BRATTLEBORO -- More than 50 acclaimed writers from all over America will converge on southern Vermont for the 12th annual Brattleboro Literary Festival Oct. 3-6.

"The Festival is a celebration of the book, an acknowledgement of the important role that literature plays in all our lives, and it’s a lot of fun for everyone," says Sandy Rouse, who has directs the free public event and is one of the co-founders.

The annual festival draws thousands of book lovers from the region and beyond to a series of locations around Brattleboro for author readings, panel discussions, book signings, a poetry slam and literary death match, local author showcases, youth activities and opportunities for readers to get up close and personal with some of their favorite writers.

Among the well-known authors who will visit the Brattleboro Festival this year are prize-winning poet Patricia Smith, acclaimed novelists Howard Norman, Chris Bohjalian, Steve Yarbrough, Jami Attenberg and Pam Houston, and biographers Tom Folsom, Larry Tye, Walter Stahr and Megan Marshall.

Evening programs are scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 3, and Friday, Oct. 4, and a writing workshop co-sponsored with Marlboro College will be held Friday afternoon (limited registration).

Events will take place all day on Saturday and Sunday. All festival activities are free; books by the visiting authors will be available for sale and signing at each event. The complete schedule may be found at brattleboroliteraryfestival.org. Call 802-579-7414 for more information.

Authors taking part in the 2013 festival include novelist David Abrams ("Fobbit"); poet James Arthur; Jami Attenberg ("The Middlesteins"); fiction writer Megan Bergman; poet Sophie Cabot Black; novelist Chris Bohjalian ("The Light in the Ruins"); writer/producer Amy Brill; novelist Christopher Castellani ("All This Talk of Love"); poet Tina Chang; mystery writer Hilary Davidson ("Evil in All Its Disguises"); poet Patrick Donnelly; poet Amy Dryansky; former New Hampshire Poet Laureate Patricia Fargnoli; biographer Tom Folsom ("Dennis Hopper: A Journey into the American Dream"); and poet Ross Gay.

Also, fiction writer David Gilbert ("& Sons"); poets Rigoberto Gonzalez and Kimiko Hahn; fiction writer/essayist Pam Houston ("Contents May Have Shifted"); novelist Christopher Jansma ("The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards"); nonfiction writer Tom Kizzia ("Pilgrim’s Wilderness"); children’s authors Jo Knowles and Michelle Knudsen; nonfiction writer Lily Koppel ("The Astronaut Wives Club"); and poet/playwright Joan Larkin.

Also, poets Ada Limon; Anne Marie Macari and Cleopatra Mathis; biographer Megan Marshall ("Margaret Fuller: A New American Life"); mystery writer Archer Mayor ("Three Can Keep a Secret: A Joe Gunther Novel"); novelist/essayist Roland Merullo ("Lunch with Buddha"); poet Richard Michelson; novelist Elinor Morse ("White Dog Fell from the Sky"); nonfiction writer Andrew Nagorski ("Hitlerland"); mystery writer/playwright Michael Nethercott ("The Seance Society"); and author and poet Lesléa Newman ("October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Sheppard").

Also, novelist/essayist Howard Norman ("I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place"); poet/ essayist Meghan O’Rourke; novelist and essayist Roxanna Robinson; nonfiction writer Rosie Schaap ("Drinking with Men"); mystery/nonfiction writer Harold Schechter ("The Mad Sculptor"); fiction writer Christine Schutt ("Prosperous Friends"); fiction writer/essayist Jacqueline Sheehan ("PictureThis"); and novelist Alexis Smith ("Glaciers").

Also, nonfiction writer Daniel Smith ("Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety"); poet Patricia Smith; biographer Walter Stahr ("Seward: Lincoln’s Indispensable Man"); children’s author Tanya Lee Stone; biographer Larry Tye ("Superman: The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero"); and fiction writer Steve Yarbrough ("Realm of Last Chances").

Sponsors include the Howat Family Foundation, Marlboro College, the Vermont Arts Council, the Vermont Humanities Council and Vermont Public Radio.