2022 Festival of the Book

Everything you need to know about the Virginia Festival of the Book

The 28th Virginia Festival of the Book is back this year after an all-virtual event last year. It takes place from March 16 to 20. Visitors can enjoy in-person events at 13 locations around town, as well as virtual offerings. For those who would like to enjoy the festival from the comfort of their homes, all events will be recorded for later viewing. This way, you won’t have to miss a thing! Here’s everything you need to know about the 2022 festival:

For a complete listing of events, please visit: https://vabook.org/schedule/

Here are10 facts about the festival to make you book-smart.

1. When was the Festival of the Book founded?

The first edition of the festival was held from March 30 to April 1, 1995. 

2. Who were some of the authors who participated that first year?Rita May Brown, Emily Couric, Rita Dove, Joyce Carol Oates, and Charles Wright were all part of the inaugural lineup.

3. All events this year are free, except one.
All virtual and in-person events at this year’s Festival are free, with one exception. Headlining event Southern Landscapes: Real and Imagined is the only ticketed event. It takes place Saturday March 19th from 7-8 p.m. at The Paramount Theater.  Students pay a $12 admission fee, general admission is $25.  

4. Who are some of the famous authors who spoke at the Festival in the past?
The list is long, but a few come to mind. David Baldacci has been at the festival seven times, with his last appearance being 2014. John Grisham will make his 7th appearance this year. In 27 years, close to 5,000 authors have participated in the festival. Check this out; all of the Festival’s past speakers are listed here, so find out if, and when your favorite author was part of the program. 

5. What event in the Festival’s history attracted the biggest audience?
In June 2017, 3,093 people came to the John Paul Jones Arena to see actor Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Malcolm in the Middle). The event, which took place on the evening of March 26th of that year, was titled “A Conversation with Bryan Cranston”.

6. What is the Festival’s attendance?
Annually, around 25,000 book enthusiasts come to Charlottesville. Most visitors are local, but about a third to a quarter of the visitors come from out of town.

7. What is the longest line in the history of the Festival?
In 2016 a line extended two city blocks for author Bryan Stevenson. 

8. Is the Virginia Festival of the Book the largest book event in the world?
Not quite. The festival in Charlottesville is considered the largest book event in the Mid-Atlantic region, but is small compared to what is considered to be the largest book event in the world; The Frankfurt Book Fair in Frankfurt, Germany, where it is known as the Frankfurter Buchmesse, attracts a quarter of a million visitors each year.

9. Do I need to wear as mask to in-person events?
It’s complicated. All 13 event spaces have specific Covid-19 protocols, to ensure the safety of both speakers and attendees. Those protocols can be reviewed when clicking any specific event on the Festival’s website and schedule. It’s good to keep in mind that some venues will require proof of vaccination, or proof of a recent negative Covid-19 test.

10.This year’s Festival is the first ever…
…hybrid Festival. By offering both in-person and virtual events during its 5-day run, organizers are convinced this year’s Festival will be the most accessible ever, and reach its largest audience in its 28-year history. 



Charlottesville really is Bookstoreville, and reading is good for your heart, and good for your head! Check out our blog on Charlottesville’s best bookstores, and see our Guide to Local Bookstores here.