The Tucson Festival of Books began just 6 years ago when 350 authors presented 300 programs to 50,000 attendees after two years of planning and with high hopes for the future. By 2014 this event, spread across the University of Arizona Mall and hosted hundreds of authors, numerous tent and vendor offerings, hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors, side events for children and family members and attracted an audience of some 130,000 visitors in two days. Even larger attendance is expected in 2015.
Since its humble beginnings in 2009, the festival has contributed more than $1,000,000 to local literacy programs. This year’s Tucson Festival of Books, March 14 & 15, 2015 will again present over 350 authors, many of them famous,and each one of them will take part in special workshops or conversations, sometimes alone or in tandem with another author or as part of a panel discussion. These conversations or presentations draw overflow audience attendance in many rooms and auditoriums throughout the university campus. The authors include writers of fiction & non fiction, science, art, history, biography, romance, mystery, fantasy, science fiction,cooking, philosophy,self help, medicine and every other genre you can imagine for every age group. There will be 5 different science “neighborhoods” to engage children as well as adults and will include renowned science authors & researchers.The festival offers programming for children and teens, panels by best-selling and emerging authors, a literary circus, culturally diverse programs, a poetry venue, exhibitor booths, several food courts, book signing by your favorite authors and, of course, thousands of books to discover and buy.
Approximately 40 different entertainment groups will also take part in the Festival of Books. This year the highlight will be a rock group called The Rock Bottom Remainders. This year’s best selling authors/musicians will be Amy Tan, Mitch Albom, Dave Barry, Scott Turow, Ridley Pearson, Greg Iles, Alan Zweibel and Sam Barry who will kick off the event on Friday night, March 13. The group’s name is based on the booksellers’ term for books that languish on the shelves so long they have to be dumped at a discount.
A few “professional” musicians will complete the group. The performance will be held the evening of March 13 in the University of Arizona Student Memorial Union from 8-9:30 PM.. Tickets are available online and going fast.
A wide variety of other events are planned including a panel discussion on the impact of concussions and traumatic brain injury.The panel will include brothers Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada, the co-authors of “League of Denial,” the New York Times best-seller on the NFL’s efforts to cover up the link between football and brain damage. A sport’s analyst and a number of former NFL players will round out the panel.
Gail Sheehy of “Passages” fame, is among a team of journalists and social and political commentators participating in the Tucson Festival of Books, Also on board are Pulitzer Prize winner, James Risen, an investigative reporter for the New York Times, linguist and author Noam Chomsky, who has written more than 100 books, Pulitzer winner, Dan Fagin, author of “Toms River”, (exploring the high number of childhood cancers in a New Jersey town), Oscar Martinez, author of “The Beast: Riding the Rails and Dodging Narcos on the Migrant Trail,” and Philip Caputo, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune for 9 years, author of the 2009 novel, “Crossers”, set on the Mexico-Arizona border.
A host of other authors, famous as well as up and coming, will present more events than a person attending both days would be able to take in. Check the website for the Tucson Festival of Books, for a Bookmarked Events tool which allows a viewer to choose events and print a personal schedule so that you won’t miss the people you most want to see.
The Festival is only a fifteen minute stroll from Sam Hughes Inn Bed & Breakfast. You can park on site and walk to everything.
Major sponsors of the festival include the University of Arizona, The Arizona Daily Star newspaper, the University of Arizona Medical Center, Friend of the Festival donations, Cox Communications and other organizations and primary individual donors.