February Literary Events for Book Lovers
I'm a little early posting your literary calendar of events for February, but it's because one came to my notice that I hadn't caught before: a virtual Burns supper happening tomorrow that looks like a blast (see details below).
The pandemic continues to drag on, keeping many of us still stranded at home. Thank heavens for technology and creative people, because there are so many interesting literary events, book festivals, online lectures, and more to entertain book lovers all over the world. All you need is an internet connection and the ability to properly record something in your personal calendar.
Without further ado, here's an extensive list of virtual literary events featuring both classic and modern authors to keep your February busy and fun.
You will find the following in this post:
Featured virtual literary events
Virtual literary events
Virtual literary festivals
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Featured Literary Events
Virtual Burns Supper
Jan 30 @ 5 pm PT
Typically, Burns suppers celebrating Scottish poet and songwriter Robert Burns are held on January 25, but you have an opportunity to join one virtually on the 30th. This one by the Saint Andrews Society of San Francisco looks to be going all out, even offering a four course meal plus a whiskey and cheese pairing delivered to your door for those living within a 70 mile radius from San Francisco, CA. And there's even a plant-based haggis for vegetarians! Get more information here.
Charles Dickens' Birthday Party
Feb 7 @ 7 pm GMT
"Join Miriam Margolyes, Lucinda Dickens Hawksley and the Charles Dickens Museum to celebrate the birthday of Charles Dickens.
On Sunday 7 February, Miriam and Lucinda will hold a party - via Zoom - looking at Dickens’s novels and letters, and discovering how Dickens celebrated his birthday. Miriam will also perform some of her favourite moments from her critically acclaimed show Dickens’s Women."
And yes, for you Harry Potter movie fans, Miriam Margoyles is Professor Sprout.
Reading/Race: A Literary Discussion Series for Educators
Feb 18 @ 7 pm EST (with future dates each month)
Reading/Race is a ten-month virtual reading series from Boogie Down Books for individual educators and groups to explore contemporary young adult literature that centers the voices, hi(stories), and experiences of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC)... We define "educator" broadly: if you support the growth and development of young people, you're an educator. Parents and caregivers who are homeschooling, leading learning pods, or facilitating virtual learning at home are welcome too. Tickets for individual sessions are $10.
Virtual Literary Events
There are so many incredible literary events happening online this month, and many of them free; you could completely fill up your calendar with them all. Find the ones you're most interested in from the list below, organized by date.
Literary Somerset with James Crowden
Feb 3 @ 7:30 pm GMT
"This talk explores the literary highways and byways of Somerset, UK...Many of the literary connections are well known (such TS Eliot and East Coker and Wordsworth and Coleridge in the Quantocks) but did you know…..
Thomas Hardy once lived in Yeovil
Virginia Woolf had her honeymoon in Holford
John Steinbeck lived near Bruton
The vicar of Isle Brewers walked naked across Afghanistan
Arthur C Clarke was born in Minehead
JRR Tolkien had his honeymoon in Clevedon and that Cheddar Gorge inspired Helm’s deep in Lord of the Rings"
Betty Friedan's 100th Birthday: Moving the Legacy Forward
Feb 4 @ 7 pm EST
"Join us for a free webinar to celebrate Betty Friedan [author of landmark text, The Feminine Mystique] and her legacy. Author, Journalist, Educator, Activist. A visible, ardent, and important advocate for women’s rights, dubbed the 'mother' of the modern women’s movement."
Speakers for this event include: Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Charles Schumer, Gloria Steinem, Betty's children Jonathan and Emily, and more.
The Harlem Renaissance: Rebirth of African-American Arts in Celebration of Black History Month
Feb 6 @ 7:30 pm EST
"The Harlem Renaissance was an intellectual, cultural and artistic explosion in American History centered in 1920s Harlem, bringing to prominence luminaries such as Langston Hughes, Alain Locke, Zora Neal Hurston, Nella Larsen, Aaron Douglas, James Van Der Zee, Duke Ellington, “Cab” Calloway, Louis Armstrong, Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson, Bessie Smith and many more... The event offers a rich tapestry of live and recorded performances in storytelling, dance, song and poetry and an Art Exhibit preview."
The Bard in the Borderlands: Race, Language, and Coloniality
Feb 8 @ 1 pm MST
"This roundtable conversation brings together five scholars actively working at the intersections of Shakespeare and [US-Mexico] borderland studies...As they highlight the contours of this emerging field, the discussants will address the role of Shakespeare in the region, recent works of borderlands, Shakespeare appropriation, language politics, racial formation, and decolonial and antiracist methodologies for teaching, performance, and scholarship."
This is a free event put on by the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Register to attend on eventbrite.
Feb 9 @ 6 pm GMT
"The most beloved names in English Literature have drawn on London as inspiration for their works; Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde to name but a few... Join Rachel as we stroll through parks, explore landmarks and roam the streets following in the footsteps of these literary heroes." Tickets are £11.37 on eventbrite.
Literary Conversations: Intersections
Feb 9 @ 7 pm EST
"Intersections will feature authors who have engaged with intersectional identities in their work... Join us for a complicated and challenging discussion of intersections, featuring novelists Tope Folarin (A PARTICULAR KIND OF BLACK MAN), Min Jin Lee (PACHINKO), and Douglas Stuart (SHUGGIE BAIN). The conversation will be moderated by writer and book critic Bethanne Patrick."
