About

History of the Salem Literary Festival

The Salem Literary Festival aims to inspire and promote literacy and a love of books and reading by creating connections through sharing stories. Held over one weekend each fall, the Salem Literary Festival hosts readings, writing workshops, panel discussions, and artistic expression in music, theater, dance, etc.

Lit Fest primarily features local and regional authors of recently published work, some of whom have an international audience. Held in historic venues in and around Salem, Lit Fest unites published authors and book lovers, and encourages aspiring writers.

The 10th Salem Literary Festival held in 2019 featured over 60 authors appearing in three venues with over 400 people attending.  New this year were family activities at the Salem Public Library and the Sunday programs all featured authors writing for a Young Adult audience.

The Salem Athenaeum has been the primary presenter of Salem Literary Festival since 2017 at the invitation of best-selling author and Salem resident, Brunonia Barry. Cornerstone Books started Lit Fest in 2008 and Barry had been presenting since 2014 following the closure of the bookstore.

The Salem Literary Festival Committee is comprised of librarians, writers, and passionate readers who are committed to celebrating literature in all forms, honoring Salem’s own literary heritage, and fostering the next generation of readers and writers.