Festival Ticketed Events

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Thursday, September 8

Keynote Opening Event: Celebrating the Culture of Books featuring International Bestselling Author, Azar Nafisi
Hanesbrands Theatre209 Spruce St N, Winston-Salem, NC
7:00 p.m.
$30 at door which includes general seating for the 7 p.m. event and a copy of Nafisi's book

Azar Nafisi has lectured and written extensively promoting literacy and the importance of reading books. 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. She is best known for the international bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, which spent over 117 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. Currently the Director of Cultural Conversations at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C., Nafisi is a professor of aesthetics, culture, and literature. 

Admission by ticket only: $30 at door. General admission includes one ticket, a paperback copy of The Republic of Imagination, followed by a booksigning. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. Program begins at 7 p.m.

$55 for premier admission (SOLD OUT!). 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, Raffaldini wine, a paperback copy of The Republic of Imagination, and a booksigning.


Friday, September 9

Eat & Greet with Terry McMillan
Sweet Potatoes, 529 Trade Street NW, Winston-Salem, NC 
8:30 a.m.

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 an MTV movie award as well as seven Grammys. Tickets include entry for one, a hardcover copy of I Almost Forgot About You, breakfast by Sweet Potatoes with Terry McMillan, followed by a booksigning. Doors open at 8:00 a.m. Tickets required.

Friday, September 9

Eat & Greet with Karen Robards
Salemtowne Retirement Community, 190 Moravian Way Drive, Winston-Salem
12:00 p.m. Special Eat & Greet event.  
Tickets required.  
Ticket sales are now closed.

1:30 p.m. A Conversation with Karen Robards.  Free and open to the public.

Karen Robards is the author of 50 romance and suspense books and a regular on the bestseller lists. Proclaimed "one of the most popular voices in women's fiction" by Newsweek, her newest novel is Darkness.  


Friday, September 9

Walking Tour of Winston-Salem Arts District
Trade Street,
downtown Winston-Salem
4 – 6 p.m.
Ticketed event.

Learn about Winston-Salem's storied past while on a walking tour through its vibrant present arts scene. Local experts will 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 free samples of local food & drinks. Tickets required. Reservations must be made in advance.

Admission by ticket only: Ticket sales are now closed.



Saturday, September 10

Eat & Greet with Kate DiCamillo 
Five Points, 109 South Stratford Road, Winston-Salem
8:30 – 9:30 a.m.


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. DiCamillo was the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, a literary honor presented bi-annually by the Library of Congress to an author or illustrator who has made a substantial contribution to young people’s literature. 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. Tickets include breakfast and a copy of DiCamillo’s new book, Raymie Nightingale. Doors open at 8 a.m. Tickets required. Discounted tickets for teacher are available.

Sunday, September 11

Keynote Closing Event with John Grisham 
R. J. Reynolds Auditorium, 301 Hawthorne Rd NW, Winston-Salem, NC
4:00 p.m.
Tickets: $30 available at door until sold out

VIP tickets SOLD OUT!

Doors open at 3 p.m. Tickets required.

General Admission Seating. Books will be available at the Bookmarks Bookstore on site before and after the event. No flash photography or video recording of any kind permitted during the event.

Free tickets will be made available to students. These tickets must be reserved by a school media or curriculum coordinator by emailing rsvp@bookmarksnc.org. Free tickets will also be given to teachers who will be chaperoning students from their schools. Tickets must be reserved by August 31.

Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi, law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn’t have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990.

One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl’s father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.

That might have put an end to Grisham’s hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career—and spark one of publishing’s greatest success stories. The Firm spent 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list and was the bestselling novel of 1991. Successful novels The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, and more than twenty other novels have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 300 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into forty languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into successful films.

When he’s not writing, Grisham devotes time to charitable causes, including most recently his Rebuild The Coast Fund, which raised 8.8 million dollars for Gulf Coast relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He also keeps up with his greatest passion: baseball. The man who dreamed of being a professional baseball player now serves as the local Little League commissioner. The six ballfields he built on his property have played host to over 350 kids on 26 Little League teams.

John Grisham is appearing in Winston-Salem in protest of North Carolina House Bill 2. Earlier in 2016, Bookmarks joined other independent bookstores in North Carolina in signing a letter of protest against the bill and has always supported hosting diverse books written by diverse authors. Today’s event is a fundraiser for Bookmark’s nonprofit expansion into an independent bookstore that will provide a safe haven for all readers and all writers, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, or special needs.

Admission by ticket only: tickets $30 at door until sold out. Doors open at 3:00 p.m.