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About the Kentucky Book Festival

A program of Kentucky Humanities, the Kentucky Book Festival is a celebration of reading, writing, and publishing which takes place each fall. Festival events seek to connect book-lovers and authors, spark engaging conversations, and empower readers by providing access to new books as well as opportunities to learn more about writing in a fun, supportive environment. It’s the biggest bookish celebration in Kentucky! Learn about writing and publishing, discover new books, make memories with family and friends, and celebrate reading!

Founded as the Kentucky Book Fair by journalist Carl West (1942-2016), the event was held in Frankfort for more than 30 years. Before becoming editor of Frankfort’s State Journal, Carl West became recognized in Frankfort and Washington, D.C. as an aggressive and intelligent reporter. West spent time as a Frankfort correspondent for the Kentucky Post and then covered the White House and Pentagon for the Scripps Howard News Service. His work with the National Press Club’s Book Fair in Washington inspired West to establish a similar event in Frankfort, the state capitol, and in 1981, the first Kentucky Book Fair was held at the Kentucky Dept. for Libraries and Archives building. 
 
After becoming a program of Kentucky Humanities, the event was expanded and rebranded, but West’s vision for the Kentucky Book Fair, to honor writers and enable readers to meet them, continues to fuel our efforts in organizing the event today. Read a more extensive history here or by clicking the button below.
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What Can I Expect?

The 42nd annual Kentucky Book Festival will return to Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington on October 21, 2023. More information and the author lineup will be available starting this summer. Visit the Archive page to view programs from 2020-2022.

Never attended a book festival before? Watch this video to get a preview!

Take a look at the 2022 Kentucky Book Festival catalog, published in the October edition of Kentucky Monthly magazine! 

Please note these changes to the catalog: 

  • Page 19: The Jason Reynolds virtual program on Monday, November 1 is now FREE to view. Learn more here
  • Page 20: To see the most recent schedule, check the Events or Lineup pages, or click here.
  • Page 23-39: Mark Wayne Adams, Heather Truett, Carrie Callaghan, Grady Hendrix, Simon Van Booy, Susan Bordo, Tom Bulleit, Tom Clavin, Matthew Pearl, Gary P. West, Jenn Davis, and Lana K.W. Austin have cancelled. 
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About Kentucky Humanities

Kentucky Humanities is an independent, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, D.C. Kentucky Humanities is supported by the National Endowment and by private contributions. We are not a state agency, but are proud partners with Kentucky’s cultural, heritage, arts, and tourism agencies. Kentucky Humanities is dedicated to Telling Kentucky’s Story through programs and services that create a legacy of pride in the wealth of Kentucky culture, building civic engagement and supporting local humanities programs and events. We strive to enable all Kentuckians to take part in learning, sharing, and teaching each other about Kentucky’s rich heritage. We are committed to providing leadership and developing resources that support the needs of Kentuckians to examine our values, understand our common heritage, and build stronger Kentucky communities based on the knowledge, insight, and respect inherent in the humanities. Learn more at kyhumanities.org.

Sponsor or Donate to the Kentucky Book Festival

Donate

Community support for the Kentucky Book Festival helps us host great authors and programming at no cost to attendees, and contributes to the proud literary heritage of our Commonwealth. All donations to the Kentucky Book Festival are listed in Kentucky Humanities Report to the People, published in the spring issue of Kentucky Humanities magazine unless otherwise requested.

Become a Sponsor

Join in supporting one of the most long-standing literary traditions in the country and the Commonwealth. This beloved celebration connects thousands of book-lovers and authors in a one-of-a-kind experience. Throughout its 41 years, the Festival has attracted national literary stars, politicians, scholars, journalists, celebrities, and athletes to Kentucky, in addition to celebrating the works of Kentuckians. 
 
Sponsor opportunities vary widely, and associated coverage begins in the summer, with hundreds of thousands of media impressions possible. The Kentucky Book Festival catalog is published in the October edition of Kentucky Monthly magazine (36,000 print run, with readership of 126,000). Get in touch to learn about the benefits of sponsorship and see which opportunities might be a good fit for your organization.

Please contact Hap Houlihan at (859) 257-4317 or hap.houlihan@uky.edu for more information.

DONATE ONLINE

To give your tax-deductible gift, click the button below and choose Kentucky Book Festival.

DONATE BY MAIL

Mail a check to:
Kentucky Humanities
attn. Kentucky Book Festival
206 E. Maxwell St.
Lexington, KY 40508

Anti-Harassment Policy

Kentucky Humanities has implemented a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, age, national origin, sex (including transgender status, gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), religion, disability, genetic information, marital status, political affiliation, or status as a parent. The Kentucky Book Festival has a zero-tolerance policy for harassment of any kind, whether in person or via email/social media/other electronic means, including but not limited to: Stalking or intimidation; Offensive verbal comments; Physical assault and/or battery; Harassing or non-consensual photography or recordings; Bathroom policing; Inappropriate, unwelcome, or uninvited contact or attention.

Should someone engage in any of these harassing behaviors, Kentucky Humanities staff will alert security, who will take immediate action in whatever form they deem appropriate, including expulsion from the event. This policy applies in all venues and areas of the Festival, to all who participate: staff, volunteers, authors, exhibitors, attendees, guests, vendors, press, and others.If you have been made uncomfortable by someone’s harassing behavior, or if you see harassing behavior happening to anyone else, please contact us.

Thank you!

Thanks so much to all who attended this year’s festival! Please provide feedback about your experience by submitting a survey. 

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