Highlights of the Amelia Island Book Festival

February is the perfect time of year to book one of our Amelia Island beachfront rentals if you’re a book lover. The Amelia Island Book Festival kicks off on February 13 and lasts until the 15th.

You’ll be able to enjoy a three-day event that includes New York Times best-selling authors, workshops, awards programs and so much more.

If you want to find the best books for a beach vacation, the festival is a great place to start. Cozy up with a blanket or pet (in our vacation rentals that allow dogs) and listen to the sound of the ocean in the background.

Man reading to young kids in a classroom

This year’s book festival includes a variety of activities:

Short Story Contest

Every year, submissions for a short story are the center of attention at the festival. Middle and high school students are allowed to submit their 500–1,000-word short story by mid-December.

Judges will read through all of the short stories and award the first-place winners $175. Second-place winners will receive $100 and additional prizes will also be given out. Winners will be announced on Saturday, February 15, 2020.

Gala Dinner

What makes Amelia Island special?  A gala dinner featuring best-selling and award-winning authors. The dinner will be on Friday, February 14 from 6 p.m.to 10 p.m. Authors that are slated to attend include Margot Lee Shetterley, David Baldacci, Sharon Robinson, and Sandra Brown.

There’s an open cocktail reception, dinner, presentation, and auction.

Guests can mingle with authors and also purchase books at the event. Tickets to the gala start at $185. You’ll find a variety of the best beach reads available for purchase during the gala, and you’ll even be able to meet the author.

kickoff luncheon dining room

Kickoff Luncheon

The Kickoff Luncheon starts on February 13 and will include award-winning author Lisa Scottoline. The luncheon, led by David Baldacci, starts at noon and will last until 2 p.m. Tickets to the luncheon sell out quickly, and guests can expect to see well-known authors in attendance.

The luncheon is close to our Amelia Island condos and Fernandina Beach condos, making it easy and convenient to attend.

Writers Workshop

Sandra Brown is the keynote speaker at the luncheon, which is held on Friday, February 14 from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The workshop does require registration, and it’s a must-attend for anyone who is an aspiring writer or a student over the age of 17.

Workshop sessions will be four hours long and will be followed by the luncheon keynote. Each session will include a dynamic speaker as well as literary professionals that are available to answer questions and offer insight into the industry. Sessions will last for one hour and fifteen minutes.

Speakers at this year’s workshop include Angela Assanti, Richard Ballo, Nancy Cohen, Sandra Brown, George Hovis, Patti Brassard Jefferson, Steve McCondichie and Jenn Smith.

collage of all the 2020 authors

All attendees are welcome to go in and out of sessions as they see fit.

Check-in will begin at 7:30 a.m., so anyone that is planning to attend will want to arrive early.


Nassau County high school students are welcome to apply for scholarships at this year’s event. Scholarships include:

  • $2,000 Christa Powell Walley Scholarship, which is available to students pursuing a college education in either creative writing or education.
  • $5,000 Amelia Island Book Festival Scholarship that can be awarded to a student pursuing any major.

The Amelia Island scholarship will require all participants to write on the following topic: “Why does education matter to you?”

girl accepting scholarship prize

Only Nassau County residents are able to apply. The Christa Powell scholarship will require a maximum of a two page: essay, short story, poetry or another literary piece. All applications need to be submitted by mid-December.


Sponsorships are what allow the Amelia Island Book Festival to grow and thrive every year. Critical support is needed to ensure that the festival is able to promote learning and appreciation of books.

There are multiple tiers available for sponsorships, starting at $500 and going as high as $10,000. Donors can choose to remain anonymous, and everyone is encouraged to donate if they can.

Plan Your Visit

If you’re planning on attending the Amelia Island Book Festival, we offer vacation rentals in Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island vacation rentals.

All rentals are close to Fernandina Beach transportation to make getting to the festival a breeze.