Boston Book Festival

Boston Book Festival — Every Booklover’s Dream

If you are an avid booklover and you happen to be in Boston, Massachusetts in October, you should probably visit the Boston Book Festival. And did we mention there is no festival admission? Yeah, it is free.

The festival lasts one or two days, depending on the year. It takes place throughout Copley Square and in Boston’s Back Bay, on the streets and in surrounding cafes, churches, libraries and other important locations.

Things You Can Find at the Fest

If you decide to visit, you will enjoy interviews with writers, different lectures, book signings, and even poetry and musical performances. Vendors also visit the Book Fest so you might even snag a good book for yourself. 

There are also multiple activities you can participate in (which are free, by the way), including writing contests and workshops, activities for children, and even open mic stages.

A Little Bit of History

The Boston Book Festival is fairly new — the first one was held in 2009. Back then, there were only around 75 authors. However, the festival steadily grew over the next few years. 

The number of participating authors increased as well; a couple of hundred authors from all over the world visit the festival each year. Still, that number is nothing compared to the number of visitors — over 32,000 of them in 2011.

If you are in Boston during any other time of the year, you can enjoy some other events hosted by the Boston Book Festival organization. You can find more info about those events on websites such as

Last Year’s Event

The 2019 Boston Book Festival took place on October 19 in Copley Square and October 20 in Roxbury. Last year it hosted writing workshops for children and teens, spoken word performances, immigrant fiction panel discussions, and a comic book tutorial.

Starting with an evening kick-off on Friday 18, the 2019 event welcomed 350 presenters across 141 events and gathered a crowd of over 30,000 people. 

Here are some of the last year’s participating authors:

  • Adam Abramowitz, the author of the Bosstown novels series that follows a bike messenger as he tries to learn about his family’s criminal history. This year, Abramowitz presented a follow-up to the series with the title “A Town Called Malice”.
  • Elliot Ackerman, who wrote several novels, including “Dark at the Crossing”, presented his newest book “Places and Names” — a memoir about returning to the battlefronts of the Middle East.
  • Crystal King, the author of “The Chef’s Secret” and “Feast of Sorrow”.

Special Events

Every year, there are some special events that aren’t tied to literature. This, however, doesn’t make those events any less interesting. 

Some of the events that the attendees enjoyed this year include:

  • Boston By Foot — A walkthrough of the neighborhood where Louisa May Alcott, the author of “Little Women”, used to live. The attendees had the opportunity to take a walk through Boston with a guide and explore interesting locations from Alcott’s life. The tour ended in Boston Commons and the group walked back to the festival.
  • Street Art Walking Tour — Participants of this special event had a chance to walk from Dudley Square through Roxbury all the way to the Northeastern university while enjoying street art. This event was led by Cedric “Vise1” Douglas, a graffiti and street artist. At the end of the event, the participants even had a chance to design their own T-shirts.

Upcoming Events

As mentioned above, BBF hosts different events throughout the year, all of which are as exciting to visit as the main event. 

Here are some suggestions:

  • On June 11, 2020, the Boston Book Fair hosts an event called Lit Crawl Boston 2020. Over three evenings, you will be able to participate in a variety of literary events including performances, games, and other activities. These events take place in art galleries and cafes, as well as some places you might not expect. Most of these places offer free food and wine.
  • A week before the main event, in mid-October, BBF hosts another event called #BBFBookHunt. During this event, the participants get a bundle of books, they hide it somewhere, take a picture, and post it on Twitter. The hunters then have to guess where the bundle is and pick it up.

Final Thoughts

The Boston Book Festival is a place for everyone, from kids to senior citizens. With so many events, famous authors, and good books, you are surely going to find something you enjoy. 

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