian Way Drive, Winston-Salem)
Time: Lunch at noon followed by author talk at 1 p.m. 
Tickets (for private lunch): $40; Click here to buy tickets

Karen Robards is the author of 50 romance and suspense books and a regular on the bestseller lists. Proclaimed as "one of the most popular voices in women's fiction" by Newsweek, her newest novel is "Darkness."
Tickets include private lunch at Karen Robards and a copy of Darkness. The talk is free and open to the public. 

Admission by ticket only for the 12:00 lunch: buy tickets online / 336-747-1471. Tickets are $37 and include entry for one, a hardcover copy of Darkness, lunch with Karen Robards, reserved seating for the 1:00 p.m. talk, followed by a booksigning.

Free Festival of Books & Authors

Walking Tour of Winston-Salem Arts District
Trade Street, Downtown Winston-Salem
4 – 6 p.m.
Tickets: $25; Click here to buy tickets

Learn about Winston-Salem's storied past while on a walking tour through or downtown art district. Local experts lead you on a guided tour with stops at Small Batch Beer Co., Mast General Store, and 6th & Vine. Meet Festival authors Danny Bernstein, Paullina Simons, and Ross White at the stops and enjoy savory samples of local food and drinks.
Tickets are required and include a spot for one on the walking tour, samplings at each stop & meet and greets with authors.

Reservations must be made in advance. Attendees will be emailed about where to meet tour guides. 

Saturday, September 10

Eat & Greet with Kate DiCamillo
Five Points Restaurant, 109 South Stratford Road, Winston-Salem
Time: 8:30 – 9:30 a.m.
Tickets: $40; Click here to buy tickets

Kate DiCamillo is one of six children’s book authors to have received the Newbery Medal twice, recognizing her books, The Tale of Despereaux and Flora and Ulysses. Her many books include the Mercy Watson Series and Because of Winn-Dixie, which was ranked 30th in the top 100 all-time children’s novels by School Library Journal.

Your ticket includes breakfast and a copy of DiCamillo’s new book, Raymie Nightingale.
Doors open at 8 a.m.
Discounted tickets for teacher are available. Email for details.

Free Festival of Books & Authors 
9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Milton Rhodes  Center for the Arts (209 Spruce Street, Winston-Salem, NC)

Saturday's free festival features festival conversations and panel discussions from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. featuring the more than 40 award-winning authors. The key to Bookmarks is to map out your day ahead of time. That way the festival is tailored for you to enjoy every moment from the "Interlude" to "The End." The festival is at the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts and along Spruce and Marshall streets in Downtown Winston-Salem. Have a book at home written by a presenting author? Bring it along! Chances are you'll get to have it signed before the day's over.

While you're downtown, head over to Fourth Street and Trade Streets for a plethora of local restaurant and gallery options. Or, if you're looking for suggestions on where to eat or what to do and see after festival hours, make your way to the Winston-Salem Visitor Center located at 200 Brookstown Avenue in downtown -- just blocks away from the festival. 

The Visitor Center is open Monday - Friday; 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. You can also call 336.728.4200 to speak with a Visitor Center specialist. 

To view the entire Festival schedule at a glance, CLICK HERE

Sunday, September 11

Keynote Closing Event with John Grisham
R. J. Reynolds Auditorium (301 Hawthorne Rd NW, Winston-Salem, NC)
4 p.m. (Doors open at 3 p.m.)
Tickets: $22/general admission in advance or $35/general admission + copy of John Grisham book; Click here to buy tickets.

Best-selling author, John Grisham (A Time to Kill) serves as Bookmarks Closing Night keynote speaker on Sunday, Sept. 11. His popular novel, The Firm, was the bestselling novel of 1991 and spent 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, and more than 20 other novels have become international bestsellers since. There are currently over 300 million John Grisham books in print worldwide in 40 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into successful films. His newest novel for adults is Rogue Lawyer.

General admission to the event is $22 in advance and $30 at the door (if available). Or, choose the $35 ticket option for a general admission ticket and your choice of a signed hardcover of Theodore Boone: The Scandal (ages 8-12) or a signed paperback of Rogue Lawyer. You will choose which book upon arrival.
All books for sale by Bookmarks will be pre-signed by John Grisham.

About Bookmarks Festival of Books and Authors

Over the last 11 years, Bookmarks has brought more than 550 authors, illustrators, and storytellers to Winston-Salem for the annual Festival of Books and Authors. Collectively, Bookmarks authors have won hundreds of awards from dozens of countries, including more than 100 honorary degrees, multiple Emmy Awards, 10 James Beard Awards, several NAACP Image Awards, 10 Grammy Awards, and multiple PEN, Agatha, Nebula, Hugo, RITA, and Edgar Awards. Bookmarks authors have been translated into 150 languages and have had their work adapted into more than 50 movies, plays and television shows. In addition to the eight Pulitzer Prize winners and the United States Poet Laureate, Bookmarks has presented winners of the National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, American Book Award, National Medal of the Arts, Lincoln Medal, Presidential Medal of Freedom, Coretta Scott King Award, and Newbery Award. Bookmarks authors have written more than 500 New York Times bestsellers and spent at least 1,000 weeks -- over 20 years -- on the New York Times bestseller list.

To learn more about the festival go to

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