Looking for a literary festival to attend in New York? 

We’ve compiled a list of the biggest and best literary festivals in New York City and New York State.
The following literary festivals are a great place for writers, poets, and avid readers to meet and network. Each festival hosts a series of unique events, normally inclusive of presentations, readings by authors, open mic nights, writing workshops and more.

If you are interested in attending any of the listed festivals, it’s best to RSVP or buy your tickets as soon as possible to guarantee your seat. With that said, many of these literary festivals are open to the public for free.

Mark your calendar!

Festivals in New York City

  1. New York City Poetry Festival

The New York City Poetry Festival intends to create branches between various poetry communities. Moreover, they were founded in 2011 with the mission to liberate poets and their work from the dark corners of bars, bookstores, coffee shops, and college campuses, and bring them to NYC to meet, mingle, and collaborate.

Writopia Lab, a national community of teen and young writers, is partnering with the Poetry Society of New York to host the 2017 Youth Poetry Festival at the festival. They will provide free teen poetry workshops, staged readings, and an island-wide scavenger hunt. Teens aged 13+ can register for poetry workshops here.

Location: Governors Island, NYC

Dates: July 29 – 30, 2017. The festival will open at 11:00 am and will close at 6:00 pm.

Entry Fees: There are no entry fees, but if you register on Eventbrite, you’ll be entered to win a NYC Poetry Festival tote bag filled with signed copies of featured books.

Taking the ferry to Governors Island costs $2 for roundtrip, $4 one-way. Water and food are available for purchase.

NY Poetry Festival
  1. Brooklyn Book Festival

The Brooklyn Book Festival is the largest, free literary event in New York City with more than 300 authors and 200 booksellers present annually. They host both national and international literary stars and emerging authors. This year, they will feature Jessica Abel, Joyce Carol Oates, E. Lockhart, and more.

The entire festival will take place citywide. Saturday, September 16 is Children’s Day located at MetroTech Commons, Brooklyn. Lastly, a literary marketplace will take place on Sunday, September 17, at the Brooklyn Borough Hall and in the vicinity.

Location: Brooklyn, NYC

Dates: September 11 – 17, 2017

Entry Fees: There are no entry fees.

Brooklyn Book Festival Event
  1. NY Art Book Fair

In the past, the NY Art Book Fair has featured over 370 booksellers, antiquarians, artists, institutions and independent publishers from twenty-eight countries, and was attended by over 39,000 visitors. In addition to artists’ books, they also feature catalogs, monographs, periodicals, and zines. They host an array of programming and special events, including The Classroom, a curated engagement of informal conversations, workshops, readings, and other artist-led interventions.

Location: MoMA PS1, Queens, NYC

Dates: September 22 – 24, 2017. On Sept 22, the fair will be open from 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm. On Sept 23, the fair will be open from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm. On Sept 24, the fair will be open from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm.

There will be a preview on September 21, from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

Entry Fees: There are no entry fees.

NY Art Book Fair

4. The New Yorker Festival

The New Yorker is a national weekly magazine that offers a signature mix of reporting and commentary on politics, foreign affairs, business, technology, popular culture, and the arts along with humor, fiction, poetry, and cartoons. They are recognized for their groundbreaking reporting and creative inspiration.

Their festival promises their signature lineup of authors, actors, thinkers, artists, and leaders who are driving the culture. Events include intimate conversations, discussions, screenings, and performances live onstage in venues across New York City over a weekend.

Past attendees include Patti Smith, Larry David, Claudia Rankine, and more.

Location: Numerous venues across New York City.

Dates: October 6 – 8, 2017

Entry Fees: Tickets for all events will go on sale September 8.

The New Yorker Festival
  1. Festival Neue Literatur

Festival Neue Literatur brings New York audiences new writing from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and the United States, as the first and only festival to spotlight German-language and American fiction. The 2017 festival marked the first ever convening of queer-centric, German-language texts in the United States, as festival authors took on this year’s theme Queer as Volk.

Featured events include intimate conversations about literature in translation and other panel discussions, and authors have the opportunity to give a sampling from their work.

Location: There are numerous venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Dates: TBA, 2018.

