We love books. We also love the people who make books, from writers and illustrators to agents and publishers. Each year, more than 20,000 people attend the Virginia Festival of the Book to share in this love.

A program of Virginia Humanities, the Virginia Festival of the Book brings together writers and readers to promote and celebrate books, reading, literacy, and literary culture every March. 

We spend the rest of the year planning the Festival, selecting speakers through active recruitment as well as open submissions (June 1-October 1, annually) and working with community partners to plan programs that speak to the interests and needs of Virginians.

We offer Festival programming each March as well as Shelf Life virtual programming throughout the year, providing book lovers a variety of ways to learn about the world, find inspiration in work from today’s best writers and illustrators, and discover new ways of understanding ourselves and others. We also coordinate school visits by Festival speakers to public and private preK-12 schools in the Charlottesville area, reaching thousands of local students.

With a longstanding focus on accessibility and diversity, Festival programming engages attendees with new books, on a variety of topics and across genres, that are timely and necessary, and which we hope will prompt discourse and connection between people.


Every March, the Virginia Festival of the Book presents five days of in-person programming featuring hundreds of speakers discussing their new books, in addition to year-round virtual events in our Shelf Life series. 

We select speakers through active recruitment as well as open submissions, June 1 through October 1 annually. During this time, we invite submissions of new, published books of fiction (including genre fiction), nonfiction, poetry, cookbooks, and books for young readers.

Books may be submitted by authors, illustrators, publicists, or other publishing professionals with permission. We encourage submissions by individuals from diverse backgrounds, including race and ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, class, and/or abilities.

Submissions for the 2020-2021 season of Shelf Life virtual events are now closed except by invitation.

Past Speakers & Schedules

Since 1995, we have presented a captivating list of speakers, from international bestsellers and topical specialists to debut authors and poets. Explore the Festival archive to learn more about our past speakers—including Baldacci, Grisham, Karon, Lowry, Shetterly, and Stiglitz—and to discover new authors to read in the future. 

Our Team

The Virginia Festival of the Book is staffed by three voracious readers:

Headshot of Jane Kulow

Jane Kulow

Director, Virginia Center for the Book
Headshot of Sarah Lawson

Sarah Lawson

Associate Director, Virginia Center for the Book

Tori Talbot

Events Manager

Partners & Sponsors

The Virginia Festival of the Book is a community-driven effort, and, as such, greatly appreciates the support of many community partners, sponsors, and volunteers in helping develop and present our annual programs.