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Get bookish in the Bluegrass

The Kentucky Book Festival, an autumn tradition in its 41st year, is a celebration of all things bookish in the Bluegrass. On October 29, 150 Kentucky and national authors share their work with readers of all ages at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington. 

Books featured at the festival are newly or recently published—some will even make their debut. Headliners this year include historian Jon Meacham, who discusses his new book on Abraham Lincoln; Geraldine Brooks, who talks about her novel, Horse; and Kentucky-raised Barbara Kingsolver, who unveils a new work of fiction, Demon Copperhead. Kentucky natives Silas House and Wendell Berry attend, along with Kentucky’s poet laureate, Crystal Wilkinson. Book lovers find thousands of options at the Kentucky Book Festival, from Kentucky-centric books about University of Kentucky basketball, bourbon and horses to great reads about business, history, fishing and recreation, and miraculous recoveries, plus books to read with the kiddos at bedtime—all while meeting the authors who wrote them. 

Thanks to support from the Kosair Charities Face It Movement, each child (12 years and under) who attends the Kentucky Book Festival is eligible to receive a voucher for ONE free book (terms/conditions apply; while supplies last)!

More than book signing

The all-day festival, 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m., is held across two stages inside Joseph-Beth and encompasses a gallery of authors signing books, a children’s authors tent, and plenty of family-friendly activities like face painting and story times. For added fun in the spirit of Halloween, patrons can come dressed as their favorite book character and participate in a costume contest judged by children’s authors. Budding artists can even join in an interactive drawing session with an illustrator. 

Added attractions

Joseph-Beth, at the center of the shops of Lexington Green, is surrounded by great restaurants and retail stores, with tons of on-site free parking. Inside the bookstore, there’s the Brontë Bistro, serving brunch, lunch and dinner, and the best peanut butter pie in town. 

Also at Lexington Green, teens find a selfie paradise inside The Illusion, and the foodies in the family can satisfy their cravings at Cattywampus Station, a milkshake and burger bar offering some of the most decadent shakes in town. Festivalgoers find a massive selection of beer, wine and spirits at Total Wine; grab brunch at Palmer’s Grill; book a deep tissue massage at The Woodhouse Day Spa; or browse for a new outfit at Ever Eve or Logan’s. 

For those needing overnight accommodations, two hotels are within walking distance of Lexington Green. 

For the latest updates on the Kentucky Book Festival, along with the author lineup and schedule, visit

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