Festival of The Book

What You Need to Know 

This past weekend I had the privilege of attending the Virginia Festival of The Book. I had found this festival through an online search for book festivals in the DMV area. The organizers for the festival announce the future festival dates over a year in advance. If you visit their website the festival date for the next 4 years have been posted.


Tickets are fairly easy to acquire, I purchased my first ticket around three months prior to the event. The first ticket I purchased was for Friday’s Crime Wave Brunch with Attica Locke. Tickets were about $42, which included a nice breakfast while Attica Locke spoke and read from her latest novel Bluebird Bluebird. If you are planning to attend this event in the future be mindful that the doors open 30 minutes earlier than the stated start time and the meals are plated so you want to arrive early or on time before they start clearing the room of servers so that the attendees can hear the author while enjoying their meal. Overall I spent about $100 on ticketed events the rest were free and open to the public. One tip to keep in mind when attending festival is that books sold at the festival are always market price, by ordering your books ahead of time you save time waiting in line to purchase your book as well as money


I have never stayed in Charlottesville, VA and could only select hotels based on reviews from pasty guest. I selected the Courtyard by Marriott Charlottesville - University Medical Center for my stay. Check-In time is at 12:00pm. They allow you to book the room in advance and pay when you arrive, they also allow for early check-ins if you contact them a few days ahead of your arrival with an preferred time. This hotel is only 8 minutes from the Omni hotel, which is where the weekend brunches are held. There are several cool amenities offered including a partnership with YMCA which allows you access to their facilities. Parking is free and located in a garage.


This area is home to many college students the food options available to you are endless. I was able to bookmark a couple of places that I wanted to stop by before I arrived. For lunch my first day in Charlottesville I choose Mel’s Café a southern food restaurant located 7min walking from the hotel. Mel’s café has very reasonable prices for what taste exactly as if it came out your great grandmothers kitchen. The space is very intimate but the service is very southern and they will greet your immediately after walking in the door. I decided to try the fried fish, macaroni and chees and greens for my first visit which came with a nice piece of cornbread as well.

On Sunday with Celebration Brunch not starting until 11:30 am I had plenty of time to try another new location and still be able to enjoy the buffet. I decided to stop by the Iron Paffles & Coffee to try one of their famous sandwiches made with waffles that replace the bread. I cannot express how delicious this food was. Since it was breakfast I decided to try the chicken and grits paffle with maple syrup. I will recommend this place for those who drive; this little hidden gem is only a 3 minute drive but a 16 minute walk. If you come in early (between 7am and 8am) you purchase a custom paffle for only $7. I can’t wait to return next year I will definitely be revisiting these two locations.

The Celebration Brunch: A Tribute to the African American Literary Tradition is held the last day of the Virginia Festival of the Book at the Omni hotel. The ticket price for this if event is $65 and include a huge breakfast buffet. This event is one you will need to dress up for, expect women in their Sunday’s best and church hats. The event is very personal and encourages you to get to know one another. I was lucky enough to be seated at a table with two guest authors, which was pretty cool; I was able to pick up a copy of his book from the sellers outside of the event.


Future Festival Dates

The 25th annual Virginia Festival of the Book

March 20-24, 2019

The 26th annual Virginia Festival of the Book

March 18-22, 2020

The 27th annual Virginia Festival of the Book

March 17-21, 2021

The 28th annual Virginia Festival of the Book

March 16-20, 2022

I hope you enjoyed these tips for attending next year’s festival. Make sure you check out the VA Festival of The Book website for more information.