SBF Keynote COLSON WHITEHEAD named National Book Award Winner for Fiction

SBF’s 2017 Keynote Address Speaker, Colson Whitehead, was named the National Book Award winner for Fiction for his novel, The Underground Railroad. Established in 1950 by the National Book Foundation, the National Book Awards have gone to some of the most accomplished American writers, including William Faulkner, Saul Bellow, Eudora Welty, John Updike, Ralph Ellison and Flannery O’Connor. This year’s prizes were awarded Nov. 16, 2016 at the annual dinner in New York City.

“We are thrilled to share in the selection of 2017 SBF Keynote Speaker Colson Whitehead’s novel ‘Underground Railroad’ as the winner of the National Book Award,” said SBF President Mark Murphy. “Having a current National Book Award winner is a first for the Festival–and a fitting way to kick off the celebration of the SBF’s 10th Anniversary!”

2016 was an amazing year for Whitehead and finished with him being named the USA TODAY Author of the Year for 2016. Other honors include:
· Finalist for the Kirkus Prize
· Finalist for the Carnegie Medal
· #1 New York Times Bestseller
· #1 Time Magazine Book of the Year
· #1 Amazon Book of the Year
· A New York Times Best Book of the Year
· A Washington Post Best Book of the Year
· A GQ Best Book of the Year
· A Newsday Best Book of the Year
· An O Magazine Book of the Year
· A Buzzfeed Best Book of the Year
· A Star Tribune Best Book of Year
· A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
· An Esquire Best Book of the Year

SBF Announces Headline Authors for 2017

Plans are falling into place for the wonderful 10th Anniversary Savannah Book Festival. We are excited to announce the three headline authors who will be presenting our Opening, Keynote and Closing Addresses at Trustees Theater.

SOLD OUT! For our Opening Address on Thursday, February 16, we are pleased to announce that #1 New York Times bestselling author, James Patterson, is returning to Savannah to help celebrate the Festival’s 10th Anniversary. Patterson is a beloved author who continues to entertain readers with his Alex Cross thrillers and his new line of short novels, BookShots. He holds the Guinness World Record for the most #1 New York Times bestsellers. His books have sold more than 325 million copies worldwide. His newest book, Cross the Line, will be released this fall.
SOLD OUT! The prize-winning, bestselling author, Colson Whitehead, will present our Keynote Address on Friday, February 17. Whitehead will discuss his #1 New York Times bestseller, The Underground Railroad, one of most talked about books of the year. It was recently chosen as the Oprah’s Book Club 2016 selection. This incredible story follows a young slave’s harrowing and desperate flight toward freedom as she faces unique challenges at every stop of the railroad…an actual subterranean system of trains and tracks.
We will finish the Festival with our Closing Address on Sunday, February 19 by Christina Baker Kline, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, Orphan Train. At the Festival, Kline will pre-release her new novel inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s mysterious and iconic painting “Christina’s World”. Her new book, A Piece of the World, will be available for the first time nationally at the Savannah Book Festival.

Tickets to our Opening, Keynote and Closing Addresses are $20 each. Tickets will go on sale to LITERATI members on January, 4, 2017. Tickets will go on sale to the public on January 11, 2017.

Over 40 authors are scheduled to join us on Festival Saturday, February 18, which is free and open to the public. Taking place in seven venues around Telfair, Chippewa and Wright Squares, over 10,000 people come to hear these well-regarded authors and fascinating new writers talk about their books. More info to come on this year’s roster of authors.

Presenting Sponsors:


Sheehan Family Foundation

Signature Media Sponsor:

About Us

The Savannah Book Festival Inc. (SBF) is an independent, nonprofit corporation led by a volunteer board of directors. SBF hosts best-selling and emerging authors in special events throughout the year, including a four-day Presidents Day weekend event that features talks by dozens of authors. The 2017 Savannah Book Festival will be held Feb.16-19, 2017, in locations in and around Telfair, Wright and Chippewa Squares in Savannah’s Landmark Historic District.

Keep the SBF Free

Your generous support helps keep our main Festival day free and open to the public – click here for more information about donation, LITERATI membership, and sponsorship opportunities.




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