10 Fall Book Events In the Raleigh Area

Stay literary this autumn with author talks, poetry jams, book drives and more.
By Emma Ginsberg

Whether you spent the summer finishing your to-be-read pile on the beach or you just want to curl up inside and turn pages while the leaves turn red outside, fall is the perfect season to start a new chapter. And if you want to connect with a favorite author — or learn about someone new — there’s no shortage of opportunities this season in the Triangle. From literary giants visiting town to independent bookstores showcasing local authors to community gatherings where the poet next door can shine, these fall literature events in and around Raleigh will have your calendar all booked up.

Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan’s Mad Honey at Jones Auditorium

The prolific Jodi Picoult, author of bestselling novels like My Sister’s Keeper and Small Great Things, teams up with PEN America trustee and human rights advocate Jennifer Finney Boylan to present their new book, Mad Honey. You’ll spend the evening at Meredith College’s Jones Auditorium, but Picoult and Finney Boylan will use their words to whisk you away from bustling Raleigh to a sleepy New Hampshire town where the past and its secrets haunt every love story.  All tickets come with a signed copy of the book and the chance to submit your questions to an author Q&A.

Oct. 15 | 7 p.m.; $34.99; 3800 Hillsborough Street; madhoneybook.com

Brigid Washington’s Caribbean Flavors for Every Season at McIntyre’s Books

Brigid Washington is bringing her fellow Raleigh locals a new way to look at the four seasons in her debut cookbook, Coconut Ginger Shrimp Rum: Caribbean Flavors for Every Season. Spend an afternoon at McIntyre’s Books in Fearrington Village, where Washington will share recipes featuring four ingredients that capture the indomitable spirit of the Caribbean table in 85 dishes, from rum buttered jerk wings to grilled strawberry ginger shortcake. Rumor has it attendees may just get to taste some of the book’s greatest hits! 

Oct. 15 | 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.; free; 220 Market Street, Fearrington Village; mcintyresbooks.com

Wiley Cash’s When Ghosts Come Home at Quail Ridge Books

Not only does Wiley Cash write WALTER’s Creators column — he writes novels, too! (Okay, fine, he was already the New York Times best selling author of books like The Last Ballad and This Dark Road to Mercy before he wrote for us.) Meet the SIBA Book Award winner at Quail Ridge Books and pick up a copy of his latest page-turner, When Ghosts Come Home. Richly-drawn humanity shines through a suspenseful and twisty mystery in this story set close to home in the airfields of coastal North Carolina.

Oct. 17 | 7 p.m.; $21.40; 4209-100 Lassiter Mill Road; quailridgebooks.com

Emily Hughes Johnson’s Bird of Paradise at The Country Bookshop

UNC grad and Raleigh resident Emily Hughes Johnson is one of the Carolina-local writers making the Triangle a lively literary hub, and she’s visiting The Country Bookshop to talk about her sweeping family saga, Bird of Paradise. Co-authored with her mother, Marilyn Anne Hughes, Bird of Paradise is the decade-long journey of a young woman torn between the childhood love story unfolding on her home island and the dreamy possibilities of a future far beyond the sea.

Oct. 18 | 5 – 6 pm; free; 140 NW Broad Street, Southern Pines, NC; thecountrybookshop.biz

To Fall in Love, Drink This with Alice Feiring at Heights House Hotel

Kick back at The Parlor at Heights House Hotel and watch Paula de Pano, the sommelier behind Chapel Hill’s upcoming Rocks + Acid Wine Shop, interview James Beard Award-winning wine writer Alice Feiring about her new memoir, To Fall in Love, Drink This. Feiring, the special sort of wine writer who tends to disagree with the wine “experts” and believes that the best wine writing is really about life, will curate a selection of vino for attendees to sip as she discusses love, heartbreak and the never-ending process of coming-of-age.

Oct. 27 | 4:30 – 6 p.m.; $55; 308 S. Boylan Avenue; exploretock.com

WALTER Book Club: Frances Mayes

Celebrate New York Times bestselling author Frances Mayes and her latest work, A Place in the World: Finding the Meaning of Home. The author of Under the Tuscan Sun has found her home right here in North Carolina, and will join WALTER Magazine at Whitaker & Atlantic to tell stories from her travels through the United States, Italy, Nicaragua, Mexico, Capri and more. Tickets include wine, hors d’oeuvres, a Q&A with Mayes and a book signing.

