On Festivals

Literary ones, obviously.

There are festivals and conferences happening all the time. I just think it’d be nice to be around so many people who share a passion for books. But of course I’ve never been to one.

The only downside for these different expos is the price. They’re almost always hundreds of dollars to attend. And individual discussions or panels are nearly always an additional fee. Of course organizers and venues should be compensated, but some expos are simply overpriced. People interested in attending something like this should be able to afford it. And there’s no doubt that the price can potentially become a turn off.

But eh, I’d still like to go to one at some point. Have you ever attended any kind of literary festival?

40 thoughts on “On Festivals

  1. I go to one each year here, Norwescon. It’s a writers/readers conference with a moderate Sci Fi Fantasy bent but not so that it’s unfun for the rest. 50 dollars for the four days if you buy in advance and that includes all panels and workshops. Last year the keynote was George RR Martin, so it’s not small time either.


      • Not literary? They are based on comic books. To me the definition of literary is reading. For some comic books is how they got started reading in the first place :).
        You are right though, they are fun :). As long as I have a place I can go to get out of the crowd for a few minutes any way since they’re always packed wall to wall with cosplayers.


      • I just meant that they focus on all things comics. Movies. TV. Comic books. And literary ones focus on books. That’s all. We have one here every year. But it’s still in its infancy. It isn’t very big. And I don’t think hardly any really popular people attend. Yet.


      • Oops, sorry. 😦
        We have one this weekend, unfortunately monetary circumstances mean we won’t be going, perhaps the one in September will see things turned around and we can go then.
        This one has three of the cast from Daredevil attending. We’ve had Matt Smith and the guy who played Rory from Dr. Who, Danny Trejo, the guy who played Joxer, R2-D2 and a bunch of others.


  2. The Tucson (AZ) Festival of Books is the second weekend in March, 8 years so far. The festival is free, the panels and workshops are free, parking is free. They have some Pulitzer Prize winning authors every year and many best-selling authors, every genre plus literary and nonfiction, history, memoir, you name it. You can apply ahead of time to get a half table at the Author Pavilion for 2 hours on one of the days which also includes your information in all the promotional materials, $35. A deal. Over 130,000 people attend and the weather is gorgeous. I go every year.


  3. YALLfest is our local book expo and I think it’s actually pretty affordable. It might even be free, actually. It’s only YA authors, but that includes James Dashner, Veronica Roth, Rainbow Rowell…all the current big timers. I’ve never been because it’s an absolute madhouse and it’s usually the same weekend as my own convention, AtomaCon lol.

    As far as writing conventions go, the South Carolina Writer Conference is in October, and I do believe it’s a couple hundred dollars. I think I will try to go this year though. I should have at least one manuscript pitch-ready by then.


    • What does YALLfest stand for? That’s actually interesting. I figured all the current mega bestsellers would attend maybe one conference or expo a year. But I’d have assumed BEA or maybe the LA Times ones. Hmm. I’ve also never been to a writing one. Ugh. One day. And good luck! On getting your manuscript and pitch ready for October.


  4. The closest to a literary festival in my city is FryeFest, which lasts about a week and hosts a handful of Canadian authors. Some stuff is free (like the meet-and-greet), while other stuff isn’t (one of my girlfriends and I paid $200 each to go to one of the lectures, but I got to meet Margaret Atwood, so it was totally worth every cent).

    As far as conferences go, almost all of them are in the US. I’d need gas or airfare, plus hotel accommodations and meals, plus time off work (which is not guaranteed, as it’s a seniority-based bidding system)… Add those to the already-expensive prices and, put simply, my need to live and eat and hold down a job (among other essential functions) outweighs the potential payoff.


  5. I just came back from AWP (Association for Writers and Writing Programs) in LA. This conference changes cities each year. As a current student, I only spent $50 for 3 days. For the non-student, it’s about $145 not including hotel and accommodations. I managed to stay with friends so I didn’t have to worry about those expenses And my flight was super cheap (round trip to Oakland under $200) too. This conference has pretty much authors from all genres. There are panels about writing and teaching. There is a bookfair to buy All the Books. There are MFA programs. There are magazines. There are literary magazines. It’s actually a fantastic way to meet folks face to face and network to possibly submit to magazines and/or literary magazines to be published somewhere. It was the best fun I’ve had. What made it more fun was being there with my MFA cohort so that was great – constantly having literary discussions based on the panels we attended together. So great! I think everyone should go to at least one of these in their lifetime. You can also meet literary agents! It has it all.

    I currently live in the Bay Area and we have free (and not free) literary conference type things annually. In February, there’s the SF writing conference that is specifically catered to people pitching their books and meeting with literary agents. In the summer, there is the Oakland book Festival (this will be the second year), that is a one day festival which includes a bookfair (mini) and panels with well-known and local authors. In June, there’s the Bay Area Book Festival (also this will be it’s second year), that will have the same thing but takes place all over downtown Berkeley. In the fall, we have Litquake which takes place over the course of a week with panels all over San Francisco with local and well-known authors. And at each reading, the author’s book is present for purchase. I’m sure if you search, you can find a free version of a literary event/festival/conference in your neighborhood. They are all a lot of fun.


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