The Tucson Festival of Books supports organizations that work to improve literacy rates in southern Arizona. Those groups include Reading Seed, Literacy Connects and the UA's literacy outreach programs. To date, the festival has contributed more than $1.45 million to agencies that improve literacy in the community. (Photo: Jacob Chinn/UA Alumni Association)
The Tucson Festival of Books supports organizations that work to improve literacy rates in southern Arizona. Those groups include Reading Seed, Literacy Connects and the UA's literacy outreach programs. To date, the festival has contributed more than $1.45 million to agencies that improve literacy in the community. (Photo: Jacob Chinn/UA Alumni Association)

How to Do the Tucson Festival of Books

The annual festival, held on the UA campus, spans dozens of themes, including poetry, politics, fiction, fantasy, music, military, spirituality and outdoor adventures.
March 6, 2017
Extra Info: 

Learn more about the Tucson Festival of Books and plan your visit by visiting:

  • Parking information (Four garages will charge $5 for each festival day, aned exact change is recommended; other locations offer free parking and alternative transportation, including SunTran and the Streetcar, are recommended).
  • Access information for individuals with disabilities
  • The official map for the festival
  • Ticket information for select events and venues
  • Details about entertainment to be offered, including musical performances, storytelling, stand-up comedy and theater shows
  • The full list of exhibitors
  • Information and event details for Science City

Also, Metropia, Tucson's homegrown traffic solution app, is partnering with UA Parking and Transportation Services and the Pima Association of Governments to reduce gridlock and help festival attendees get to and from the event faster and with greater ease. Before starting the trip to UA campus, drivers can open the free Metropia app to view live parking availability at the Festival of Books. After choosing between free, paid and disabled parking lot options, Metropia users can select a specific available parking lot as their destination and receive navigation directly to their lot and around the event's road closures. The Metropia app is available for download via http://www.metropia.com/.

This year's festival events include those focused on the lives of animals.
This year's festival events include those focused on the lives of animals.
The Tucson Festival of Books has several events scheduled for foodies.
The Tucson Festival of Books has several events scheduled for foodies.

It is said that the Tucson Festival of Books, a bibliophile's dream, has something for every type of person.

This year's schedule includes a highly diverse range of talks, with best-sellers, emerging authors and researchers speaking about topics such as the experience of women writers, Navajo run weaving, folklore associated with dragons, World War II and the USS Arizona, race relations in America, old and new epidemics, and political legacies.

The festival, now in its ninth year and to be held March 11 and 12, also will offer programming for children and teenagers. Attractions include Science City,  a literary circus, a poetry venue, exhibitor booths and two food courts.

With hundreds of events scheduled, it can be overwhelming. But several resources exist to help plan an organized visit to the festival. 

The festival mobile app for iPhone and Android serves as a companion for festival goers, providing event times, locations and other relevant information. Metropia is partnering with UA Parking and Transportation Services and the Pima Association of Governments to reduce gridlock and help festival attendees get to and from the event faster and with greater ease through its mobile app. Information is available online at http://www.metropia.com/.

Here's a short digest of festival events geared toward certain personalities and interests:

ANIMAL LOVERS

Saturday, March 11

Dr. Nicholas H. Dodman, an internationally renowned veterinarian and research scientist, will discuss the complex emotional lives of animals and his breakthrough findings in the treatment of problems that are startlingly similar to human ills. "Pets on the Couch" will be presented from 10-11 a.m. at the UA BookStore, with a signing following the presentation. 

Two animal rescue advocates, Andrew Bloomfield and Laura Coffey, will discuss how their respective memoirs grew out of their experiences helping the creatures they care about during "Rescuing Animals," to be held in the Kachina Lounge of the Student Union Memorial Center, from 1-2 p.m.

In addition to Coffey, author Dan Flores and three-time New York Times best-selling author Maria Goodavage will speak from 4-5 p.m. during the presentation "Dogs, Wild and Working." The authors will discuss the ways dogs and humans interact. The event will be held in Special Collections.

During "Conflict and Coexistence: What Animals Teach Us About Our Humanity," author Steven Church and UA English professor Alison Hawthorne Deming will explore human relationships with the natural world, examining the many ways animals both challenge and contribute to our humanity. The 4-5 p.m. event will be held in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences tent.

Sunday, March 12

During "No Dog Should Die," Coffey will explore the benefits and joys of picking an older pet. The 10-11 a.m. event will be held in the Arizona Daily Star tent.

From 2:30-3:30 p.m., Coffey and Goodavage will speak with animal experts Pam Johnson-Bennett and Thomas McNamee during "Cats vs. Dogs." The experts will discuss how pet owners often define themselves as "dog people" or "cat people." The event will be held in Room 150 of the Integrated Learning Center.

FOODIES

Saturday

John Ash, who travels the world teaching cooking classes to both home and professional cooks, will present "Cooking 'Wild' — Learn to Eat Close to Nature," exploring how to use foraged, untreated and natural foods. The 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. event will be held on the Culinary Stage.

Sunday

During "Arizona's Best Recipes," Arizona Highways editor Kelly Vaughn will discuss how restaurants were chosen for the new "Arizona's Best Recipes" cookbook. She also will discuss life as an editor, and one of Tucson's top restaurants will demonstrate a featured recipe. The event will be held on the Culinary Stage from 10-11 a.m.