Entry Fees: There are no entry fees. RSVPs are required due to limited seating.

Festival Neue Literatur
  1. PEN World Voices Festival

The Festival was founded in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, with the aim of broadening channels of dialogue between the United States and the world. PEN World Voices is an international literary festival, attracting the best known writers from across the globe, including novelists, journalists, editors, poets, essayists, playwrights, publishers, translators, agents, and other professionals.

Since their founding, they have presented more than 1,500 writers and artists from 118 countries speaking 56 languages. Events include discussions and performances at the intersection of literature and human rights. Past attendees include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Trevor Noah, Patti Smith, and more.

Location: The festival takes place in venues across New York City.

Dates: TBA, 2018

Entry Fees: Events differ in price. Some are free and require RSVP, others require inexpensive tickets priced at approximately $15.

PEN World Voices Festival
  1. Queens Book Festival

The Queens Book Festival, which debuted on August 7, 2016, was and may continue to be the largest and most inclusive literary gathering in Queens. It will fill the borough with literary talks from over 100 authors as well as hundreds of exhibits within a walkable venue. Over 10,000 diverse people of all ages are expected to attend.

Location: Queens, NYC

Dates: TBA, 2018

Entry Fees: There are no entry fees.

Queens Book Festival
  1. New York Antiquarian Book Fair

Over 200 American and international dealers will exhibit at the ABAA New York Antiquarian Book Fair, bringing a vast selection of rare books, maps, manuscripts, illuminated manuscripts and ephemera. The diversity of specialties includes art, medicine, literature, photography, autographs, first editions, Americana, and much more.

Location: The Park Avenue Armory, NYC

Dates: March 8 – 11, 2018. There is a preview on March 8, from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

Entry Fees: A preview pass costs $50 and includes one daily re-admission. Daily admission is $25. Students pay $10 with valid ID and are only available at the door.

NY Antiquarian Book Fair

Festivals in New York State

  1. Sarah Lawrence Poetry Festival

The Sarah Lawrence Poetry Festival was founded by students in 2003, and continues as a student-run endeavor. The festival is open to the public with the mission of bringing contemporary poetic voices to Sarah Lawrence College and to celebrate the art form. Events at the festival include craft talks, panels, book signings, receptions, open mics, and more.

They have presented emerging and established poets from across the country alongside current Sarah Lawrence undergraduate and graduate student readers.

Location: Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY

Dates: TBA, most likely in April of 2018

Fees: There are no entry fees.

SLC Poetry Festival
  1. Albany Word Fest

In celebration of National Poetry Month, Albany Poets presents the Albany Word Fest featuring the poetry and spoken word of upstate New York. Their mission is to give everyone the platform to share their poetry with the world, and to integrate poetry and spoken word into the Capital Region.

They host numerous events, including Haiku battles, talks with poets and writers, and open mic events.

Location: Various venues in Albany NY.

Dates: TBA, 2018

Entry Fees: There are no entry fees.

Albany Word Fest

11. Festival of Women Writers

Since its inception, the Festival of Women Writers has created space for established and emerging women writers to share their insights and skills through a variety of writing activities and public readings with audiences throughout Delaware County, the state of New York, and beyond. In the past four years, the Festival brought fifty-two published writers, who presented seventy-three workshops and forty-one author readings.  They also attracted an estimated three-hundred plus attendees to Hobart, a town of 400 residents.  

In addition to helping women writers connect, exchange, renew, and to promote and sell their books, they host workshops, readings, and other writing activities. Novelists, short-story and young-adult fiction writers, memoirists, poets, and bloggers are all welcome to attend.

Location: Hobart, NY

Dates: September 8 – 10, 2017

Entry Fees: For a detailed list of entry fees and registration slots, visit their registration page.

Fest of Women Writers
  1. Rochester Children’s Book Festival

The mission of the Rochester Children’s Book Festival is to promote reading to and by children, benefit Monroe County libraries, and forge connections between the community and children’s authors and illustrators. Kids can make crafts, attend presentations, and listen to authors reading their books on panels.

