This year marks the 23rd annual Virginia Festival of the Book, which will take place from March 22 - 26. Offering a five-day celebration of books, reading, and literature, it’s definitely a must-see event in the Charlottesville area! The Virginia Festival of the Book is the largest community-based book event in the Mid-Atlantic region and will feature hundreds of authors, illustrators, and publishing professionals. So, if you’re searching for something fun, look no further than the Festival of the Book! Here are a few of the things that are sure to make this year's event a big hit for people of all ages!

1.) The Speakers & Programs

The 2017 Virginia Festival of the Book has an exciting lineup that is jam packed with special speakers and literary-minded programs. In fact, there will be more than 260 programs and 400 speakers over the course of just five days! These programs will be interesting to folks of all ages and most of them are completely FREE. Some events do require tickets, which can be purchased here in advance, or at the door.

2.) Out of Wonder: Kwame Alexander & Ekua Holmes

Head over to Culbreth Theater at 7:00 p.m. on March 22nd as Kwame Alexander and Ekua Holmes discuss their most influential works, as well as their collaborative book Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets. Beloved by children, young adults, and adults alike, Alexander wrote this book while Holmes provided illustrations. At the event, Alexander and Holmes will share stories, and engage in conversation about their book. They will also speak about creating books for underrepresented readers and about the African American experience. Click here to learn more about this event!

3.) A Piece of the World with Christina Baker Kline

On March 23rd, Christina Baker Kline and Virginia Foundation for the Humanities board member Renee Grisham will be holding a discussion at Meade Hall from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. Kline is the author of bestseller Orphan Train, and A Piece of this World. Additionally, during the program, wine and a sweet treat from Albemarle Baking Company will be provided. Yum! Book sales and signings will follow the discussion. For more details about this event, click here!

4.) A Conversation with Bryan Cranston

On March 26th from 2:00 - 3:30 p.m., Bryan Cranston will join film producer Mark Johnson at the John Paul Jones Arena for a conversation reflecting on his career as an artist and how the arts have impacted the world. The Breaking Bad star and author of A Life in Parts will appear as a part of the UVa President’s Speaker Series for the Arts. If Cranston’s presence wasn’t exciting enough, the first 40 patrons to buy the book A Life in Parts at John Paul Jones Arena will receive a special book signing opportunity with Cranston after the discussion. Pre-signed books will also be available for purchase. Click here for more details about this exciting event!

5.) An Evening with Joseph Stiglitz: Economic Inequality

On March 24th at 7:00 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Performing Arts Center, Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz (The Great Divide: Unequal Societies and What We Can Do About Them) will address one of America’s greatest challenges: asking why inequality has increased in the Western world and what we can we do about it. Click here to find out more details about this presentation!

6.) Mental Health: Sue Klebold and the Family Aftermath

This free event will take place on March 26th from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. at the Culbreth Theatre. Sue Klebold (A Mother’s Reckoning), author and advocate for mental health awareness, research, and suicide prevention, shares the story of her son, one of the two shooters at Columbine High School in 1999, to help other families see the signs when their children need help. Dr. Richard Bonnie will join Klebold on stage for discussion and questions. Click here for more details!

This list only begins to scratch the surface of everything the Virginia Festival of the Book has to offer in 2017! We encourage you to check out the festival's website for a complete schedule of events, programs, and speakers. And don't forget to browse our website for awesome suggestions on area dining, attractions, and lodging while you are here visiting! Happy reading!