The University of North Carolina Press was not the only out-of-towner attending the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville Oct. 10-Oct. 12. Comedian and actor Robin Williams strolled through the War Memorial Plaza on Sunday and checked out what UNC Press had to offer. He even purchased Lincoln and the Decision for War, by Russell McClintock, as seen in this picture!

Robin Williams takes Lincoln and the Decision for War
Robin Williams visits the UNC Press booth

Houston Baker, distinguished author, professor, and scholar of African American studies at Vanderbilt University, also visited the UNC Press booth, taking away copies of Sweet Tea, by Patrick Johnson, and Walker Percy Remembered, by David Horace Harwell.

We were extremely pleased with the Tennessean turnout. Everyone seemed excited about the event and really enthusiastic about books in general, like this little visitor below.

What’s also great about the Southern Festival is that authors are invited to speak to attendees and discuss their books with the audience afterward. Since UNC Press was returning to the festival for the first time in many years, we were thrilled with the amount of attention our books received. Our booth was frequented by many people throughout the weekend and books about North Carolina beaches, irresistible southern cookbooks, and many others proved to be favorites of the event.

Dale Volberg Reed and John Shelton Reed sign copies of Holy Smoke

Five of our authors–Stan Ulanksi (The Gulf Stream), John Shelton Reed & Dale Voleberg Reed (Holy Smoke), Peter Cozzens (Shenandoah 1862), and Barbara Duncan (The Origin of the Milky Way and Other Living Stories of the Cherokee) all spoke at the festival and were very pleased to speak to a nice turnout! About 30-40 visitors made their way to hear about the books–and stuck around to have their copies signed and to speak to the authors personally.

The Origin of the Milky Way was a great success and seemed to be the best seller of the weekend. Author Barbara Duncan spoke on Sunday and was very pleased with the interest in her book.

The Origin of the Milky Way and Other Living Stories of the Cherokee
UNC Press publicist Laura Gribbin and author Peter Cozzens

Author Peter Cozzens stopped by the booth just as someone was paying for a copy of his book, Shenandoah 1862: Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign. He happily signed the customer’s copy and was delighted to see such interest in his newly released book as well.

Overall, our first trip back to the Southern Festival of Books was a highly successful one. People seemed to really know our name and our books as well. In fact, a man walked into our booth, and as he noticed our banner, he said to his friend, “Oh, UNC always publishes the best Civil War books.” Others came by to inform us of how much they enjoy the books we publish and how happy they were to see us at the festival. We had a wonderful time at SFA, and to everyone who visited the UNC Press booth, helped organize the festival, and to both Robin Williams and Houston Baker for stopping by–UNC Press says thank you.