As we stretch into month 2,796 of this cursed pandemic, many of our favorite in-person activities and events continue to be held online, including virtual book festivals.
Here in New York City, book publishing’s largest trade show, Book Con and Book Expo, were felled by the coronavirus when organizing entity ReedPop announced they were exploring “new ways to meet the community’s needs.”
I guess now I’ll never get that second photo with Captain Underpants.
So while it doesn’t look like we’ll be able to line up and get a signature from our favorite author anytime soon, there is some good news as well. Many of these events, which before were accessible only to those in the geographical regions in which they occurred, can now provide access to people from all over the world. Such is the magic of the internet.
Here are some of the most exciting virtual book festivals and conventions coming in the next several months that you can attend right from the comfort of your own home.
This all-YA festival, reserved for students in grades 6 and up, is held annually in March. This year, there are two “Student Days” and one “Community Day.” If you happen to miss this one, all of the sessions will be available on the festival website and YouTube after the festival ends!
This New Orleans-based festival is going all virtual for its 18th year. Featuring both new and established LGBTQ authors, this year’s event will again have discussions, writing workshops, an opportunity to network with other attendees, and more.
Sponsored by the Florida chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, “Sleuthfest is an annual conference for writers and fans of mysteries, thrillers, & crime fiction.” With panels on how to write the best twists and a workshop on querying, there’s something here for crime lovers of all persuasions.
For the second year in a row, one of the biggest and most popular conventions will bring you WonderCon@Home. While the lineup and events are still being worked on, last year brought an amazing cosplay challenge as well as some excellent custom Zoom backgrounds, so there’s no reason to expect anything different this year!
After being canceled in 2020, the ninth annual festival for the southern Texas metropolis will be all virtual for the first time ever. On April 8, the Book Appétit Literary Feast will feature New York Times best-selling author Amor Towles, and the three-day event following will include book clubs and networking events.
This Mississippi-based festival is focused solely on children’s literature. All of the lectures are free, but will require registration. A cool added bonus to this festival is that if you are a Mississippi educator, you can get CEUs for attending!
Join Downtown Chelsea, Michigan’s district library for this year’s virtual event with authors Azar Nafisi, Laurie Halse Anderson, and Ross Gay. If you want to participate in book club discussion on the author’s works, those are available to join from the event’s website as well!
24–25: Annapolis Book Festival
The premiere, free community festival for the Annapolis, Maryland, region is expanding to a two-day virtual event in 2021. It will feature talks and readings with authors like Ann Patchett, Kate DiCamillo, Austin Channing Brown, Bill McKibben, and many more.
Nobel Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro, Africanfuturist Nnedi Okorafor, and local Bay area authors Carol Edgarian and Vendela Vida are all on offer for San Francisco’s seventh annual event. The full schedule will be posted March 18, but the Ishiguro event is on pre-sale now!
This month-long event out of Gaithersburg, Maryland, bears the tagline “Still Virtual, Still Awesome!” With over 30 author presentations from Alyssa Cole, Ishmael Beah, Susan Page, and so many more, GBF will also host writing workshops for children and teens as well.
Without the restraints of “the corporeal form,” as their announcement page states, this Canadian festival will include more marketplace days than ever, as well as a week of virtual programs! And with its association with one of the greatest comic epics ever told, how can you resist?