At Edith's Table: Food and Dining in Wharton's Life and Work
Feb 11 @ 4 pm EST
"Attendees will get a sense of how Edith Wharton used food and dining to convey character and background in passages from some of her most memorable work. Raymond will also present examples from Wharton’s own life including food memories from her childhood as well as insight into how she designed her own dining rooms and her thoughts on entertaining."
On the Trail of the Real Macbeth (virtual tour)
Feb 13 @ 8 pm GMT
Made famous by the Shakespeare tragedy we all know and love, Macbeth was a real historical figure who is vastly misunderstood. On this virtual tour, visit Macbeth's castle and to other sites related to the real Macbeth.
Literary Conversations on Love: Austen, Bronte, and Alcott
Feb 13 @ 4:30 pm EST
Readings from such classic novels as Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, and Little Women will be followed by a transatlantic discussion on marriage, love and womanhood and the experience of recording the works of these towering authors.
According to Larkin and Undeland, “we have discovered that during the pandemic, people are suddenly finding solace and wisdom in the classics – some of the listeners for the very first time. Needless to say, we are passionate about bringing the classics to them in easy-to-listen-to audiobooks.” The hour-long event will include not only the readings from the novels but also witty repartee.
Jane Austen Love Fest
Feb 14 @ 5 pm GMT
"Join us for a bumper Valentine’s Day celebration of all things Jane Austen! With a fun and eclectic line up of talks, readings, music and games, this special online event will give you the chance to indulge your love of Jane Austen’s life and works, and to share them with fellow fans around the world. Regency dress optional, but encouraged!"
I will say, this is a bit early in the morning for my time zone, but if it's anything like the Jane Austen birthday celebration they hosted, it will be a fabulous time!
TS Eliot & the London of the Wasteland
Feb 17 @ 7 pm GMT
TROUBLE at HOME: Hsuan Hsu: Twain’s Olfactory Gags
Feb 17 @ 5:30 pm EST
"Hsuan Hsu aims to better understand how Twain’s olfactory humor stages a little-explored aspect of Twain’s realism: the materiality of socially and geographically stratified atmospheres... Hsu will begin by surveying Twain’s scattered comments on the smells of rotting fish, the stench of Chinatowns, working-class odors bodies in a church congregation, plague-ridden corpses, and diseased immigrant bodies. In examples such as these, olfactory disjunctions establish a realist sense of atmosphere as a medium that intangibly structures social and economic life."
Poet of the People: The Greatness of Langston Hughes
Feb 18 @ 6 pm EST
"One hundred years ago Langston Hughes published his now-famous first poem, 'The Negro Speaks of Rivers.'...Join Brent Hayes Edwards, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, and Rafia Zafar, Professor of African-American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis ...for a conversation about Hughes’s greatness and about his centrality for American literature and the culture of the global African diaspora."
"How Have I Not Read This?" Book Club Discussion of Mrs. Dalloway
Feb. 19 @ 7 pm EST
Join in this discussion of one of my personal favorites, Mrs. Dalloway. What's particularly exciting is that Michael Cunningham will be participating in the chat. If you're not aware, he wrote the beautiful Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Hours, based on Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf's own life, and a woman in 1960s America. It's really a special read, and the Oscar-winning movie adaptation starring Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, and Julianne Moore is equally stunning.
Jeopardy: Harlem Renaissance Edition
FEb 20 @ 2 pm EST
Teams of Middle and high school kids (minimum of 3 per team) can register to participate in a virtual Jeopardy game focusing on the Harlem Renaissance. Participation is free.
Brooklyn Poetry Slam
Feb 23 @ 6:30 pm EST
"The Brooklyn Poetry Slam is excited to announce the return of its monthly programming following the 2020 COVID-19... [it will include] a monthly series of virtual writing workshops and poetry showcases. These literary events will feature some of the world’s more renowned writers and facilitators." Tickets are free on eventbrite.
C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien: Faith and Reason, Imagination and Fellowship
Feb 24 @ 5 pm PST
"C. S. Lewis and... J.R.R. Tolkien were destined to live through the two world wars and the social upheavals of the twentieth century. Out of that trauma, and with the help of their fellowship, they forged works of imagination, beauty, reason, and Christian hope -- works which, as Professor Zaleski will suggest, have the power to reorient us as we try to cope with the current pandemic and the bitter conflicts of our own day." Tickets to this Zoom lecture are free.
Virtual Literary Festivals
Check out the following book festivals that are still moving forward in an online format this month.
Brigid meets Berlin 2021: Festival of Irish Female Literary Creativity
The festival will be hosted through Zoom and a Facebook live stream and will feature German author Lucy Fricke as well as Sinead Crowe in conversation with Sinead Mac Aodha of Literature Ireland. Sign up for free on eventbrite.
Delhi Book Fair
The Delhi Book Fair is India's largest and longest running book fair, happening annually since 1972. Stay updated on the virtual fair here.
Jaipur Literary Festival
Savannah Book Festival
Savannah has also made the decision to go virtual for their annual festival in 2021. Throughout the month, they will host virtual events with authors. Ones to definitely tune in for in February are a Feb 3 interview with Brit Bennett (author of The Vanishing Half, which is incredible and should definitely be on your TBR list) and a Feb 9 event with Larry Loftis, author of nonfiction spy thrillers like Code Name: Lise; the Story of the Woman who became WWII's Most Highly Decorated Spy.
Amelia Island Book Festival
This annual book festival canceled its in-person component due to the pandemic, but they hope to post online events throughout February. Keep an eye on their website for more information.
What a month February will be with all these events to attend and so much learning and fun to be had.
What are you most excited for?
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