Humanities Tennessee Partners with Big Ears Festival

UPDATED 3/11/20: This event is cancelled, as is the Big Ears Festival. Please see the Festival’s announcement for more information:


Knoxville’s Big Ears Festival expands to offer literary programming for the first time. Humanities Tennessee is proud to collaborate with the festival and Union Ave Books to present a reading and conversation with Richard Powers and Margaret Renkl on Sunday, March 29.

Powers and Renkl are long-time friends of Humanities Tennessee and the Southern Festival of Books. Powers, MacArthur Fellow, National Book Award winner and this year’s Pulitzer Prize winner for Literature, is making his first East Tennessee appearance. Renkl was recently named the 2020 Phillip D. Reed Environmental Writing Award recipient (book category) by the Southern Environmental Law Center.

This event is non-ticketed, on a first-come, first-served basis, and FREE!

Visit the full line-up of literary programming. We hope to see you in Knoxville later this month.


Founded in 2009, Big Ears Festival brings artists and audiences together to create and share transformative experiences. Annually, the festival supports 100+ performances of music, film, and art over four days.  Community engagement typically includes 50+ panels, workshops, and performances that are free and open to the public.

In 2016, Big Ears was hailed by The New York Times as “the widest-angle music festival in the country, bridging the spaces between the classical tradition, improvised music, electronics and guitars,” and by Alex Ross of The New Yorker as “the most open-minded music gathering in the country.”