Location: Monroe Community College, Rochester NY

Dates: November 4, 2017, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Entry Fees: There are no entry fees. Books can be purchased.

Rochester Children's Book Festival
  1. JCC Lane Dworkin Jewish Book Festival

The Lane Dworkin Jewish Book Festival exists to create a showcase for Jewish authors and/or books of Jewish content. In so doing, the Festival promotes awareness, appreciation, and pride in the diversity of the Jewish people; strengthens community consciousness of Jewish identity, history, and culture; and provides a community forum to stimulate dynamic and provocative dialogue.

This year, Pulitzer Prize-winning Novelist, Essayist, and Screenwriter Michael Chabon, author of the novel Moonglow, will be present at their opening night.

Location: The JCC Hart Theater, Rochester, NY

Dates: November 5 – 19, 2017.

Entry Fees: Students with a valid student ID receive $1 off tickets except for walk-ins. Tickets will be available soon. Find more ticket information here. am text block.

JCC Jewish Book Fest
  1. Warwick Children’s Book Festival

The Warwick Children’s Book Festival is open to all the young at heart. It’s the place for readers to celebrate children’s literacy, share a love of the written word, discover new books, talk with those who create them, and have your book purchases autographed. They received nearly 1,500 visitors in 2016.

In addition, there will be an interactive concert for children from the Uncle Brothers Band.

Location: Railroad Avenue, Warwick, NY (Rain location: Warwick Valley Middle School)

Dates: October 7, 2017. The festival begins at 11:00 am and ends at 4:00 pm.

Entry Fees: There are no entry fees.

Warwick Children's Book Fest
  1. Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair

The Rochester Area Booksellers Association (RABA) is a group that was formed by independent book and manuscript shops in Rochester and surrounding areas. The purpose of RABA has always been to preserve the local book community and to provide quality books to the readers and collectors of the area.

The Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair is the oldest regional Antiquarian Book Fair in the country. Its unlikely origin was in a restaurant on Mount Hope Avenue in the city. The book fair annually includes around 50 dealers from all over the country and Canada. The fair has evolved to include good secondhand books—not necessarily antiquarian or rare—ephemera of all kinds and, when appropriate, new books of local, collector or scholarly interest.

Location: The Main Street Armory, Rochester, New York

Dates: September 9, 2017. The festival will open at 10:00 am and will close at 4:00 pm.

Entry Fees: $5 general admission. Students can get in for free if they show student ID. Click here for a discount voucher. There is free parking around the Armory.

Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair

16. Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival

The founders of the Rochester Teen book Festival believe that teens can sometimes be overlooked in libraries, with much attention, money, and resources given to children and adults. Somewhat caught in the middle of budgetary constraints, they see their book festival as an opportunity to dedicate an event to teens, to encourage their reading, and to demonstrate their value to and within our communities.

They host an array of events, including meetings with authors, presentations given by authors, meetings with other teens who are interested in the literary world, raffle drawings, and the opportunity to purchase books that can only be found at the festival.

Location: Nazareth College, Rochester NY.

Dates: May 19, 2018. The festival begins at 8:30 am and ends at 5:00 pm.

Entry Fees: Admission is free to all, but seating preference will be given to teens.

Teen Book Fest

17. Woodstock Bookfest

The Woodstock Bookfest is a one-day festival featuring story slams, panelists and keynote speakers, and the opportunity to mingle with authors at their convivial cocktail party in the Catskill Mountains. They also host one-day intensives for writers on topics such as: the first five pages of your writing, writing memoir, getting personal with your writing, tips on how to get published, writing about grief, social media strategy, and more.

Location: Woodstock, NY

Dates: March 22 – 25, 2018

Entry Fees: Festival passes cost $250, but are on an early bird sale for $175 currently.

Woodstock Writers Fest
Alyssa Vigorito

Alyssa Vigorito

Writer at NY Literary Magazine
Alyssa is set to graduate from Fairfield University in 2019 with a major in English and a minor in Digital Journalism.
Currently, she's the Marketing Director and Web Editor for her University's student-run literary magazine, 'The Inkwell.' She's also a contributing writer for the magazine and has numerous poems published in their issues.
Alyssa Vigorito