The Mid-South Book Festival Recap

87º ~ but with the low dew points, it only feels like 87º ~ bright sun, strong cooling breezes gusting

This past weekend, I was in Memphis for the second Mid-South Book Festival. Last year, in its debut the festival hosted 50 authors and saw 3,000 visitors; this year the scorecard leaped upwards with 80 authors and over 5,000 visitors. Speaking as one of the authors from this year’s event, I can testify that the folks from Literacy Mid-South had it all going on!

The festival began on Wednesday with an all day summit on literacy efforts from grassroots to national organizations. While I couldn’t make that event with my teaching schedule, from what I hear the summit sold out and presented motivated educators with great opportunities to network and learn together.

I joined in on Friday for another sold out event: The Well Read Reception, held at The Playhouse on the Square in Midtown. This was a social outing where authors mingled with readers, got an advance chance to buy books, and feasted on some tasty noms. I had a great time re-connecting with the folks of the Impossible Language Reading Series (where I read in April…or was it May?) and meeting new writers I can’t wait to read.

On Saturday, the festival shut down a section of Cooper Ave. in Memphis and the book fair spread out into the street. Luckily, we only needed the tents to shelter from the sun. At the book fair, I got to spend some time with two of my favorite Little Rock poets: Bryan Borland and Seth Pennington of Sibling Rivalry Press. They graciously allowed me to chill out from time to time behind their table.

I also had the chance to read not once, but twice. In the morning, I took the mic out on the street for the Street Fair Reading Tent. The wind was strong but the mic was stronger. I spent quite a bit of time hanging out on the street listening to folks share their work with the audience and the wind. Then, at the end of the day, I had the good fortune to read on a panel. In both cases, the sickly speaker got a warm welcome, and I’m thankful to everyone who helped organize to get me there!

On Sunday, I had to leave town to get home and take care of school work; however, the festival continued on for the day with writing workshops for both adults and children.

The long and the short of it is this: If you are anywhere near the mid-south, or can manage to get to Memphis next fall when year three comes around, you should check out this festival. It gets a big Wahoooooooza from me.

Posted by Sandy Longhorn


As Advisory Board Chair for Literacy Mid-South, I want to thank you for this glowing (and accurate) review. We were so proud to have all the wonderful authors, readers, and book-lovers there, and the weather sure co-operated. In a city that suffers from a high illiteracy rate, the success of an event like this is of paramount importance. Thank you for your contribution.
Claire Ryan
Memphis, TN

Sandy Longhorn

Thanks, Claire! Job well done!