By Carrie Steinmehl, Southern Voices Festival, Co-Chair


In 1993, Library Director Linda Andrews started a conference that she hoped would celebrate the contributions of artists whose endeavors have inspired and entertained people all over the South. Over the years, renowned authors such as Rosalynn Carter, Pat Conroy, Frank McCourt, Harlan Coben, Lisa Scottoline, Adriana Trigiani, Scott Turow, Ann Patchett and, most recently, Erik Larson have participated in the conference. In 2017, the conference, now a four-day festival, will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a phenomenal group of artists, musicians and writers.

The 2017 Southern Voices Festival will be held the week of Feb. 21-25 and will be one of our best yet. The festival begins on Tuesday, Feb. 21 with a reception for artists Bethanne and Darius Hill, who create landscapes and mixed-media art, respectively. The festival continues on Wednesday and Thursday with two performances by folk duo Zoe Speaks, returning to the stage as part of The Library Theatre’s 25th anniversary season as well. Tickets for this concert are available at

On Friday, Feb. 24, we are doing something new … a one-woman play! Rebecca Wells, author of Little Altars Everywhere, will bring the characters from her best-selling novel, The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, to life on our stage. Ms. Wells will be performing at 7 p.m. in The Library Theatre and her presentation will be followed by a reception on the Library Plaza.

The author conference closes the festival on Saturday, Feb. 25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This year’s conference brings new and well-loved names from a brilliant group of writers from all over the country. Keynote speakers Chris Bohjalian (The Sleepwalker) and Rabia Chaudry (Adnan’s Story) will be joined by a cast of talented writers: Lou Berney (The Long and Faraway Gone), C.J. Box (Off the Grid), Julie Cantrell (The Feathered Bone), Kristy Woodson Harvey (Dear Carolina), Mary Kubica (Don’t You Cry), Michael Farris Smith (Desperation Road) and Karen White (The Guests on South Battery). As in previous years, the festival will offer two venues in which to see the authors. Participants will be able to choose The Library Theatre or the Library Plaza; all authors will appear in each venue and will be available for book signings following the conference. Lunch is also available from East 59 Café; participants can call 518-6264 to place their order by Feb. 17.

Tickets for the 2017 Southern Voices Festival go on sale Friday, Jan. 6 at 9 a.m. You can purchase tickets online at or by calling 444-7888. For more information, visit