The Vegas Valley Book Festival, now in its sixteenth year, is a celebration of the written, spoken, and illustrated word. The festival has networked together a community-wide consortium of cultural organizations and sponsors to offer “a one-stop shopping experience for literature” through a wide range of programs built around sharing resources, developing audiences, advancing the craft of writing, and sharing the joys of reading. This annual festival is the largest literary event in Nevada, drawing more than 10,000 attendees during the season. Since its founding in 2002, the festival has presented over 800 authors and speakers and has produced or sponsored over 500 events, sessions, readings, workshops, and book signings. The festival is free and open to the public.
The mission of the VVBF is to foster the growth and development of literary culture in the Las Vegas Valley.
Plan and develop an annual book festival that offers a wide range of literary experiences for all ages of the community.
Support and nurture the community of local writers and illustrators.
Develop programs that promote reading, literature, and the arts.
Promote the networking of local literature organizations and enhance their capacity to serve their audiences.
Foster and develop public and private support for book festival activities, as well as other literary programs and literacy efforts in the community.
AIGA Las Vegas Chapter
City of Las Vegas Office of Cultural Affairs
Las Vegas-Clark County Library District
Las Vegas-Clark County Library District Foundation
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Beverly Rogers Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute
Brian Kendall – City of Las Vegas — Steering Committee Chair
Matt McNally – Las Vegas-Clark County Library District — Steering Committee Chair
Stephen Bates – University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Richard Becker – Copywrite, Ink. & AIGA
Jessica Carroll – PBS Vegas
Bobbie Ann Howell – Nevada Humanities
Matt Kozanecke – City of Las Vegas
Ryan Neely – Las Vegas-Clark County Library District
Shana P. Venenga, Clark County School District
history of the vegas valley book festival
The inaugural Vegas Valley Book Festival took place November 1-2, 2002, at the Henderson Pavilion. Founded by Nevada Humanities, in partnership with Henderson District Public Libraries, the Festival hosted a range of panel discussions and presented keynote authors John Irving, Tom Robbins, and Louis Anderson. The following year the Festival celebrated Chicano literature with keynotes Rudolfo Anaya, Richard Yanez, and Jose Skinner. Festival highlights, 2004, included keynote authors Walter Mosley and Charles Johnson and the introduction of a strong and engaging poetry component. In 2005, the annual Festival expanded to include several sites downtown as part of the city’s Centennial Celebration; and the first annual Children’s Book Festival was introduced.
The following year, the Festival officially moved downtown with Nevada Humanities, City of Las Vegas, and the Las Vegas Review-Journal as the primary sponsors. Chuck Palahniuk served as keynote author presenting a spirited and memorable address. In 2007, the Festival celebrated the literature of place with Sarah Vowell as keynote author. In 2008, the Historic Fifth Street School became a primary location for the annual festival with some key events taking place at other sites in the valley.
Producing partners now included the City of Las Vegas Office of Cultural Affairs, Nevada Humanities, Las Vegas Clark County Library District, UNLV’s Black Mountain Institute, Las Vegas Review-Journal; and AIGA, Las Vegas Chapter, became the official branding partner. Neil Gaiman and Michael Chabon were bookend keynote authors.
In 2009, a number of new signature projects were introduced including the Las Vegas Writes Project, the Book Club Initiative, the Crystal Bookmark Awards and the Illustrated Word exhibitions. A schedule of pre-festival events became an annual feature of the festival. E.L. Doctorow and U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan were keynote authors, with Festival attendance doubling to over 10,000.
In 2010, an annual Festival planning team was put in place that included producing partners, representatives from the reading and writing communities, and several at large members. T.C. Boyle and Dennis Lehane served as keynote authors. The Flash! Short Fiction contest was introduced and the Festival presented a new Sunday event, Feasting On Words, celebrating literature and food.
In 2011, Max Brooks and Jane Smiley were the keynotes.
In 2012, Festival attendance grew to 12,000 over three days, with headliners Charlaine Harris and Jennifer Eagan. The Young Adult part of the festival featured over 35 authors and drew enthusiastic new audiences. A new Producing Partner, Barnes & Noble, joins the Festival in 2013.