Wendell Berry will be a keynote speaker at the SouthWord Literary Feast. (Photo: Contributed)

Talented authors from the South’s literary corners will descend upon Chattanooga this fall for the biennial SouthWord Literary Feast.

Formerly the Celebration of Southern Literature, the SouthWord Literary Feast is a weekend gathering of more than 40 members of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. It’ll be held Nov. 3–4.

Events consist of readings, discussions and panels with published members of the fellowship. In addition, seven authors will receive fellowship-sponsored awards at the event.


The keynote address will be delivered by Wendell Berry, a novelist, poet, environmental activist, cultural critic and farmer. His work includes the Port Williams series of novels set in a small Kentucky town and essays “Citizenship Papers” and “The Way of Ignorance.”

Berry’s environmental activism is highlighted in the below interview with Bill Moyers.

“There is no justification for the permanent destruction of the world,” he said in the video. “My belief is that the world and our life in it are conditional gifts. We have the world to live in, and the use of it to live from, on the condition that we will take good care of it.”

Two-day passes are $90 for the weekend. Individual day passes are $50.

Other ticket options are also available. Click here for more information.

Berry’s keynote address will be Nov. 3 at 5:30 p.m. at UTC’s University Center. Other events will be at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center and Lindsay Street Hall.

A full schedule is available here.

Other writers who plan to attend include poet T.J. Jarrett, novelist Jill McCorkle, Lee Smith, Charles Frazier, Silas House, Roy Blount Jr. and Ron Rash.

Lynda LeVan, director of the Southern Lit Alliance, said in a prepared statement:

SouthWord is one of the most unique literary festivals in the South. We are excited to have the Fellowship of Southern Writers again visit with local high school students, lead instructional workshops and participate in panel discussions at UTC and the various local halls. We are also excited to be planning new events and opportunities within the community that will offer attendees an even more personal, engaging experience.

Southern Lit Alliance is a long-standing literary arts organization in Chattanooga, founded in 1952. Click here for more information.