It's FREE and is one of the largest book festivals in the country, taking place on the University of Arizona campus. Last year they estimated 70,000-80,000 attendees, and I know there were literally hundreds of authors as well, with dozens, maybe over 100, panels/workshops/presentations on Saturday, and maybe just a few less on Sunday, all scheduled in blocks (like classes!) with 30 minute intervals in-between. It's so big, the GUIDEBOOK they hand out for free (which is the size of one of those large insert booklets they put in newspapers) is 64 pages long.
The panels themselves are inside (air-conditioned) buildings on campus--many underground in the "Integrated Learning Center," an area they built after I graduated, that takes up a good portion of the formerly-all-grass central mall... There are "panels" where a group of authors discuss things, and then "workshops" which for the most part seem to be one author...discussing things that are usually somewhat more directly related to writing. There were a TON of "workshops" last year, and they were almost all packed, but I don't see as many this year, or at least not as many that are relevant to me.
Then above-ground are tents with exhibitors, many (but not all) book-related. Even The Jane Austen Society of North America was there.
And in the center, they had a kind of food court.
There is a McDonalds on campus and they handed out McCafe mocha samples last year (there was quite a line sometimes!). I think this year they'll have real fruit smoothies. Since I don't like strawberries, I reckon I'd better just bring a lot of water.
They also sold lots of umbrellas last year--the sun was hot!
This year, I found at least 9 different panels/workshops I'm interested in attending! Well, actually 11, but 2 timeslots are double-booked.....
Which should I choose? "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers" or "Electronic Publishing - More Than an Alternative"? Both sound useful. The self-editing is categorized under "literature/fiction" and I don't really write literature, plus I've heard tons of things about editing. (The challenge is putting them into practice.) But on the other hand, I've heard a lot about eBooks/etc. already, too, even though that's probably how Maggie and I are going to end up publishing The Pirate and the Healer. (You can make good money publishing eBooks, and I only saw one remotely reputable publisher that looked willing to even consider an unagented Christian fantasy romance with pirates.)
OK. Electronic publishing it is!
I'd also like to attend "Creating Biography from Diaries and Letters" but as far as I know, I'm not actually going to WRITE a biography, and "How to Write and Publish a Book in the Next Three Months!" sounds infinitely more tempting.
Anyway, it's definitely worth attending, whether to learn, get motivated, or just hear some free talking and maybe pick up a smoothie.
Tucson Festival of Books--one more reason why Arizona is awesome (from January-March)!