The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

88° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Book festival has something for all

    Rather than embarking upon your exodus from Tucson Friday afternoon, consider staying an extra weekend and enjoying one of the largest literary festivals in the nation.

    The Tucson Festival of Books returns Saturday and Sunday to the UA campus. Last year’s festival drew 50,000 visitors, including big names like lauded children’s book author Gail Carson Levine. The event raised $200,000 for literacy programs in Southern Arizona.

    Again this year, the festival’s main draw is the impressive roster of authors visiting to read, sign books, lead conversations and participate in panel discussions with others in the business.

    “”The biggest asset are the authors,”” said Bill Viner, one of the festival’s founders.

    The 2010 lineup of more than 400 visiting writers includes Larry McMurtry, who wrote the 1985 Pulitzer Prizewinner “”Lonesome Dove”” and co-wrote the screenplay for “”Brokeback Mountain.”” McMurtry will speak about his career during a panel discussion Sunday.

    For those who lovingly remember such twisted fairytales as “”The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales”” and “”The True Story of the Three Little Pigs,”” author Jon Scieszka will be on hand Saturday during two panel events, discussing children’s book writing.

    The artists represent every literary taste, from nonfiction to food writing to graphic novels and comic strips. Viner said this diversity means everyone can find something to pique his interest.

    “”Pick a subject that you’re interested in and go hear a panel discussion where you don’t know the authors but you like the subject,”” Viner said. “”You can’t miss.””

    For the less bookish, the festival will include other forms of entertainment. An African drumming group, a magic show and the Ocotillo Poetry Slam will all perform during the festival, as well as bands from a variety of musical genres. On Saturday evening, a Book to Movie event will include a free screening of “”Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”” in Main Gate Square introduced by screenwriter John August.

    Children and teens will find plenty of activities at the festival. One new attraction for families this year is a literary circus. The Lindley Lopez Literary Circus , a troupe of circus players who perform tricks and spectacles with a literary theme complete with costumes, will perform three times on both Saturday and Sunday on the Circus Stage.

    Whether you’re hoping to meet the writer of your favorite detective novel, learn about the publishing industry or just take in the sights, the Tucson Festival of Books is the place for you this weekend. All events are free and open to the public 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. For a full list of events, visit

    More to Discover
    Activate Search