History of the Brattleboro Literary Festival

The Brattleboro Literary Festival 
is a three-day annual festival founded in 2002. The festival has grown from year to year to become one of the region’s most significant annual events, drawing more tourists, more sponsors and has presented over 900 authors, including winners of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, Women’s Prize, Newbery Medal and Caldecott Medal, among others. Saul Bellow appeared at the very first festival in 2002…it was to be his last public appearance. He was a part-time resident of the area. Past festivals have featured authors such as Julia Alvarez, Russell Banks, Saul Bellow, Ken Burns, Teju Cole, Anthony Doerr, Mark Doty, Joseph Ellis, Julia Glass, John Irving, Tracy Kidder,  Paul Krugman, Min Jin Lee, Ada Limón, Colum McCann, Claire Messud, Dinaw Mengestu, Paul Muldoon, Sigrid Nunez, Grace Paley, Gregory Pardlo, Tom Perrotta, Robert Pinsky, Richard Russo, Dani Shapiro, Elizabeth Strout, Isabel Wilkerson, and many, many more.



The Brattleboro area has a strong history of writing and publishing. In addition to Saul Bellow, authors Rudyard Kipling, John Irving, Mary Wilkins Freeman, Lucy Terry Prince, and many more called the area home. In 2020 we added a monthly virtual event called A Literary Cocktail Hour which has featured writers such as Jay Parini, Ruth Ozeki, Tess Gunty, David Maraniss, Maud Newton, and many more. We look forward to  continuing to grow the festival and celebrating the area’s rich literary history.


To view recordings from past Festivals and Literary Cocktail Hours, go to:





Saul Bellow in 2002