Among the widely reputed U.S. book festivals are the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Maysville Festival of Books, Baltimore Book Festival, Southern Kentucky Book Festival and the Virginia Festival of the Book. Seen as one of the premier literary events of the country, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is held annually on the last weekend of April. It features books in different genres, ranging from poetry readings to a children's area. At this greatest of such events in America, books are regarded as a very important source of information, and of learning and entertainment.
Held first in 1996, with the purpose to bring together writers and book lovers, the Festival was an immediate success and turned out to be the most prestigious and largest of literary events nationwide. More than 300 exhibitor places, representing literacy organizations and publishers, attracts nearly 150,000 visitors annually. Many booksellers represent various cultural and ethnic communities, selling books in different genres and languages. The 2006 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books will include book reviews, lectures by eminent authors, and writing workshops.
Another festival of books is the Southern Kentucky Book Festival, and it is sponsored by the Bowling Green Public Library, the Western Kentucky University Libraries, and the Barnes and Noble Booksellers. Held annually during the National Library Week, the festival is considered the largest literary event of the State of Kentucky. The first day of the two-day festival is devoted to children, who are provided with the opportunity to participate in musical and dramatic performances, meet their favorite authors and show their creativity. The second day is the major event, featuring the adult authors and book presentations.
The 2005 Southern Kentucky Book Festival featured such authors as: Sharon Greech, Sue Grafton, John Carpenter, Chuck Barris, Marsha Mason and others. The festival was awarded the 2005 Traverse Awards for Excellence in Tourism Marketing, for their marketing campaign. The award was received at the Kentucky Tourism Industry Annual Conference in Lexington.
Yet another festival of books is The Virginia Festival of the Book. It also is an annual public literary event for both children and adults, and hosts authors in more than 200 programs. Established by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the festival is held in Virginia each March with the aim to promote literacy.
The eleventh Virginia Festival of the Book took place on March 16-20, 2005. It featured about 300 writers representing all genres and had the record number of visitors - totaling 22,380. The festival exists due to the efforts of the volunteer committees, who make significant contributions to the prosperity of the fest of books and reading. The programs range from book signings and author readings to the Story Fest Day for children. Almost all the programs, with the exception of the Mystery Luncheon, Festival Luncheon ,and the Saturday Evening Reception, are open to public. The Festival enjoys the support of twenty bookstores in Charlottesville as well as many resident writers of the State of Virginia.