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The Southern Festival of Books Adds Another Exciting Chapter in Nashville

by Rich and Laura Lynch

There is a reason why Nashville is called the "Athens of the South" and it is not just because of the to scale recreation of The Parthenon that resides within the city. Mid-Tennessee's dedication to higher learning helped it earn this prestigious nickname so by association reading and the literary arts are important to this region. Simple proof of this fact can be found by looking at the incredible turnout to the 34th annual gathering known as the Southern Festival of Books that was showcased on the Nashville Public Library & War Memorial Plaza from October 14-16, 2022.

The Southern Festival of Books is a much loved tradition in Nashville.

"We are thrilled and honored to welcome so many esteemed and talented writers to the 34th annual Southern Festival of Books," said Tim Henderson, Humanities Tennessee Executive Director in advance of the much anticipated convention. "This year's festival was already shaping up to be a memorable event, as we gather together in person for the first time in three years. But to have so many brilliant authors joining us makes it even more special."

Clint and Steve of Z2 Comics win "MCN Best of Show" for 2022.

Henderson wasn't kidding, either. After two years of virtual programming, the Festival returned to its rightful place on The Plaza in the shadow of Tennessee's stately Capitol building where fans and readers brought their voracious appetites for books in droves and where your team at MCN had the opportunity to connect with many captivating writers. We can happily report that the crowds were impressive as folks turned out to take everything this fantastic festival has to offer - from author meet and greets, countless seminars and conversations, a fine selection of food trucks and, of course, live music direct from Music City.

A small portion of the impressive offerings from Z2 Comics.

Speaking of music, we had the pleasure of meeting one of our favorite publicists Clint Weiler who was representing Z2 Comics at a booth along with his associate Steve. Clint has jumped on board with Z2 Comics as their VP of Collectibles and he currently designs scary horror themed statuettes that are just perfect for this time of year. Z2 was showing off and displaying their impressive list of heavy metal and rock/pop themed comic books (Joan Jett, The Doors, Grateful Dead, In Flames, GWAR) that were of the highest quality in standard and limited edition formats. For their wide and colorful offerings that were directly in our wheelhouse - they win the unofficial MCN best of show for 2022.

Author Sharon Hamilton and her audiobook narrator J.D. Hart in Nashville.

The most eye-catching exhibit belonged to New York Times Bestselling Author Sharon Hamilton and her booth dedicated to her extensive SEAL military romance novel series. We had the pleasure of meeting Sharon her audiobook narrator - the actor J.D. Hart - as she revealed her real life inspiration for her stories. Hint: her son is in the United States Navy. Sharon Hamilton's SEAL Brotherhood series have earned her author rankings of #1 in Romantic Suspense, Military Romance and Contemporary Romance. Her other Brotherhood stand-alone series are: Bad Boys of SEAL Team 3, Band of Bachelors, True Blue SEALs, Nashville SEALs, and the Bone Frog Brotherhood.

Just a few titles from Sharon Hamilton's expansive SEAL Brotherhood series.

Other favorites from Saturday included meeting Nikki Nelson-Hicks who has been described by a fellow writer as the "unholy lovechild of Flannery O'Connor and H.P. Lovecraft". Hicks was promoting her wide selection of weird offerings of macabre fantasy and horror related novels while promising a new series on aliens and abductions coming next year. We stopped by to see the girls from Tennessee State Library & Archives and walked away with the fact filled and free Tennessee Blue Book for 2021/2022 while the folks from Vanderbilt University Press were selling unique titles about Nashville. And just in time for Christmas we were particularly smitten with the multi-talented Laura Bryan's children's book titled "The Christmas Tradition" that is now released to complement her original Christmas tune, "The Christmas Wish."

The girls from Tennessee State Library & Archives were handing out freebies.

Not to be left out the event's host the Nashville Public Library located two blocks south of the Tennessee State Capitol was home to many seminars and conferences over the three-day Southern Festival of Books. The three-story 300,000 square foot building in a Modern Classical style also held an incredible book sales of their own where a wide assortment of books, movies, music, and audiobooks were available for unbelievable prices. As an example we couldn't pass up the brand-new copy of the 2019 hardcover Songs of America: Patriotism, Protest, and the Music That Made a Nation by Jon Meacham and Tim McGraw for only two bucks.

Author Nikki Nelson-Hicks put her love of all things weird on display in Nashville.

The Southern Festival of Books has celebrated the written word since 1989 and is among the oldest literary festivals in the country, annually welcoming approximately 200 authors and 25,000 visitors each October. The Festival is free, and includes performance stages, food trucks, and more than 60 publishers and booksellers. It is presented by Humanities Tennessee a non-profit organization that aims to foster community and civility in Tennessee through engaging programs that examine and reflect upon ideas, stories, history, arts and culture.

The Christmas Tradition and stories of Nashville on The Plaza.

Related Links: For more information on the SOUTHERN FESTIVAL OF BOOKS and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Southern Festival of Books | Humanties Tennessee


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