Nov. 9 | 6 – 9 p.m.; 1053 East Whitaker Mill Road; waltermagazine.com

Kennedy Ryan’s Before I Let Go at Quail Ridge Books

Beloved Raleigh romance author Kennedy Ryan will be celebrating the release of her newest novel at Quail Ridge Books in November. Before I Let Go, which tells the story of a divorced couple reckoning with lingering love in the wake of devastating loss, has a spot on Bookpage’s Most Anticipated Fall Books list and is already receiving glowing reviews from Publisher’s Weekly. Ryan’s heartfelt novel is unafraid to cut deep into human emotion, speaking to the heart of healing, mental health and reclaiming joy.

Nov. 15 | 7 p.m.; from $19.15; 4209-100 Lassiter Mill Road; quailridgebooks.com

Marissa R. Moss at the North Carolina Museum of History

Take part in the first edition of the North Carolina Museum of History’s author talk series, Reading Country: Music and Prose. This month’s guest is Marissa R. Moss, author of HER COUNTRY: How the Women of Country Music Became the Success They Were Never Supposed to Be. Moss’ book is an unbridled inside story of the last 20 years of country music, told through the lens of Maren Morris, Mickey Guyton and Kacey Musgraves. The artists reflect on their peers and inspirations, their paths to stardom and their battles against a deeply embedded boys’ club, as well as their efforts to transform the genre into a more inclusive place for all. 

Nov. 16 | 7 p.m.; 5 East Edenton Street; ncmuseumofhistory.org

Sarah Rose Nordgren and Stuart Dischell at So & So Books

Enjoy a poetry reading at So & So Books that celebrates a new poetry chapbook by Sarah Rose Nordgren, The Creation Museum, as well as earlier collections Darwin’s Mother and Best Bones. Nordgren will be joined by Stuart Dischell, the author of Good Hope Road, The Lookout Man and many other poems, who is a professor in the MFA program in creative writing at University of North Carolina Greensboro. Ali Wood, a Raleigh poet who teaches through the Redbud Writing Project, will also be reading her poetry.

Nov. 17 | 7 p.m.; 719 N Person Street; soandsobooks.com

Liz Roberts at UNC Press Centennial

The founding editor of WALTER, journalist Liza Roberts has made a career of celebrating the arts. Her new book, Art of the State: Celebrating the Visual Art of North Carolina, offers intimate looks at local makers creating everything from painting to sculpture to site-specific installations. Over the past year, she’s been sharing excerpts with us here at WALTER — and if you’ve loved reading her portraits of the people who make our state beautiful, catch Roberts in conversation with John Sherer, Orage Quarles and David Woronoff at the Chapel in Dix Park to celebrate the 100th anniversary of The University of North Carolina Press.

Dec. 1 | 12 –  1:30 pm; 1030 Richardson Drive; uncpress.org

Poetry Jam at Lanza’s Cafe

If all of these wonderful writers have got you inspired, why not share a few words of your own with the lit-forward Triangle community? The monthly Poetry Jam at Lanza’s Cafe in Carrboro is a friendly place for neighbors ages 2 to 102 to share what’s in their hearts and notebooks. Whether you’ve won a few Pulitzers in your time or you’ve only just written your very first rhyme, take the stage and share what’s on your page.

Every 2nd Friday of the month | 6:30 –  8 p.m.; 601 West Main Street, Carrboro; Lanza’s Cafe on Facebook

Book Harvest’s Dream Big Book Drive and Community Celebration

After you’ve spent the season celebrating books, pay the love forward by supporting literacy programs for local kids. Book Harvest’s 12th Annual Dream Big Book Drive is still a few months away, which means you’ve got all fall to gather up new and gently-used children’s books for donation. Every book collected will be provided to children in Durham and beyond through Book Harvest’s book access and literacy initiatives. The book drive will be part of a lively festival featuring entertainment, crafts and activities, appearances by beloved mascots, information tables and more. It’s gonna be lit, y’all.

Jan. 16 | 1 – 4 pm; 800 Taylor Street Durham, NC; bookharvest.org