Now is the Time. Memphis is the Place.

Get Tickets Now: Memphis Literary Arts Festival 6/16

Art installation by Cat Pena in the Edge, Photo: Downtown Memphis Commission

The first Memphis Literary Arts Festival is happening this June.

The Center for Southern Literary Arts was founded with the goal to use literary arts to capture and reclaim stories as a pathway to repair, equity, and justice in the city, the South, and the nation. By building a sustainable arts community through retaining and recruiting local and national talent with their programs, the CSLA will provide a just and sustainable model for community development and arts-based creative place-making in the Memphis area. To continue their mission, they are putting on the Memphis Literary Arts Festival celebrating Memphis’ arts, storytelling, and history. Taking place in June in Memphis’ historic Edge District, it will feature food trucks, music, entertainment, dozens of exhibitors including publishers, local organizations, and vendors! The weekend is jam packed and free to the public, so check out the details below and make plans today!

By featuring renowned, award-winning authors from across the globe alongside exceptional local writers, artists, and civic leaders, we celebrate those lives most marginalized by region, race, class, gender, sexuality, ability or citizenship.” – CSLA

Dinner at the Hibiscus Salon

Author Kiese Laymon, musician Adia Victoria, chef Desmond Robinson (D. Arthur Catering), and documentary photographer Andrea Morales will showcase their work. All proceeds go to benefit the Center for Southern Literary Arts’ first annual festival.

  • When: Friday, June 15th – 6 pm to 9 am
  • Where: Premiere Palace Ballroom, 629 Monroe Avenue
  • Tickets: $85 – General Admission. $250 – VIP (featuring bonuses listed here).

Main Festival Details – Saturday, June 16th

  • Main Program – 9 am to 5 pm (Admission is free)
  • 9 am – 10:30 am @ Premiere Palace Ballroom
    • The Future Has a Past
      Alice Faye Duncan and Ravi Howard
  • 9 am – 10:30 am @ Marshall Arts Gallery 
    • The Short Story Is Dead / Long Live the Short Story
      Rion Amilcar, Chanelle Benz, Ravi Howard, and Maurice Ruffin
  • 9 am – 10:30 am @ Riverdeep Church
    • Boomeranging While Black & Literary: The Journey of Returning, Building Community, and Releasing Your Words
      Yasmin Boakye and Minda Honey
  • 10:30 am – 12 pm @ Premiere Palace Ballroom
    • Place Women
      Christina Olivares, Heather Dobbins, and Destiny Birdsong
  • 10:30 am – 12 pm @ Marshall Arts Gallery
    • Three Young Adult Authors in Conversation
      S. Jae-Jones, Sarah Nicole Lemon, and Kaitlyn Sage Patterson
  • 10:30 am – 12 pm @ Marshall Arts Gallery
    • Speculation and Truth-Telling: Imagining Different Worlds
      Kiese Laymon and Daniel José Older
  • 10:30 am – 12 pm @ High Cotton Backroom
    • Oxford American presents Writers on Writing:
      Crystal Wilkinson and Jamey Hatley
  • 10:30 am – 12 pm @ Premier Palace Ballroom
    • Smashing the Patriarchy in YA Literature
      S. Jae-Jones, Sarah Nicole Lemon, and Kaitlyn Sage Patterson
  • 12 pm – 1:30 pm @ Marshall Monroe Crossroads
    • Memphis Jazz Lunch featuring Ekpe Abioto & the Afrikan Jazz Ensemble
  • 1:30 pm – 3 pm @ Premiere Palace Ballroom
    • Sound and Vision: Remixing History, Culture, and Identity
      Marco Pave, Ann Powers, Mychal DenzelSmith, and Adia Victoria
  • 1:30 pm – 3 pm @ Marshall Arts Gallery
    • Designing Women
      Alice Bolin and Barb Johnson
  • 1:30 pm – 3 pm @ High Cotton Backroom
    • The Southern Foodways Alliance presents: What Beychella and Donald Glover can teach us about (food) writing 
      Ashante M. Reese and Osayi Endolyn
  • 1:30 pm – 3 pm @ High Cotton Garage
    • Memphis Vanguard 3000
      Siphne Aaye, Kenneth Wayne Alexander, Talibah Safiya, and Raven Writes
  • 3 pm – 4:30 pm @ Premiere Palace Ballroom
    • Solid Gold Soul Writing
      Kiese Laymon, Hanif Abdurraqib, Doreen St. Felix, and Daniel José Older
  • 3 pm – 4:30 pm @ Marshall Arts Gallery
    • Literary Hoodoo: At the Crossroads of Spirit and Storytelling
      Ekpe Abioto, Courtney Alexander, and Arthur Flowers
  • 3 pm – 4:30 pm @ High Cotton Backroom
    • A Reading: Three Poets
      Eloisa Amezcua, Jenny Johnson, and Sam Sax
  • 3 pm – 4:30 pm @ High Cotton Garage
    • ChalkBeat TN, MLK50, and High Ground News present: New Media Journalism in a Changing Memphis
      Laura Faith Kebede, Andrea Morales, and Madeline Faber
  • Street Fair – 9 am to 5 pm (Admission is free)
    • Food trucks
    • Music
    • Live entertainment
    • Dozens of exhibitors including local and national publishers, local organizations, and vendors.
    • If you would like to register to be a vendor, submit applications here (due no later than June 1st).
  • Official After Party – 7:30 pm to 10 pm (Admission is free)
    • Free Drinks to the first 100 people @ Premiere Palace
    • Live DJ, Siphne Aaye

To learn more about the Center for Southern Literary Arts and their festival, visit their website and follow them on their Facebook page for updates.