One of the (many) things I love about being a reader is attending huge book celebrations of one sort or another.
Over the years, I’ve visited the Printers Row Lit Fest in Chicago; BookExpo in Chicago and New York City; the Texas Library Association Conference in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston; the American Library Association Conference in Chicago; International Reading Association Conference (now renamed International Literacy Association Conference) in Toronto; and the Texas Book Festival in Austin. I’ve been to the TBF in Austin many, many times; it’s held in early November, at the time of my birthday, and going to the festival is one of my favorite ways of celebrating.
I was feeling sad early this year. The Texas Book Festival would be another victim of the coronavirus, I thought. But then I looked online to be sure, and I was surprised to find that the festival was going online. And, not only was it going online, but it had been extended to two full weeks of events. Happy news.
I started thinking about other festivals I’ve always wanted to attend, like the National Book Festival in Washington DC and the Festival of Books in Los Angeles and even Word on the Street in Toronto and the Edinburgh International Book Festival in Scotland. The likelihood of attending any of these in the near future seemed remote.
But was it possible that any of these would be virtual festivals this year?
It turns out that, yes, many of these will be.
There might be no better year to attend a book festival than in 2020.
Let me share what I know here, in case you are interested in joining any of these:
The Edinburgh International Book Festival – August 15-31 – Online.
The L.A. Times Festival of Books – October 3-4 – Scheduled at this time to be live rather than online.
The Printers Row Lit Fest – Chicago. Rescheduled from June to September and now canceled for 2020.
The Library of Congress National Book Festival – Washington DC – September 25-27 – Online.
The Boston Book Fest – October 5-25 – Online.
The Texas Book Festival – October 31-November 15 – Online.
Sydney Writers Festival – Held virtually earlier in the year. Fifty podcasts from the festival available online.
The ilb (international literature festival berlin) – September 9-19 – Scheduled at this time to be live rather than online.
Brooklyn Book Festival – September 28-October 5 – Scheduled at this time to be live rather than online.
The Hay Festival of Literature and Arts – Wales – Held in last May virtually – All events available online for a fee.
Miami Book Fair – November 15-22 – Virtual.
Portland Book Festival (Wordstock) – November 7 – Scheduled at this time to be live rather than online.
PEN World Voices Festival – Held earlier in 2020 online – Sessions available online.
The Word on the Street (Toronto Book & Magazine Festival) – September 26-27 – Online.
Are there others I’ve left off the list? Changes? Share in the comments.