Thursday, June 13, 2024

The Southern Festival of Books gathers book lovers for food, music and reading


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Featured Photo by Lillian Chapman

Story by Lillian Chapman

MTSU Write booth with Kristine McCusker on the far right. (Photo by Lillian Chapman).

The Southern Festival of Books drew a huge crowd as families, friends and book lovers gathered in downtown Nashville to enjoy the music, food and booths full of books from Oct. 15 through Oct. 18. 

Middle Tennessee State University organized a booth for MTSU Write, which is a creative writing program in the MTSU English Department, and for the MTSU History Department where Kristine McCusker displayed a few of her published books. McCusker excitedly ran the booth and invited people to learn about MTSU programs.  

“This is about our tenth or eleventh year to do it,” Joel Tomlin said. “We’ve come every year and we think this is an important event for literacy in the area and a great chance to show off what we have.” 

Tomlin and his wife, Carol, own Landmark Booksellers which they opened 18 years ago in Franklin, Tennessee. Their booth was stacked with new and old books on display.  

One MTSU graduate ran a booth encouraging children to take an interest in STEM with books about fun science experiments and new ideas.   

Author Angela Geer-Gann with her friend Ramona Kinney. (Photo by Lillian Chapman).

“The goal is to get kids interested in STEM without it being just straight in your face,” she said.  

Book lovers would have been quite content at this event. Full of new authors such as Angela Geer-Gann, it’s a chance to discover new books and genres all while enjoying the buzzing atmosphere of the festival. Food trucks lined the streets encouraging people to eat and have fun. Some tents sold crafts and trinkets, while others offered chair massages. People smiled and talked and many brought their dogs as they looked among the booths. 

“My favorite part would probably be all the music,” said an attendee who attended the festival with her friends.  

With a large stage and speakers set up, music could be heard throughout the festival all day. Linda McRae, a musician in the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame, dedicated one of her songs to her husband, James, who was in the audience as she performed at the festival. 

The Southern Festival of Books is one way for readers to get out and enjoy themselves amongst other book fanatics.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Destiny Mizell, email For more news, visit, or follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines or on X at @MTSUSidelines.

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