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Attend The DSM Book Festival

Experience the DSM Book Festival in Downtown Des Moines (DSM)! Meet nationally-acclaimed authors, engage in exciting discussions, discover new flavors and activities, hear local singers/songwriters and celebrate your favorite stories in a vibrant community celebration.

Festival admission is FREE thanks to the DSM Book Festival sponsors. Fees may apply to select hands-on activities and experiences.

Event Details

Date & Time

Saturday, March 30, 2019 from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.


Capital Square and Cowles Commons, Downtown Des Moines (DSM)

Author Pavilion  |   Festival Atrium  

Hands-On Activities & Classes  |   Programming for Kids

Author Pavilion

Headlining Author: Nnedi Okorafor, Author of Marvel's "Black Panther"

Black Panther Author

Nnedi Okorafor is an international award-winning novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism for both children and adults. Although born in the United States, Nnedi was raised by two Nigerian immigrant parents, which has inspired the influence of African culture in her creative evocative settings and memorable characters. In a profile of Nnedi's work titled, "Weapons of Mass Creation," The New York Times called Nnedi's imagination "stunning."

Comics by Okorafor:

  • "Black Panther: Long Live the King" (Marvel)
  • "Antar: The Black Knight" (IDW/Mirage Films)
  • "La Guardia"
  • "Wakanda Forever" (Marvel)

Books by Okorafor:

  • "Lagoon" (a British Science Fiction Association Award finalist for Best Novel), adult
  • "Who Fears Death" (a World Fantasy Award winner for Best Novel), adult
  • "The Book of Phoenix" (an Arthur C. Clarke Award finalist), adult
  • "The Binti Trilogy" (the first of which won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novella and the second which is a Hugo Award finalist), adult
  • "Chicken in the Kitchen" (winner of an Africana Book Award), children
  • "Kanu Kabu" (A Publisher's Weekly Best Book for Fall 2013), adult
  • The Akata series ("Akata Witch" and "Akata Warrior," "Akata Witch" being an Amazon.com Best Book of the Year, "Akata Warrior" being a finalist for the World Science Fiction Society Award), young adult
  • "Zahrah the Windseeker" (winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature)
  • "The Shadow Speaker" (a CBS Parallax Award winner), young adult
  • "Long Juju Man" (winner of the Macmillan Writers' Prize for Africa), middle grade

More authors will be announced soon!

Festival Atrium

The DSM Book Festival will feature a central stage within the Capital Square Atrium to highlight a variety of singers/songwriters. The stage will also showcase author readings, poetry slams and creative contests. A stage lineup will be posted in February 2019.

The Atrium will also be home to specialty merchants, artisans, ample seating, foods from local vendors and Hemingway's Drinkery, a specialty bar with cocktails and beverages featuring literary puns.

Hands-On Activities and Classes

From unique art activities and engaging book talks to spirited discussions paired with samples of wine, there's fun for book lovers of all ages at the DSM Book Festival!

  • Flower Arranging – Make-and-Take with Wildflower
  • Beaverdale Books Book Club Discussion – Book to be announced soon!
  • Make-and-Take with Art Terrarium
  • The Grape Gatsby – Wine tasting and book discussion on "The Great Gatsby"

Additional activities to be announced soon!

Programming for Kids

Kids can celebrate their love of reading at the DSM Book Festival. The Festival will feature unique activities, contests and more in a special kids' zone:

  • Llama Llama Red Pajama Party
  • Dog Man
  • Creating Comic Books
  • Peppa Pig Tea Party
  • We are in a BOOK! Meet Elephant and Piggie!

Additionally, comic book character and storybook character contests will take place on the Acoustic Stage.

Check back for more author, programming and activity details soon!