From our plentiful used bookstores to our diverse local book clubs, the city of Tucson has a long-standing love affair with the written word. Next month, Tucsonans will get the chance to demonstrate their love of books all over again at the 10th annual Tucson Festival of Books, held every spring on the UA Mall. If you’ve never been before, make 2018 the year you finally discover this wonderful—and relatively recent—Tucson tradition.

Even if you’re a long-time attendee, though, you may have some questions about the specifics of this year’s festival. This guide will arm you with the information you need to get the most out of the 2018 Tucson Festival of Books.

What is the Tucson Festival of Books?

The Tucson Festival of Books is a yearly celebration of books, poetry, and other literature of all kinds. Every year, thousands of people gather on the grassy turf of the University of Arizona Mall to browse books, listen to their favorite authors, and participate in writing workshops.

When is this year’s Festival of Books?

This year, the Festival of Books takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 10, and Sunday, March 11. Admission is free for all attendees.

How long has the Tucson Festival of Books been around?

The Festival was founded in 2009 by a registered non-profit organization called the Tucson Festival of Books Foundation. Over the last 10 years, the Festival has raised more than $1,650,000 to support literacy causes such as Reading Seed, a local program that provides coaching to help elementary-aged children improve their reading skills.

How many people attend the Festival of Books?

When the Festival debuted in 2009, there were an estimated 50,000 attendees. For the last two years, the Festival has attracted more than 135,000 people.

Does the Tucson Festival of Books have a mascot?

Every year, the Festival of Books features a different mascot—and it’s always an animal you can find right here in the Sonoran Desert. This year’s mascot is the coyote. (Last year’s mascot, oddly enough, was the roadrunner.)

Where can I find parking?

Attendees may park for free on campus during the weekend of the Festival, but keep in mind that available spots tend to fill up quickly. If you’re looking for a convenient and eco-friendly alternative to driving and parking on campus, consider using public transportation with the Tucson streetcar.

Is there food at the Festival?

There are two food courts at the Festival where you can purchase food from vendors throughout the day. Be sure to bring a water bottle so you can stay hydrated while you enjoy the Festival!

What authors will be at the Festival this year?

The Festival hosts more than 350 authors from virtually every genre in existence. You can find a complete list of presenting authors on the Festival’s official website. Here are just a few of the authors you can expect to see this year:

  • Humorist Dave Barry
  • Journalist David Cay Johnston, author of The Making of Donald Trump
  • Retired astronaut and author Scott Kelly
  • Feminist and social critic bell hooks
  • Actress Jenna Fischer, author of The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide
  • Television writer Bill Odenkirk, a writer for The Simpsons and Futurama
  • Author Tom Perrotta (Election and Joe College)
  • Author Veronica Roth (Divergent)
  • Mystery author J.A. Jance
  • Award-winning graphic novelist Jillian Tamaki
What else can I find at the Festival?

Along with exhibitor booths and author presentations, be sure to check out Science City, which features cool demonstrations, lab tours, hands-on activities, and other science-related fun. There’s also a literary circus show, kids’ events like Stories that Soar!, and plenty of other events to entertain the entire family.

Where can I learn more about the Tucson Festival of Books?

If you have any additional questions, you can contact the Festival’s office in Room 101 in the Park Student Union on the UA campus Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. by calling (520) 621-0302.

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About the Author

Justyn - Digital Marketing Manager, Special Projects
Justyn Dillingham

Digital Marketing Manager, Special Projects