Founded in Philadelphia in 2001, The 215 Festival is a literary arts festival celebrating the written, spoken and visualized word, and exists to take writers and readers of literature into unlikely but friendly spaces. The main three-day festival will take place April 13 -15, 2018, and, as of 2017, we will continue to engage the audience of the 215 Festival year-round with one event per month. The first of these hybrid events combining author readings with music or film presentations will be July 6, 2017 at Johnny Brenda’s, a popular bar and music venue in Fishtown, where will have readings by novelists J. Robert Lennon and Andrew Ervin, poet Elizabeth Scanlon, and musical performances by Joey Sweeney and I Think Like Midnight.
The 215 Festival showcases the vibrant community of literary talent in Philadelphia, such as former Philadelphia poet laureate Frank Sherlock, poets Ras Mashramani, Lillian Dunn, Warren Longmire, Catie Rosemurgy, Jenn McCreary, and Pattie McCarthy, novelists Asali Solomon, Ken Kalfus, Annie Liontas, and more. Our events highlight the continued relevance of letters in a growing range of media, from books to music, film, and blogs. To contextualize our local scene, the 215 Festival also presents national and international talent. Past events include readings, book-themed dance parties, literature-informed musical events, book fairs, literary film screenings, and blogger panel discussions in venues as diverse as Jim’s Steaks on South Street, garden center Urban Jungle on Passyunk Avenue, The Philadelphia Art Alliance on Rittenhouse Square, Fishtown Tavern, and the Shambles at Headhouse Square. Over the years, the 215 Fest has presented an array of the nation’s most award-winning and bestselling authors, including Jonathan Lethem, Ben Greenman, Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, John Hodgman, Legs McNeil, George Saunders, Sarah Vowell, Zadie Smith, Jeffrey Eugenides and Patti Smith, among many, many others.