Festival of Books & Authors

Bookmarks Festival of Books & Authors

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The 2023 featured Festival authors who will all appear on Saturday, September 23 are listed below by category. For a full list complete with pictures, bios, and links, CLICK HERE.

Fiction authors: Wiley Cash, Willie Edward Taylor Carver, Jr., John Connolly, Jonathan Conyers, Halle Hill, Abby Jimenez, Sadeqa Johnson, Mary Beth Keane, Dominic Lim, Charlie Lovett, Susie Luo, Megan Miranda, Jason Mott, Celeste Ng, Ron Rash, Kathy Reichs, Steven Rowley, Etaf Rum, Brando Skyhorse, Julie Soto, Thrity Umrigar 

Nonfiction authors: Helen Ellis, John Glatt, Loren Grush, Natalie Keng, Ed Mitchell, Ryan Mitchell, Saket Soni, Ed Southern, R. Eric Thomas, Jose Antonio Vargas, Kate Zernike

Teen / YA authors: Becky Albertalli, Kalynn Bayron, Keah Brown, Camryn Garrett, Jonny Garza Villa, Emery Lord, Crystal Simone Smith, Ibi Zoboi

Children’s authors: Katherine Applegate, Derrick Barnes, Max Brallier, Gennifer Choldenko, Carmen Deedy, Karina Yan Glaser, Jessica Kim, Remy Lai, Pedro Martín, Gillian McDunn, Scott Reintgen


The 2023 Festival catalog of featured titles is available here. You can purchase Festival books in the bookstore tent on Saturday, September 23, or at our special "Books and Bites" event on Friday, September 22. Online orders are now closed. If you pre-ordered signed books, they will be ready for pickup and shipping after Wednesday, September 27. 


All events on Saturday, September 23 are free and open to the public. Start planning your day today by learning about the schedule, CLICK HERE or on the icons below. 


2023 Festival Opening Keynote: Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and Nic Stone 
Thursday, September 21  |  7 p.m.  |  Wait Chapel  |  Tickets & information 

Join us on Thursday, September 21 to kick off the 18th annual Bookmarks Festival of Books & Authors will Ibram X. Kendi and Nic Stone! Kendi and Stone will be discuss their book, How to Be a (Young) Antiracist; this will be an in-conversation event with conversation partner to be announced. Tickets are $30 (plus taxes and fees) and include a paperback copy of How to Be a (Young) Antiracist. Doors will open at 6 p.m. with general admission seating. This event is presented with support from United Way of Forsyth County

Books & Bites: A Festival Celebration
Friday, September 22  |  7 p.m.  |  Benton Convention Center  |  Tickets & information

Join Bookmarks as we celebrate the authors of our 2023 Festival of Books and Authors! Bypass the book tent and signing lines on Saturday by attending our first-event Books & Bites! Meet the featured Saturday Festival authors and chat with them about their books and buy copies to get signed. You'll also have the chance to meet some of the local authors in our community who Bookmarks has previously hosted such as Joanna Lowell, Stacy McAnulty, Sarah McCoy, Belinda Smith-Sullivan, and Phoebe Zerwick. Tickets are $35 (plus taxes and fees) and include one drink, appetizers, access to signing lines, and a festival tote bag. Attendees may bring an extra tote bag of books from their personal collection to be signed for $10 per tote bag. You will have the opportunity when ordering tickets to pay for this option as an add-on. This event is presented with support from First Bank. **Please Note: Festival keynote speakers Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Nic Stone, and Celeste Ng will not be attending this eventBookmarks cannot be held responsible for changes to an author's schedule and cannot guarantee that all Festival authors will be present or that books will be signed by the author, either before or after the event.

Saturday Morning Keynote with Celeste Ng & Jason Mott 
Saturday, September 23  |  9:30 a.m.  |  First Baptist on Fifth, 501 W 5th St  |  Free event; no registration required

Join Bookmarks and New York Times bestselling authors Celeste Ng and Jason Mott for a conversation about the power of books and the fight against censorship. The first two hundred guests will receive a complimentary copy of Our Missing Hearts. Presented with support from Marguerite Casey Foundation.


Closing Keynote: Book with Purpose Dear America featuring Jose Antonio Vargas
Saturday, September 23  |  5 p.m.  |  Calvary Moravian Church, 600 Holly Ave NR  | Free event; no registration required

End your festival day with a free closing keynote with Jose Antonio Vargas at Calvary Moravian Church. This is a culiminating event for our Book with Purpose program featuring Dear America by Vargas. Young actors from Black Rep will be doing a dramatization of the prologue from Dear America before the keynote. Vargas will be in conversation with Saket Soni, labor organizer and founder and director of Resilience Force and the author of The Great Escape. Spanish interpretation will be provided by Perez Chandler Communications & Consulting. Please bring headphones to access this service.


Raffle tickets support our Festival and keep it free for attendees! Each ticket is $10 and can be entered to win one of the following prizes:

  • Dash & Grab: $1,000+ value
    This is a book lover's dream! You have 90 seconds to grab as many books as you can carry! You cannot use a box or bag to carry books and it is limited to books only (no gift items). When you have an arm load of books, you will run to the designated drop location and start again! Pile up as many books as possible in your 90 seconds and all the books you pick are yours! 
  • Festival VIP Package for 2024: $750 value
    This is the ultimate festival-goer package! Two tickets to every ticketed event, books, front-of-line signing passes, t-shirts, and more! Details to come as we plan for next year's event. 
  • Tickets to Bookmarks Events for One Year: $1,000 value
    Beginning October 1, 2023 and expiring September 1, 2024, you will receive two tickets to every ticketed Bookmarks event! You must specify and request tickets for each event, they will not be automatically sent. 
  • Signed Festival Books - Adult Authors: $750 value
    As many Festival authors' books as possible will be signed and held for you after the festival! They can be picked up from Bookmarks beginning on Wednesday, September 27. No guarantees to get all of the Festival authors' books. 
  • Signed Festival Books - Children's and YA Authors: $750 value
    As many Festival authors' books as possible will be signed and held for you after the festival! They can be picked up from Bookmarks beginning on Wednesday, September 27. No guarantees to get all of the Festival authors' books. 

