Stay In The Know: In The Situation Room with Michelle Cuttino



Michelle Cuttino


Here’s the situation… You’re ready to position yourself in the book industry, and are in search of great events to attend. Well, look no further. Here is a list of 2016 industry events you may want to add to your itinerary.


January 16, 2016: The Schomburg Center’s 4th Annual Black Comic Book Festival

(New York, NY)

The Schomburg Center’s 4th Annual Black Comic Book Festival celebrates the rich tradition of black comics in a full day event featuring panel discussions, film screenings, hands-on workshops and exhibit tables with premiere black comic artists from across the country.  You will also have the opportunity to check out the mind-blowing Afrofuturism art and design exhibition Unveiling Visions: The Alchemy of the Black Imagination curated by John Jennings and Reynaldo Anderson.


January 30, 2016: YAK Fest

(Keller, TX)

In an effort to connect teens with young adult authors, the Young Adult Keller Book Fest provides teens with an opportunity to immerse themselves in literature in a non-academic setting. Held in Fort Worth, Texas, YAK Fest allows teens to hone their literacy skills, become leaders and cultivate an interest in reading and writing.


February 19, 2016: The Writer’s Ball

(Atlanta, GA)

This Black Tie Charity Gala features readings, dinner, live entertainment, dancing, Red Carpet and more! A portion of the proceeds will support The Writers Ball Grant Program, created to bridge the gap between the financial reality and artistic creation by providing funding assistance for individuals with projects in artistic disciplines, including writing, performing or publishing original works.


February 19-21, 2016: The Inaugural Deckle Edge Literary Festival

(Columbia, SC)

The weekend-long Deckle Edge Literary Festival will feature readings, book signings, panel presentations, exhibitors, writers’ workshops, activities for children and young adult readers, and a wide range of other literary events for many interests and all ages. The festival will gather and foster the diverse branches of our region’s literary community through an inclusive weekend of public events and programming for readers, writers, and lovers of the written word.


February 27, 2016: The Literary Experience – CIAA Edition

(Charlotte, NC)

The Literary Experience (TLE) will feature bloggers, celebs, and authors in the city of Charlotte Feb 27, 2016. Join them for the social brunch of the year! TLE will take you between the pages of some of the bestselling novels with author- reader interaction, branding &blogging tips, surprise celebrity guests, food, music, drinks, exclusive red carpet interviews and more.


March 19, 2016: The Literary Lounge

(Woodbridge, NJ)

The Literary Ladies Book Club of Rahway, NJ brings you The Literary Lounge. Featured male authors are Victor McGlothin, Daniel Black, K.L. Bevin, and Brian W. Smith. Join them for a one of a kind literary experience with author-reader interaction, panel discussions, book signing opportunities and more.


March 31- April 3, 2016: 13th Annual National Black Writers Conference

(Brooklyn, NY)

The 13th National Black Writers Conference (NBWC) “Writing Race, Embracing Difference” places the issues of race and difference at the forefront of the literature produced by Black writers, and provides for writers, scholars, literary agents, editors, publishers, students, academics, and the general public to examine these themes through panel discussions and roundtables.


April 23, 2016: The Sistahs On Lit Book Festival

(Washington, DC)

Sistahs On Lit 3rd Annual Book festival will be held at Silver Spring Civic Center. This event is designed to showcase published and self-published authors for the general public’s enjoyment. The day will include book signings and sales, book discussions, and reader interaction with numerous multi-genre authors. The festival will also include general vendors, great food, and family-oriented entertainment.


April 25 – May 1, 2016: PEN World Voices Festival

(New York, NY)

Founded by Salman Rushdie in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, PEN World Voices is the only international literary festival in the world with a human rights focus. It attracts the world’s best-known writers and has garnered broad global acclaim as one of the world’s premier literary events. Since its founding 12 years ago, PEN World Voices has presented more than 1,500 writers and artists from 110 countries, speaking 56 languages.


April 28-30, 2016: Romance Slam Jam 2016

(Detroit, MI)

“The Romance Slam Jam grew out of an early desire to recognize, and pay respect to OUR authors, and to celebrate their craft with their avid fans.” Emma Rodgers, Ashira Tosihwe and Francis Ray gave birth to the Romance Slam Jam in 1995 in Dallas, Texas, to demonstrate what Nikki Giovanni describes as “The Power, Passion and Pain of Black Love.”


May 11-13, 2016: BookExpo America

(Chicago, IL)

Welcome to the largest publishing event in North America—BookExpo America (BEA). This year’s event promises to give you access to what’s new, what’s next, and everything exciting in the world of books.


May 14, 2016: The Prince George’s Book Festival

(Andover, MD)

This free and open to the public Festival will celebrate the written word, and feature activities for all age groups. Don’t miss this great opportunity to meet and greet bestselling authors, mingle with other readers, sit in on exciting panel discussions, and purchase great books from the authors and Barnes & Noble Book Store.


June 2-5, 2016: Go On Girl! Book Club 25th Annual Awards Weekend

(New Orleans, LA)

The Author Awards were created in 1992 to recognize those authors and publishers that have made significant contributions in the writing and publication of quality books for and about people of African descent. Each year individuals are selected based upon book reviews from each Go On Girl! Book Club chapter. They are then invited to receive their award in person at the annual Awards Ceremony.


June 3-5, 2016: Sacramento Black Book Fair

(Sacramento, CA)

This historic three-day book fair and celebration will include a panel discussion among four featured authors, book signings, talks by each of the featured writers, cultural & food vendors, book discussions with each writer listed in the program (80+), children’s activities, poetry readings, art displays, and much more.


