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History and Festival Founders

Festival Staff / October 1, 2020

The Tucson Festival of Books debuted March 14-15, 2009, on the campus of The University of Arizona. The Festival featured 450 authors and presenters and welcomed 50,000 regional visitors, all made possible with generous support from our sponsors and the energetic goodwill of 800 volunteers.

In 2009, the Gila monster was the festival mascot.

The second Festival was March 13-14, 2010, and attracted an estimated 70,000 to 80,000 participants. The mascot was the hummingbird.

The third Festival was March 12-13, 2011, and attracted an estimated 100,000 participants. The mascot was the tarantula.

The fourth Festival was March 11-12, 2012, and attendance again topped 100,000. The mascot was the Sonoran green toad.

The fifth Festival was March 9-10, 2013, with attendance levels reaching 120,000. The mascot was the butterfly.

The sixth Festival was March 15-16, 2014, with attendance again reaching 130,000. The mascot was the quail.

The seventh Festival was March 14-15, 2015, with attendance levels reaching 130,000. The mascot was the bobcat.

The eighth Festival was March 12-13, 2016, with attendance levels reaching 135,000. The mascot was the jack rabbit.

The ninth Festival was March 11-12, 2017, with attendance levels reaching 135,000. The mascot was the roadrunner.

The tenth Festival will be March 10-11, 2018. The mascot is the coyote.


The Tucson Festival of Books Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, was founded by Bill Viner, president; Frank Farias and John M. Humenik, vice presidents; Bruce Beach, treasurer; and Brenda Viner, secretary.

Named Sponsors

Arizona Daily Star
University of Arizona

Presenting Sponsors

Tucson Medical Center

Major Sponsors

Friends of the Festival
Pima County Public Library
Stocker Foundation
University of Arizona BookStores
University of Arizona - Facilities Management
William & Mary Ross Foundation

Key Sponsors

Arizona Appliance and Home
Arizona Party Rental Companies
Early Childhood Learning is Essential
Marshall Foundation

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