On the Arts & Lecture Series and the NC Book Festival

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The North Carolina Book Festival (formerly known as both the North Carolina Literary Festival and the North Carolina Festival of the Book, depending on who was hosting) began in the mid-90s as a joint effort of North Carolina State University Libraries, the University of North Carolina Libraries, and Duke University Libraries.  The idea was that the Festival would be produced every two years, with the host venue rotating between the three Universities.

Unfortunately, this model never panned out, mostly due to inconsistencies regarding its funding model and the resulting impossibility of maintaining a central organization and staff (UNC and NCSU rely on public funding, Duke on private).

When I was the Program Coordinator for the last Festival the universities hosted (at NCSU in 2014), we made the formal recommendation that the Festival model change, as UNC did when they hosted the previous Festival in 2008.  Duke University agreed, and I–along with my colleague of the time Chris Tonelli–began the process of taking the Festival over and turning it into an annual event.

We believe that North Carolina is the best state to live in both as a writer and as a reader, and that we deserve to have an annual event that celebrates the richness and diversity of our literary culture in our capital city.  So in February of this year, we held the first of the annual North Carolina Book Festivals, with the goal of not only celebrating the literary culture and writers who are already here, but of attracting writers from elsewhere to visit and eventually move to the area.

In order to maintain momentum between annual Festivals, we have established the Arts & Lecture Series, which will feature three large author events per year.  This year, we are featuring award winning and bestselling authors such as Ann Patchett, Karl Marlantes, Wiley Cash and Sarah Rose Etter.  For $85, you get a copy of the featured book for each event, priority seating and signing line access for every Arts & Lecture Series event, along with priority seating and signing line access for the 2020 North Carolina Book Festival (February 21-23, 2020).  Subscriptions to the Arts & Lecture Series can be purchased here.

We appreciate your support in helping us build these annual programs from the ground level, and in solidifying North Carolina as the Writingest State (slogan courtesy of the North Carolina Writers’ Network)!

Thank you, and happy reading!

–Jason Jefferies, Co-Director