Virginia Festival of the Book Announces 2016 Headline Events

Charlottesville, Va.—The twenty-second annual Virginia Festival of the Book will be held March 16-20, 2016, at various locations in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. The 2016 Festival will feature the Loch Ness monster, World War II spies, U.S. Immigration policy, the 100th anniversary of the National Park System, and the Stinky Cheese Man in headline events, which were announced Monday at a Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH) event.

At the launch event, Festival director Jane Kulow confirmed five authors for these headline events:

In making the announcements, Kulow said, “We’re proud of the Festival’s twenty-two year legacy of bringing excellent authors and engaging programs to Charlottesville each spring, and it is so exciting to share some of the events we’ve been working on for months. Offering historical fiction, history, immigration policy, spies, and great children’s books, these authors are just the beginning of what we think will be our best Festival yet!”

Additional authors and events will be announced as they are confirmed. Tickets for select 2016 Festival events go on sale at on September 24, 2015 at 9:00 AM.

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Sara Gruen is the author of four novels, including Water for Elephants and Ape House. In her latest book, At the Water’s Edge, she weaves a historical drama in the midst of World War II—with a monstrous twist. Gruen’s master storytelling transports the reader to the shores of Loch Ness in search of a fabled creature. Along the way, her characters struggle with trials of life and love in what the Boston Globe calls, “A gripping, compelling story.”

Alan Furst is the author of fourteen books, a past recipient of the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award, and “America’s preeminent spy novelist,” according to the New York Times. His latest novel, Midnight in Europe, is set in 1938 as Europe begins its headlong fall into World War II. It’s a tale of political intrigue and personal idealism set against the dark threats of Hitler and Franco. Secret agents, aristocrats, and arms dealers all play a role in this spellbinding thriller.

Tom Gjelten is a veteran journalist who has covered wars in Central America, the Middle East, and major national stories in the Unites States. His forthcoming book, A Nation of Nations: A Great American Immigration Story, examines the impact of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act in its fifty-year existence. Focusing on Fairfax County, Va., the book provides an in-depth assessment of the law’s effects through a combination of personal stories and larger demographic and political issues.

Douglas Brinkley is a professor of History at Rice University and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and Audubon. His forthcoming book, Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America, assesses the environmental legacy of FDR and the New Deal through a close examination of the National Park System and the Civilian Conservation Corps. Brinkley skillfully crafts a compelling biography with a critical analysis of the tension that exists between business and America’s grand natural heritage.

Jon Scieszka is an award-winning author as well as a nationally-recognized reading advocate and founder of Guys Read, a web-based literacy program for boys. His irreverent retelling of classic fairy tales in The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales revolutionized children’s publishing, thanks to Scieszka’s own dark humor and the quirky illustrations of Lane Smith. He has written more than a dozen picture books and multiple series, including the Frank Einstein series. With Scieszka, the Virginia Festival of the Book will have presented all of the living National Ambassadors for Young People’s Literature.

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About the Virginia Festival of the Book

A signature program of the Virginia Center for the Book, the Virginia Festival of the Book brings readers and writers together in Charlottesville, Va. for a five-day program of mostly free events including author readings, book signings, panel discussions, StoryFest programs for children, and more. The twenty-second annual Festival will be held March 16-20, 2016. The Festival is the largest community-based book event in the Mid-Atlantic region and has consistently attracted audiences of more than 20,000 from more than forty states each spring, with an estimated local economic impact of about $4 million annually. To learn more, visit

About VFH: The mission of Virginia Foundation for the Humanities is to connect people and ideas to explore the human experience and inspire cultural engagement. VFH reaches an estimated annual audience of 23 million through Community Programs, Digital Initiatives, Scholarship, and the Virginia Center for the Book. For more information, visit