Humanities Tennessee hosted its 12th annual Authors in the Round Dinner with 40 authors and 300 guests in support of the 34th Southern Festival of Books. 

Held at War Memorial Auditorium on the first night of the Southern Festival of Books, the three-course dinner allowed guests to dine with authors for “the liveliest book club in town.” 

Founded in 2012 by Jean Bottorff and Todd Bottorff, Authors in the Round raises critical funds for the three-day Southern Festival of Books, ensuring Humanities Tennessee can continue to present the festival at no charge. 

Guests of Authors in the Round enjoyed cocktails in the War Memorial Courtyard before moving into War Memorial Auditorium with their authors for a three-course dinner catered by Clean Plate Club. 

Emcee Jeremy Finley welcomed guests and introduced Humanities Tennessee Executive Director Tim Henderson for opening remarks. The event was co-chaired by Jay Joyner, Mary Jo Shankle, Mary Spalding, and Tori Wimberly.  

Authors in attendance included 2022 Pulitzer Prize Winner Joshua Cohen; 2018 Pulitzer Prize Winner Andrew Sean Greer; New York Times Bestselling Author Mary Laura Philpott; New York Times Bestselling Author, Guggenheim Fellow and Oprah’s Book Club Pick Tayari Jones; Actress Diane Kruger; and New York Times columnist Margaret Renkl; among others.

Humanities Tennessee is a non-profit organization that fosters community and civility in Tennessee through engaging programs that examine and reflect upon ideas, stories, history, arts and culture.

Founded in 1973, Humanities Tennessee is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

For more information about Humanities Tennessee, call 615-770-0006, email [email protected] or visit