Here's what to look forward to at this year's Tucson Festival of Books

large group of people watching trapeze artists on the university of arizona mall

The Tucson Festival of Books, which returns March 4-5, regularly brings more than 100,000 people to campus.

Chris Richards/University Communications

A Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, an Emmy Award-winning sports journalist and a longtime U.S. senator are among the presenting authors at this year's Tucson Festival of Books, set to take place March 4-5 at the University of Arizona.

Iconic singer and songwriter and Tucson native Linda Ronstadt, sports journalist Jemele Hill and CBS chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett are among an impressive list of more than 400 authors that will take part over the two days of talks, signing events, exhibits and more.

tucson festival of books graphic

More than 400 authors across multiple genres will participate in this year's festival.

This year's presenting author lineup also includes U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who will speak on March 5 at 4 p.m. in the Student Union North Ballroom about his new book, "It's OK to be Angry About Capitalism."

Other authors presenting at the festival include:

  • Katherine Applegate, the New York Times bestselling author of the Animorphs children's science fiction series and "The One and Only Ivan"
  • Howard Bryant, sports journalist and author of nine books on sports legends, including Hank Aaron, Rickey Henderson and Venus and Serena Williams
  • Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of seven works of fiction, including the bestsellers "The Confessions of Max Tivoli" and "Less"
  • J.A. Jance, former Bisbee resident and bestselling author of more than 60 mystery novels
  • Beverly Jenkins, author of more than 50 novels and the recipient of the 2017 Romance Writers of America Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Craig Johnson, New York Times bestselling author of the Longmire mysteries, the basis for the hit Netflix original series "Longmire"
  • E. Lockhart, New York Times bestselling author and creator of the superhero Whistle for DC Comics
  • Veronica Roth, the New York Times bestselling author of the Divergent young adult science fiction series
  • Luis Alberto Urrea, a Pulitzer Prize finalist and member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame

Suspense writer Thomas Perry will receive this year's Festival Founders Award, which "honors literary achievement that has captivated our imagination and whose body of work will be an inspiration to readers, writers and booklovers," according to the festival website.

Ander Monson, professor in the Department of English

One of this year's participating authors is Ander Monson, professor in the Department of English.

The author list also includes a strong roster of UArizona authors, including: University President Emeritus John P. Schaefer; Mary-Frances O'Connor, associate professor in the Department of Psychology; and Ander Monson, professor in the Department of English.

"One of the things I love about the Tucson Festival of Books each year is how it allows me to take what I do in my writing and my teaching and projects it out into a larger and more public space and see what happens," said Monson, whose latest book is "Predator: A Memoir, a Movie, an Obsession."

Melanie Morgan, executive director of the Tucson Festival of Books, says organizers are ready for a full-scale comeback of the event in 2023, building on last year's edition, which drew about 100,000 visitors.

"We want to pick back up where we left off in 2019," Morgan said. "It was necessary for us to be creative in 2021 and 2022. Things were different because they needed to be. There will be a few fun changes for 2023, but back to the scale of the festival that we remember from before the pandemic."

Among those changes is a new location for the Teen and Author Stage, which was previously an outdoor stage on the Mall. The indoor amphitheater in the Main Library will now be used for workshops on topics including creating superheroes, drawing graphic novels and developing fantasy worlds.

Also, after a scaled-down appearance last year, the popular Science City returns at full scale this year with several science-themed "neighborhoods" featuring more than 50 organizations  – including dozens of university units, programs and clubs – offering hands-on activities, science demonstrations, performances and more for families with children.

water erupts from a blue barrel while a large crowd looks on

Science City's science-themed "neighborhoods" feature hands-on activities, science demonstrations, performances and more.

Attendees can prepare for the festival with help from the Festival of Books mobile app, which has event times and locations, author profiles, food vendors, a parking map and more. The app is available in the Apple Store and on Google Play.

Other UArizona authors presenting at this year's festival include:

  • Kara Aquilano Forney, Executive Director of Corporate Initiatives and Business Development, Arizona Online
  • Stephen Buchmann, Research Associate and Adjunct Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Virgil Hancock, Associate Lecturer, Department of Psychiatry
  • Christopher Jansmann, Director, Eller Systems Group
  • Bojan Louis, Assistant Professor, Department of English
  • Rosa Meronek, Standardized Patient, Health Sciences
  • Manuel Muñoz, Professor, Department of English
  • Suzanne Bowman Williams, Standardized Patient, Health Sciences

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