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Bookmarks Festival of Books and Authors - September 5-8, 2019

Bookmarks Festival of Books and Authors, the largest book and author festival in the Carolinas celebrates 15 years with the 2019 festival in downtown Winston-Salem September 5 - 8. This year, the festival celebrates "the power of story," encouraging reader and attendees to "travel all over the world" exploring a wealth of subjects and issues. The four-day festival takes place primarily along Spruce Street and inside the contemporary Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts. Special events are also hosted in Bookmarks Bookstore downtown on Fourth Street. 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 50 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.

Saturday's festival (from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.) is free and chock full of author sessions, various reading-related exhibitors, food trucks, and creative activities for children. These events take place at the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts and the surrounding areas on Spruce, Poplar, and Holly Streets in downtown Winston-Salem. Special panels hosted include Celebrating the NC Arts Council’s 50th Anniversary, Superheroes, Southern Fiction, Alexander Hamilton, and Civil War Fiction; as well as a Flash Fiction Writing Workshop; a K-12 Summer Reading Program Celebration; and–back by popular demand–NC Writers’ Network presents Slush Pile Live!

Special free panel discussions are held including: “Our Prince of Scribes: Remembering Pat Conroy;” “The Struggle is Real: Navigating Pivotal Points of Childhood;” “Truth You Don’t See: YA Authors on Reality;” “Words & Pictures: Graphic and Illustrated Novels;” “Finding Home: Stories of Immigrants & Refugees;” and “Exploring ‘The Great American Read.’” Authoring Action, a literary and performing arts organization, showcases their youth’s authentic voices in a special performance, and various storybook characters including Clifford and Chester the Raccoon will be showcased for preschool storytimes.

New this year is a Demonstration Booth, where book related projects and art are on display and demonstrated throughout the day. Attendees can also enjoy an Exhibitor Scavenger Hunt for all ages with a variety of prizes awarded. Bookmarks’ year-round series, Books and Brews, is hosted at Footnote (beside Bookmarks on Fourth Street in downtown Winston-Salem) from 4:30 - 5:30 p.m. and features southern writers Ladee Hubbard, David Joy, and Mark Powell.


2018 Festival Schedule at a Glance

Thursday, September 6

  • Carole Boston Weatherford reads and discusses "Dorothea Lange: The Photographer Who Found the Faces of the Depression" in a family-friendly event with music and hands-on activities at Reynolda House Museum of American Art, the 1917 historic home of R.J. and Katharine Reynolds. 
    Reynolda House is gearing up to host "Dorothea Lange's America" September 14 - December 30. Want to come back for the exhibition? Find a hotel package here
    Location: Reynolda House Museum of American Art (2250 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27106)
    Time: 5 p.m.
    Free to attend.

  • Ingrid Rojas Contreras shares about her novel, "Fruit of the Drunken Tree," set in Colombia at the height of Pablo Escobar’s violent reign.
    Location: High Point University (One University Parkway, High Point, NC 27262
    Time: 7 p.m.
    Free to attend. 

  • Zinzi Clemmons, author of "What We Lose," is featured at the Keynote Opening Event
    Location: Salem College, Hanes Auditorium (500 East Salem Avenue, Winston-Salem, NC 27101)
    Time: 7:30 p.m.
    Free to attend.

Friday, September 7

  • Lunch and Learn with Brooke McAlary
    Location: Bookmarks (634 W. Fourth Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101); beside Footnote Cafe
    Time: 11:30 a.m.
    Cost: $29 / person; includes a copy of McAlary's book, "Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World"
  • First-ever Kids' Keynote event featuring author Dav Pilkey
    Location: R.J. Reynolds Auditorium (301 N. Hawthorne Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27104)
    Time: 6:30 p.m.
    Cost: Ticket prices range from $15 - $60 and include a copy of Pilkey's new novel, "Dog Man: Lord of the Fleas."

Saturday, September 8

  • Day-long, family-friendly Bookmarks Festival takes place in downtown Winston-Salem featuring author sessions, exhibitors, food trucks, and creative activities for children. Special free panel discussions are held throught the day, local group Authoring Action showcases their youth's voices, and aspiring writers are invited to share their works in the "New Voices" venue. For tots, there's also various preschool storytimes featuring all their favorite storybook characters. 
    Location: Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts and Bookmarks Bookstore 
    Time: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
    Download full festival schedule here.
    View festival author bios here.  
    Free to attend.

Sunday, September 9

  • A 2018 Festival Round Up and Parapalooza happens at Footnote Cafe next to Bookmarks Bookstore. Over brunch, catered by Footnote, attendees hear from festival authors sharing from work.
    Location: Footnote (634 W. Fourth Street #120)
    Time: 11 a.m.
    Cost: $35 / person or $300 / table of 10.

  • Jennifer Thermes, author of "Grandma Gatewood Hikes the Appalachian Trail," invites you to celebrate National Grandparents Day during this free event.
    Location: Mast General Store
    Time: 12:30 p.m. (516 Trade St NW, Winston-Salem, NC 27101)
    Free to attend


Check out this video to learn more about the power of books and the purpose of Bookmarks Festival of Books and Authors!





About Bookmarks Festival of Books and Authors

Over the last 14 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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