James Beard Award winner Naomi Pomeroy will share her knowledge and experience during "Taste and Technique: Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking." The event will be held from 2:30-3:30 p.m. on the Culinary Stage.

SCIENCE AND SPACE GEEKS

From 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on both days of the festival, the UA's College of Science and BIO5 Institute will co-host Science City, which includes five thematic neighborhoods and stages, hands-on activities, tours and other demonstrations spanning the worlds of science and technology.

Other festival events include:

"The Glorious Insect World," during which expert naturalists John Alcock, Emeritus Regents' Professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University; pollination ecologist Stephen L. Buchmann; and UA entomologist Justin Schmidt, known for his Schmidt sting pain index, will offer their unique insights on insects that sting. The event will be held Saturday from 10-11 a.m. at the National Parks Experience.

"Wildfire in Focus" recalls some of the most devastating wildfires in the region's history, including those with tragic costs such as the deaths of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots in the Yarnell Hill fire. The Saturday event will be held from 2:30-3:30 p.m. at the National Parks Experience with Stephen J. Pyne, author of "Between Two Fires" and a series of regional fire surveys, and Fernanda Santos, who writes about the Southwest as chief of the Phoenix bureau of The New York Times.

"Science Is Stranger Than Fiction" will be held Saturday from 2:30-3:30 p.m. with a discussion of how nature really works. Justin Schmidt and Bill Schutt, biology professor at LIU Post and a research associate in residence at the American Museum of Natural History, will serve as the panelists during the event, to be held at the UA BookStore.

"Building Alternate Worlds," to be held Saturday from 4-5 p.m. in Room 150 of the Integrated Learning Center, offers an exploration about how authors create worlds where magic is real. Writers Gini Koch, Erika Lewis, Brian McClellan and Samantha Shannon will speak.

"Incredible Stories From Space" will be held Saturday from 1-2 p.m. Panelists are Nancy Atkinson, editor and writer for Universe Today, and Kristin Block, a planetary scientist at the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory who is principal science operations engineer for the HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Both will share compelling personal insights from NASA space missions, taking attendees behind the scenes of the unmanned missions that are transforming our understanding of the solar system and beyond. The event will be held at the Science City Main Stage.

SPORTS FANS

Saturday

"Writing Lyrically About Sports" with Joe Drape, a reporter for The New York Times, author William Finnegan and Terry McDonnell, an award-winning journalist, will be held from 4-5 p.m. at the UA Mall tent. Those who write about sports will talk about what is involved in going beyond recounting an event to writing lyrically about it.

Sunday

During "Little-Known Sports Heroines," author Ila Borders, writer Lydia Reeder and filmmaker Molly Schiot will share stories of women in sports. The 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. event will be held in Room 150 of the Integrated Learning Center.

HISTORY LOVERS AND NEWSHOUNDS

Saturday

"A Conversation on Segregated Spaces" will explore ways in which racially segregated spaces are constructed through language, law and culture in the United States and beyond. The event will be held from 10-11 a.m. in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences tent with UA cultural historian Tyina Steptoe, UA anthropologist Jennifer Roth-Gordon, author Reginald Dwayne Betts and Jeff Chang, executive director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University.

Joe Conason, author of "Man of the World: The Further Endeavors of Bill Clinton," will speak during "The Real Story Behind Fake News." The 10-11 a.m. event will be held in the Arizona Daily Star tent. A signing will follow.

During "Slavery in America," authors will discuss a Supreme Court case about a slave ship caught in legal limbo, the little-known story of American Indian slaves, and how slavery and racist ideas are intertwined. Panelists for the 1-2 p.m. talk are authors Andrés Reséndez, Jonathan Bryant and Ibram X. Kendi, whose book "Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America" won the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction. "Class, Race and Politics in America" will be held from 4-5 p.m. in Room 204 of the Henry Koffler Building with historians Victoria Bynum and Nancy Isenberg along with award-winning poet, translator and professor Patrick Phillips. The panelists will discuss issues of race and socioeconomic status in the U.S. and how they are reflected in politics.

U.S. poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera and UA alumnus Alberto Alvaro Ríos, the Arizona poet laureate, will address the relationship between language and human migrations during "Because We Come From Everything," to be held from 2:30-3:30 p.m. at the Pima County Public Library's Nuestras Raíces Presentation Stage.

From 2:30-3:30 p.m., Maureen Dowd, winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary and author of two New York Times best-sellers, will discuss her new book and share insights and anecdotes about the presidential candidates in the most recent election. The event will be held in the North Ballroom of the Student Union Memorial Center. A signing will follow the presentation in the foyer outside of the ballroom.

Sunday

"Freedom of the Press" will be held from 1-2 p.m. in the Student Union Memorial Center's Gallagher Theater. Along with Dowd, distinguished journalist Joe Conason and Evan Thomas, a writer, correspondent and editor for 33 years at Time and Newsweek, will discuss the future of journalism and what unbiased and fact-based reporting will look like. A signing will follow in the UA BookStores tent on the UA Mall.

Julie Iromuanya, an assistant professor of English, author Peter Ho Davies and Maceo Montoya, an artist and author, will discuss how newcomers arrive in the U.S. and embrace the idea of the American Dream, and what struggles they face in the process, during "Immigration Stories." The 4-5 p.m. event will be held in the Tucson Room of the Student Union Memorial Center. A signing will follow in the UA BookStores tent on the UA Mall.