Virginia Festival of the Book

Virginia Festival of the Book 2024

MARCH 20-24, 2024


If you can’t walk past a bookstore without emerging with a stack of paperbacks you’d never heard of but now can’t live without — this one’s for you.

If you’re one of those people who can’t walk past a bookstore without emerging, three hours later, clutching a stack of paperbacks you’d never heard of but now can’t live without — well, this one’s for you. Celebrating its 30th year this March, the Virginia Festival of the Book celebrates a wide range of publishing writers and their recent books through four days of talks, workshops and discussions. 

It’s a good thing the festival takes place in the (relatively) walkable town of Charlottesville, Va., because the schedule is packed. Within the course of a day, you can attend an all-women panel of true crime writers, listen to two Caribbean young adult novelists discuss world-building or get gardening tips from the author of a backyard homesteading guide. And that’s just before lunch. Afternoons and evenings include, among plenty of other options, keynote readings from U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón and bestselling author and columnist Roxane Gay. It’s a great chance to interact with working writers, too, as most events include some sort of Q&A session. Just hope that guy with the handlebar mustache isn’t going to ask an exceedingly pretentious question … oh nope, there he goes. 

Festival reading spaces range from the huge and historic Paramount Theater to the local library to artist cooperatives. Keynote speakers draw crowds upwards of a thousand, but you might just as easily be nestled on a bar stool in a room with twenty other literature lovers, sharing a grin with the author of your fav sci fi thriller. 

The Specs

  • Each year, more than 20,000 book lovers attend. 
  • Events are ticketed separately, and range from free to $30. 
  • Looking for other things to do in Charlottesville, Virginia? Check out Fifty Grande’s guide to this quirky and quaint town. 


What is the closest airport to the Virginia Festival of the Book?

Fly into the Charlottesville-Albemarle Regional Airport (CHO, 20-minute rideshare). If you’re coming from East Coast metro areas, taking the Amtrak train is the best option — the Charlottesville station is right downtown, within walking distance of many hotels and festival venues.

Where is the festival located?

At venues across Charlottesville, including the Paramount Theater, the JMRL Central Library, New Dominion Bookstore, the University of Virginia Bookstore, the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, and more. 

What’s the bag policy?

No bag policy is listed, as it varies from venue to venue. Purses and backpacks are generally allowed. 

Is the festival ADA accessible? 

Yes, though you need to request accommodations in advance. Contact the festival at [email protected].

I can’t make it. Is there a way to watch my favorite writer even though I live in California?

Yes. Many events are live-streamed on Facebook, with recordings posted to YouTube soon after the festival.



BY Katherine James