June 10-12, 2016: AAMBC Annual Literary Awards Weekend

(Atlanta, GA)

The premiere literary event for lovers of black fiction is returning and is bigger and better. The AAMBC Literary Awards is the only entertainment award show held in Atlanta that caters to readers across the country. In 2016, AAMBC has laid out an All Star weekend of events with bestselling authors, book lovers, and TV and Film celebrities.


July 16, 2016: The 2016 Harlem Book Fair

(Harlem, NY)

The Harlem Book Fair is the United States’ largest African-American book fair and the nation’s flagship Black literary event. Held annually in Harlem, NY, the Harlem Book Fair features exhibition booths, panel discussions, book sales, and workshops.


July 29-31, 2016: 14th Annual National Book Club Conference

(Atlanta, GA)

The annual National Book Club Conference weekend, which is almost a spiritual occasion, consists of numerous book club meetings, panel discussions and other events that give readers face time with authors that rivals any literary occasion anywhere, in a fun, relaxed and intimate setting. The NBCC is where readers from across the country come together and depart friends.


July 29-August 1, 2016: Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Annual Summer Conference

(Los Angeles, CA)

This event features top agents, editors, art directors and publishers from the children’s book industry, providing insider information about the market.  The SCBWI conference is a rare opportunity to meet and network with such an influential group of the key decision makers in children’s publishing.


September 12-18, 2016: Brooklyn Book Festival

(Brooklyn, NY)

Enjoy beloved and cool writers and illustrators all day at the Brooklyn Book Festival. Books by participating authors and other adult and children’s books will be on sale with author book-signings after each program. The Brooklyn Book Festival Bookend events are literary themed events taking place in clubs, parks, bookstores, theatres and libraries. The Bookends kick-off a full literary week with film screenings, parties, literary games and author appearances.


September 16-17, 2016: The 2016 BWABC Literacy Rocks! Festival

(Memphis, TN)

At the festival you can meet, engage and network with authors, book clubs and avid readers from across the nation, purchase books to support literacy, walk the book club’s purple carpet, participate in games, win door prizes, Children’s corner, attend book club panel discussions, and enter essay contests to win a number of prizes and awards! It is a family friendly festival, and free to all!


September 23-25, 2016: Baltimore Book Fest

(Baltimore, MD)

The Baltimore Book Festival features hundreds of author appearances and book signings, 100+ exhibitors and booksellers, non-stop readings on multiple stages, cooking demos by celebrity chefs, poetry readings and workshops, panel discussions, walking tours, storytellers and hands-on projects for kids, street theater, live music, and a delicious variety of food, beer and wine.


September 30-October 2, 2016: The 12th Annual Cavalcade of Authors

(Chicago, IL)

The 12th Annual Cavalcade of Authors Tour in Chicago is taking it back to the 1920s. Begin the weekend with the Welcome to the Cotton Club formal dinner in the Palladium Room in the fabulous Hotel Allegro, situated in the heart of downtown Chicago. Start Saturday with brunch at the Grand Lux Café on the Magnificent Mile, and then follow that with a shopping excursion to Premium Outlet of Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. Later, come dressed up as your favorite character from Harlem Nights for the main event at Room 43 in Bronzeville. End the weekend with an inspirational Sunday brunch in the Morpheus Room. The Cavalcade of Authors is the ultimate event where readers and book clubs tour Chicago with their favorite authors. Join us for a weekend of private dinners, intimate chats, dancing, shopping, games, and so much more.


October 1, 2016: UBAWA Book Convention

{Los Angeles, CA)

The UBAWA Book Fair is an evolutionary groundbreaking annual celebration of the influence of African American literature within the urban arts and in mainstream culture. For a list of participating authors, visit


October 14-15, 2016: Black Authors & Readers Rock Weekend

(Bowie, MD)

The Black Authors & Readers Rock Weekend is a two-day literary conference, which provides authors the opportunity to meet 125 to 150 avid readers – in an up close and intimate setting, introduce and sell their books to readers who might not otherwise have been exposed to their work, and mingle, share and learn from other authors and readers.


October 15, 2016: 3rd Annual Independent Authors Book Expo

(Elizabeth, NJ)

Come out and meet face to face with local and international authors. Friends, family, and the community at large are encouraged to come out and support budding authors. Authors will make presentations from their books; also games, prizes, promotional giveaways will be available. A wide selection of books will be available for purchase at the event. The Independent Authors Book Expo features author exhibits, author readings and signings, children’s corner (with arts, crafts, and author readings), free workshops and seminars, book club meet and greet, and much more!


October 27-29, 2016: National Black Book Festival

(Houston, TX)

National Black Book Festival (NBBF) is an annual event, sponsored by, the world’s largest African-American retailer online.  The event attracts a wide array of authors, publishers, book clubs, libraries and individual readers from the Southwest U.S. and nationwide.


November 5-6, 2016: Texas Book Festival

(Austin, TX)

Texas Book Festival is an annual fanfare for book lovers, hosted in Austin, Texas. Founded in 1995 by First Lady Laura Bush, this two-day event invites many of the world’s best authors and avid book readers to Austin for book signings, panel discussions, live performances, cooking demonstrations, and much more. The Texas Book Festival is one of the nation’s premiere book festivals. There are a number of reasons people cite the annual Texas Book Festival as one of the premiere events in Austin, Texas. It’s a wonderful event where the depth of discussions with book authors along with the opportunity to support several non-profit groups meet for a love of literature and conversation.



There are numerous other book releases, industry events, seminars, workshops, book signings, fests, and more coming up in 2016. Stay In The Know with Michelle Cuttino, and follow me on Twitter @MichelleCuttino, or sign up for our monthly newsletter at


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