The Tucson Festival of Books is back!

The Tucson Festival of Books is back!

By Andy OberUniversity Communications
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The Tucson Festival of Books – Tucson's signature literary event – makes its return this year in a virtual format.

"Support for it has been amazing, and we have so many great authors joining us," says Melanie Morgan, executive director of the festival, which was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "It's a wonderful way to be able to bring the festival to Southern Arizona while keeping the community safe."

This year's event, happening March 6-7, will feature 164 authors as well as a virtual marketplace with more than 80 exhibitors. A full schedule and other information is available on the Tucson Festival of Books app, which can be downloaded from the Apple and Google app stores.

Most of the events during the two-day festival will be live discussions and Q&A sessions on the Crowdcast video platform. Select sessions will be available on demand. Attendees can review the full schedule online and bookmark presentations they want to see. To enter a session, users can click a link that will be provided. Attendees can buy books by the presenting authors on the BookStores' Tucson Festival of Books page.

Lisa See, author of books including "The Island of Sea Women" and "Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane," will be presented with the Tucson Festival of Books Founders Award. You can see the full list of 2021 Literary Award Writing Competition winners on the Tucson Festival of Books website.

Among the notable authors participating this year:

  • J.A. Jance, former Bisbee resident and New York Times bestselling author of the J.P. Beaumont series, the Joanna Brady series and the Ali Reynolds series.
  • Dean Koontz, whose suspense novels have sold more than 500 million copies.
  • Mary Alice Monroe, the New York Times bestselling author of 27 books, including the Beach House series.
  • David Pogue, a longtime New York Times tech columnist and five-time Emmy winner for his stories on CBS News "Sunday Morning."
  • Julia Quinn, author of the novels upon which the hit Netflix series "Bridgerton" is based.
  • Scott Simon, the host of NPR's "Weekend Edition" and author of several memoirs and novels.
  • Garry Trudeau, creator of the Pulitzer Prize-winning comic strip "Doonesbury."
  • Luis Alberto Urrea, 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist and recipient of the 1999 American Book Award and the 2019 Tucson Festival of Books Founders Award.

University-affiliated authors participating this year include:

  • Susan Crane, associate professor in the Department of History and the author of "Nothing Happened: A History," will participate in a talk about what and who makes history, and why some stories are left untold.
  • Lydia Otero, associate professor emeritus in the Department of Mexican American Studies, will discuss "In the Shadows of the Freeway: Growing up Brown & Queer."
  • Valerie Trouet, professor of dendrochronology in the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, will share dendrochronology's most impactful discoveries. Her book, "Tree Story," was published last year. (Read more about Trouet in this LQP profile.)

Worlds of Words, housed within the College of Education, will offer virtual sessions (PDF) for children and teens, including author interviews, a live science experiment and an "Illustrator Draw-Off." Science City, a kid-friendly collection of interactive events, exhibits and presentations coordinated by the College of Science and the BIO5 Institute, will not take place this year.

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