What is SOKY Book Fest?
Southern Kentucky Book Fest is one of the state’s largest literary events! Our mission is to encourage literacy and the love of books in our community and beyond. Book Fest is presented by Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Warren County Public Library, and WKU Libraries. Held annually during the fourth weekend in April (April 21-22, 2017), SOKY Book Fest draws thousands of readers of all ages from across the U.S. who come to meet their favorite authors, purchase signed copies of their books, and learn from them in exciting panels, presentations, and workshops.
- Friday, April 21, 2017: 9am-2pm
- Saturday, April 22, 2017: 9am-3pm
Who’s behind this event and the other events on your website?
SOKY Book Fest events are organized by a team of book-lovers like you who work all year long to organize programs which promote reading and writing, both in and outside of the classroom.
When is it?
SOKY Book Fest is always the fourth weekend in April. This year: April 21-22.
Where is it?
The Knicely Conference Center (2355 Nashville Rd.) in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Do I have to pay anything to attend SOKY Book Fest?
Nope. SOKY Book Fest is always FREE and open to the public. Bring your friends, family members, book clubs, classes, etc.
Can I bring books with me to get them signed at SOKY Book Fest?
Sorry, but previously purchased books are not allowed to be signed. All signed books must be purchased at Book Fest Friday and/or Saturday.
Where is the schedule for the weekend posted?
The schedule for panels and presentations will be posted on our website each winter. It will also be sent out in a special Daily News insert each April to residents of Bowling Green and surrounding areas. The schedule is subject to change.
Which authors are attending this year? How many come?
The Author List will be updated continually on our website starting in November. We often post author announcements and sneak peeks on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and our blog, so friend/follow us! 150+ authors and illustrators attend each year representing all literary genres, including many from right here in Kentucky!
I want my favorite author to come to this event. Can I send author suggestions?
Absolutely! Send them to us, or post them to our Facebook.
What is Children’s Day?
Children’s Day is a full day devoted to school children in grades K-12, librarians, and to celebrate reading, learn from authors and illustrators, and buy signed books. It’s always the Friday before SOKY Book Fest (April 21, 2017). Children’s, Middle Grades, and Young Adult authors will be selling and signing books from 9am-2pm at the Knicely Conference Center. Patrons are invited to attend panels and presentations throughout the day. Lunch is provided to all students through our generous sponsors, and there are concessions available on site as well.
When/what is the Teen Writers Conference?
During Children’s Day (April 21, 2017). Sessions vary each year, and are taught by bestselling authors. Attendees can learn from the best about honing their craft, revising their work, creating worlds in fiction, writing nonfiction, and more. Registration will open in February or early March. You must register in order to attend so we can be sure we have enough room.
When/what is the Kentucky Writers Conference?
A conference for adults, taught by accomplished adult writers. It’s like college, but free. Workshops vary each year, and have covered screenwriting, poetry, editing a manuscript, finding an agent, revising your work, and more. Register online in February. This is a Friday-only event (April 21, 2017), and is hosted at WKU South Campus, next to the Knicely Center. You can park anywhere at the Knicely Conference Center property for this event, and there are concessions on site.
What is the difference between the Kentucky Writers Conference and the Panels and Presentations?
The writers conferences are craft workshops led by one or two authors. You must register for the Kentucky or Teen Writers Conferences. Panels are discussions with up to 5 authors on a variety of writerly/bookish topics, from writing fantasy to illustrating a book and more. Please do not hop from one panel to another. There will be a one hour lunch break from 11am-noon starting with the 2017 event so that there is ample time to meet authors and attend panels/presentations throughout the day.
Do I need to register to attend panels or presentations on Saturday?
No, all panels and presentations on Saturday are open admission.
What is the Meet the Authors reception? How do I get tickets? Do I have to dress up? What should I wear?
That’s a lot of questions! The Meet the Authors reception is an event the Friday before Book Fest (April 21, 2017) from 5pm-7pm at the Knicely Conference Center where you can mingle and meet the authors attending SOKY Book Fest the next day. There’s great food and lovely libations and the presentation of our annual Kentucky Literary Award. Dress is business casual. Tickets are $50.00 each, and will be available for purchase the first week of April.
Can I bring a friend?
If your friend has a ticket, then yes. MTA reception tickets help us plan the event, so they’re absolutely necessary in order for us to ensure we’ve ordered enough food, etc.
Which authors will be there?
Most of the authors and illustrators attending Book Fest on Saturday will attend the MTA reception.
How do I volunteer?
Contact us and we’ll get back to you with an assignment. We only need volunteers for Saturday, but you can help by spreading the word about this event year-round!
How can I apply to be an attending author?
Please review the Author Application Guidelines. You must fill out a form to be considered and receive official confirmation of attendance.
When will I find out if I am an attending author?
If you do not hear back within two weeks after submitting an application, please Contact Us. Decisions will be made on a rolling basis until the application window closes on November 14, with a full roster finished in December.
If accepted to be an attending author, what hotel will I need to stay at?
Never fear – we’ll send that info out once you’re accepted.
Am I in charge of bringing my own books?
Our bookseller takes care of books. If you need to bring your own, you will be contacted. Otherwise, don’t worry; you’re covered.
Travel and Accommodations
Driving directions from Nashville Airport:
From Nashville airport: Head south on Terminal Drive and stay on it, then merge onto I-40W. Take exit 215B to merge onto TN-155 N/Briley Pkwy. Take exit 15 for Interstate 65 N/US 31E S/Ellington Pkwy/Briarville Rd. toward Louisville. Keep left at the fork to continue on Exit 15C, follow signs for I-65 N/Louisville and merge onto I-65 N. Keep left at fork to stay on I-65 N. Wave hello to Kentucky. Take exit 20A-B for William H. Natcher Parkway toward Scottsville/Owensboro. Keep left at yet another fork to continue toward KY-9007 N. Keep right at the next fork and merge onto KY-9007 N. Take Exit 6 for US-31W toward Bowling Green. Turn right onto US-31 W N/Nashville Rd. Keep on keeping on until you see the Knicely Center on your left (1.7 miles).
Any suggestions on where to stay?
The Holiday Inn University Plaza (1021 Wilkinson Trace), The Hyatt Place (1347 Center St.), and Staybridge Suites (680 Campbell Lane) are our partner locations, and all provide shuttles for guests. There are a bunch of options if you take Exit 22 off I-65 coming towards Bowling Green (Days Inn, Hampton Inn, Ramada, etc.), and they’re about 15 mins from the Knicely Center.
See a map of the local area on our Directions page.
How can I better manage my budget for Book Fest?
Our intern actually budgets for Book Fest by putting 10% of her paychecks into a savings account. She also makes a list of the authors coming that she is interested in and makes a list of the books she would like to buy. She lists them from the ones she is most interested in to least interested in and then goes to Barnes and Noble’s website to get a price for each book. This is a dedicated approach. Put aside money under your mattress or in a jar or shoebox or something so you can pick up some awesome books at Book Fest. You can try, but you may never surpass the amount of signed books our partner at the public library has.