You must specify in the comments which prize you want to be entered to win! Drawing will be held at 4:00 pm at the Bookmarks tent at the Festival of Books & Authors on Saturday, September 23. You do not need to be present to win. 



On Saturday, September 23 food trucks will be parked in the large parking lot between Poplar St NW and N Spruce Street. Please note that a lot of vendors and food trucks only accept cash; the closest ATM is located at Truist Bank on the corner of 2nd and Spruce Streets. This year's selection will include Angie's Italian Ice, Brash Brownies, Delicious by Shereen, El Sabor Tabasqueno, Forsyth Seafood Cafe Food Truck, Fresh AF, Jamaica Coast Catering Food Truck, JJ Cuban's Kitchen, Rockin Moroccan, Simply Squeezed, and Urban Street Grill. 


On Saturday, September 23 exhibitor booths will be featured in the Foundations Early Learning Center parking lot (located directly beside the Bookmarks bookstore) and along Poplar Street, Holly Avenue, and Spruce Street. Click here to for a list of this year's vendors and a map where you can find them at the festival.  


Bookmarks is grateful for the generosity and support of all of our 2023 Festival of Books and Authors Sponsors. Our Title Sponsors this year are First Bank and the Marguerite Casey Foundation.  Read more about First Bank's support here.


If you have questions about the Festival, you can probably find the answer on this page. If not, be sure to email us!


Would you like to help with our Festival of Books and Authors? Festival volunteering offers fun opportunities to serve with other people who love books and be part of an exciting all-day literary event! Being able to attend often sold-out panels and the ability to chat with the visiting authors are among the most sought-after perks of being a Bookmarks volunteer. Training and background checks are mandatory for all volunteers. You must be 18 or older to volunteer by yourself; otherwise, you must be accompanied by an adult. Volunteer assignments can include handing out information to attendees, set up and set down, organizing and running errands, hospitality and booksignings, and more. To sign up, register here


Bookmarks is unique in that we fully program, plan, and run our annual festival. Though we receive funding from multiple sources, there is no backing entity that supports the Bookmarks Festival. We are a 501(c)(3) and not only do we book our authors and handle all the logistics, we also sell all the books! No other book festival in the country operates exactly as we do!

Though Bookmarks began as an annual book festival, we have become much more! Our programming and outreach continues to grow each year as we continue to find ways to increase access to books. Help us create a community where the power of the book brings forth connection and belonging for every person. Investing in Bookmarks is investing in the literacy, the artistic vibrancy, and the cultural growth of this community.

Make a donation today to go towards our Festival goal of raising $18,000 for our 18th anniversary!  

Help us fulfill our Festival Wishlist! Click here to check it out and sign up today.


We are proud to have hosted more than 750 authors from around the world through the years at the Bookmarks Festival of Books & Authors. We are celebrating our 18th festival this September and hope you will join us. Previous festival authors have won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the American Book Award, the Lambda and Alex Awards, the Nebula and Hugo Awards, the NAACP Image Award, the World Fantasy Award and the American Book Award. They have been named “Thriller Master”, the top award given by the International Thriller Writers Association, and have been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Romance Writers of America. They have received MacArthur fellowships, NEA fellowships, and the National Medal of Arts. They’ve been USA Today, NPR, and New York Magazine bestsellers. They’ve written 109 New York Times bestsellers and spent a cumulative 10 years on the NYT bestseller list. They’ve received the American Music Award, a Billboard Music Award, Teen Choice Award, Coretta Scott King Award, and a Tony Award. They host podcasts, teach, edit, and have founded nonprofits. They are principal violinists in symphony orchestras; they are pilots and chefs and professional baseball players. They have received honorary doctorates, founded scholarships, and served on USO tours. They’ve been president of Mystery Writers of America, the Authors Guild, and they’ve competed on Jeopardy! They’ve been Reese Picks, Indie Bookseller picks, and sold more than 250 million copies of their books worldwide. Their books have been translated into 40+ languages, and their books have been adapted for tv and movies. Authors will be announced for the 2023 Festival starting in late July. 

Bookmarks began as an annual book festival in 2004. The Festival of Books & Authors has since grown to be the largest annual book festival in the Carolinas, reaching tens of thousands of readers each year. Since its beginnings as a book festival, Bookmarks has grown to be a 501(c)(3) literary arts nonprofit organization and bookstore in downtown Winston-Salem. All of Bookmarks' programming, including the Festival of Books & Authors, is part of the organization's mission to cultivate community by bringing people of all ages together with books and authors that educate, inspire, challenge, and entertain. Click here to learn more about Bookmarks' history and mission.




Traveling from out of town for the Festival? Please note that there is a lot going on in Winston-Salem that weekend, so you'll want to make a reservation early! Downtown hotels include The Hampton Inn Downtown, Hotel Indigo, Kimpton Cardinal, Winston-Salem Marriott, The Hawthorne Inn, and the Brookstown Inn. For a full list of places to stay, please check out Visit Winston-Salem

Three circles, the first with people standing in line at a tent, the second a bottle of wine and tote bag a bed at a hotel and the third a picture of a book festival with the winston skyline in the back.

New to Winston-Salem? Check out our recommended places to visit while you're in town! (*under construction)