The 15th annual Festival of Books & Authors hits quite a milestone this year, so it’s only fitting that someone throws a big birthday bash.

Luckily, Bookmarks has that covered.

“We couldn’t be more excited to celebrate,” says Ginger Hendricks, executive director at Bookmarks. “The Birthday Bash is just for adults. It will feature book-themed fun, plus the chance to mingle with Festival authors, dance to live music, and enjoy great food and drinks.”

The festival, which has become a crown jewel of sorts for Bookmarks, will take place in various downtown locations — including the nonprofit’s independent bookstore — over the course of four days beginning Sept. 5. The festival is now billed as the Carolinas’ largest event of its kind in terms of attendance, and Jamie Rogers Southern, operations director at Bookmarks, says she expects around 27,500 visitors from several states.

Southern went on to say that patrons can expect several new offerings that will augment the many sessions where authors introduce their books on stage and answer questions about them.

“I want everyone who comes to be a participant and not just a viewer,” she says.

The new offerings include a Book Trivia evening at Footnote Coffee & Cocktails (Sept. 7); a Children’s Author Pancake Breakfast (Sept. 7), which gives kids an opportunity to mingle and enjoy breakfast with middle-grade authors, each of whom will go from table to table to introduce their books; and various workshops for children.

“It’s a little more interactive for children, for adults to engage with authors, and also [for authors] to engage with each other,” Southern says. “We really want our community to talk about books, to talk about reading, and [to] share what they’re reading as well.”

The 15th Birthday Celebration will take place on the evening of Sept. 6 at The Ramkat, kicking off the festival with a toast, a meal, cake by Dewey’s Bakery, bookish games, live music, a signature cocktail, and a few surprises.

As for the authors at the 2019 festival, 60 will make presentations, and of these, 48 are brand new to Bookmarks. 

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