Book Math

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The annual Savannah Book Festival boasts some impressive numbers


FOR A GATHERING OF WORD LOVERS, the annual Savannah Book Festival boasts some impressive numbers — fueled by a lean staff, generous support of donors and volunteers, and some very detailed spreadsheets to pull off one of the city’s most anticipated weekends of the year. Here’s everything you need to know about the SBF at a glance.


Since the first Savannah Book Festival (SBF) assembled at Trinity United Methodist Church 17 years ago, the nonprofit continues to present nationally recognized national, regional and local authors to thousands of book-loving attendees. 


The 2024 fest takes place over Presidents’ Day weekend, Feb. 15-18.


More than 600 authors and counting have participated in the SBF, including James Patterson, Stephen King, Jodi Picoult and Walter Isaacson. 


SBF is invitation-only, meaning the 34 authors who accepted to participate in the 2024 schedule were hand-selected. The rigorous planning process begins with the Author Selection Committee, which includes local booksellers, writers, bibliophiles and more. The invite list aims to create an appealing and diverse mix of genres and authors who published books within the past calendar year.


An arm tattooed with the local area code appears on the cover of “Pritty,” a debut novel by Savannahian Keith F. Miller, one of this year’s featured authors.


There is no cost to attend “Festival Saturday.” The events are free and open to the public, with limited seating available on a first-come basis.


During Festival Saturday, authors each give a free 30-minute presentation, followed by a Q&A and book signing. Presentation topics can vary from the creative process to their life as a writer to “How to Sell a Haunted House,” which Grady Hendrix — the author of the book of the same name — plans to do this year.


This year marks three decades since John Berendt published “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” Celebrate with him on “Festival Saturday” during his free 30-minute presentation, followed by a Q&A and book signing in Telfair Square. (Authors will only sign copies of books bought at the Festival.)


The schedule unfolds across seven venues around Telfair, Chippewa and Wright Squares.


The minimum number of minutes you should plan to arrive before an author’s presentation. No entry is allowed after a session begins.


In addition to the free “Festival Saturday,” the SBF also includes three ticketed headliner events. This year’s lineup features an opening address by Ruth Ware, a keynote by Jeannette Walls and a closing address by David Grann.


To improve the likelihood of scoring entrance to the ticketed events, purchase a Literati membership starting at $250. Along with the perks of early access to ticket sales and preferred seating, members receive a 10% discount on books purchased at the SBF, an invitation to the Literati appreciation party and more.


In 2020, John Grisham sold out his keynote address within five minutes of the tickets going on sale. (If you missed it, you can watch the entire presentation on SBF’s YouTube channel.)

This story and much more in the January/February issue of Savannah magazine. Get your copy today!