Books have a power. They can take you to places that don’t exist but can tell you about events that happened last year.

This weekend, booklovers will be able to connect with authors, publishers and more at the annual South Carolina Book Festival.

The festival, located at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, will open with a reception at 7 p.m., on Friday. The reception is $65 at the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library and will have appetizers, a bar and a chance to meet with the festival’s authors. Registration is available online.

Panels, exhibits, book signings and writer’s workshops fill up Saturday and Sunday’s schedules. The festival will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

More than 90 authors will be at the festival, including Tom Poland, co-author of “Save the Last Dance for Me: A Love Story of the Shag and the Society of Stranders;” Sasscer Hill, the author of the Nikki Latrelle horse racing mystery series, and Kim Boykin, author of “Wisdom of Hair.” From USC Aiken, English department head Dr. Tom Mack and history professor Alexia Helsley will also be present to speak on their books “Hidden History of Aiken County” and “Wicked Columbia,” respectively.

“Being part of the Book Festival is always a thrill. South Carolina is fortunate to have such a venue and the opportunity to meet national and regional writers. My family always look forward to attending,” Helsley said.

Cooking, religious, children and young adult literature, along with topics like publishing, are also among the panels scheduled. The Greater Columbia Literacy Council and the Jane Austen Society of South Carolina will even be honoring the bicentennial publishing of Jane Austen’s classic “Pride and Prejudice” with displaying different editions of her novels, conducting a reading and even hosting an Austen literary quiz for a chance to win prizes.

“It’s a must-attend event for booklovers in our region,” Mack said on May 9 in his weekly Aiken Standard Arts and Humanities column.

Regional and national book dealers, antiquarians, publishers, independent presses, writer’s collectives, educational groups, individual writers and nonprofit organizations will all host exhibits. Some of them include local business Aiken Pen & Pencil, writer’s support group Columbia Writers Alliance, Friends of South Carolina Libraries and the state library and museum.

The Antiquarian Book Dealers Association of South Carolina will be one of the antiquarians present, selling hard-to-find books and items. But, they will also be offering a bit more – book appraisals. Those interested can bring up to three books for $10. Times are 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., on Friday at the lower level concourse and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Saturday and 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday at their aisle in the exhibit hall.

Writing workshops will also take place with five on Friday and four on Sunday. The ones on Friday require registration, while the ones on Sunday do not. The workshops will address items like publishing and marketing, screenplay writing and character development.

Admission to the festival is free.

For more information on schedules, the authors and exhibits, visit