Roundup of Book Festivals to Attend Online this November
For an avid reader and book hoarder, book festival season is like March Madness. It comes every fall, a time to connect with authors and fellow readers and, of course, load up on new books.
One of my family's favorite memories from 2019 was our weekend spent at the Queen
City Mischief & Magic Festival in Staunton, VA, an elaborate celebration of the Harry Potter series in which the whole town got involved.
As with most things we love looking forward to, COVID-19 has put a damper on book festival season. But, take heart! The fabulous invention of the internet means that even if you can't attend your favorite book fest in person, you can still participate from the comfort of your own home.
I even got to still participate in the QCMM Firebolt 5k virtually (and get my t-shirt with their clever 2020 slogan, "The year that shall not be named").
Looking for a book festival to participate in this November? I've done the research so you don't have to. Here's a list of some of the best book and literary festivals you can attend online this month.
Pasadena Festival of Women Authors
This event went online in August, but you can still watch the videos from their event website. And they had an incredible lineup of authors this year, including Madeline Miller (author of Circe and The Song of Achilles, and I can't recommend these enough) and Yangsze Choo (author of the beautiful book, The Night Tiger). And you can watch these for free! Not one that you want to miss.
Robert Louis Stevenson Day, Edinburgh, UK
In celebration of the Treasure Island writer's birthday, Edinburgh throws an over-the-top event every year (one certainly on my own bucket list to attend!). This year, it's going virtual. You can view and participate in such events as readings of RLS's travel writings, a discussion of his physical ailments in relation to his extensive travel, a video reading of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and more.
Check out this website for the most up-to-date information.
Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading
Live and pre-recorded interviews with authors will be available for free during the three-day festival. Authors of special note include Colson Whitehead (author of the excellent novel The Underground Railroad), Silvia Moreno-Garcia (author of runaway popular Mexican Gothic), John Grisham, Kristin Harmel, Gregory Maguire, and more. That's quite the impressive line-up!
Find out more information here.
Valley Jewish Book Festival
This festival has one of the best lineups of authors I've seen this year including Frederick Backman (check out Beartown or Anxious People), Ken Follett, Jodi Picoult, Deepak Chopra, Jonathan Safran Foer, Harlan Coben, John Grisham, Michael J. Fox, and lots more.
Season passes are $144, and you will be able to watch events through the end of 2020. Go to their website for more information.
More literary festivals to check out this month:
YALLFest, Charleston, SC
November 13 & 14
YALLFest is an annual festival for "readers, writers, illustrators & storytellers." Like many others, it's online this year, transforming into YALLWrite, with 2 days of panels and masterclasses.
Texas Book Festival
October 31- November 15
From their website: "This year’s virtual Festival will feature more than 125 authors, including programming for adults, young adults, middle-grade readers, and children."
Some of the more well-known authors participating in events include Julia Alvarez (I enjoyed In the Time of the Butterflies and have heard good things about her latest, Afterlife), Kevin J. Anderson, and Britt Bennett (author of two breakout hits, The Mothers and The Vanishing Half).
Get more information here.
Charleston to Charleston Literary Festival
Nov. 6-15, 2020
This festival is the ultimate bookish collaboration, put on every year jointly by the cities of Charleston, SC in the US and Charleston Farmhouse in Sussex, England. I'm just all about that transatlantic partnership and this festival's dedication to sharing literature, art, and humanitarian ideas. Registration for the festival is free, but they encourage giving a tax-deductible donation if you are able.
This year's lineup of authors includes Andre Aciman (author of Call Me By Your Name), Britt Bennett, Sara Collins, and more.
Kentucky Book Festival, Frankfurt, KY
Moved online this year, the festival will include virtual events with John Grisham, Terry Brooks, Sheryl WuDunn (coauthor of Half the Sky), and more. One event that sounds fun is "author happy hours" hosted every Thursday at 7 pm EDT. Some sessions are aimed at writers, such as "writing historical fiction" and "the path to publishing." Registration is easy and free.
Portland Book Festival, Portland, OR
This year's online event features writers Carl Hiaasen, Bryan Washington (author of Lot: Stories), Brit Bennett, and more. It's totally free to attend with no passes required (but you can make a tax-deductible contribution at their website). There are three events that require a book purchase to attend, featuring the latest from Margaret Atwood, Jess Walter (Beautiful Ruins is a delight), and Isabel Wilkerson (author of Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents).
Jewish Book & Arts Festival, Boston, MA
Celebrating Jewish authors and artists for the last 4 years, this year's virtual festival will feature authors including Harlan Coben, Erica Katz, Cameron Douglas, Max Brooks, and Esther Amini.
A subscription to the entire festival starts at $85. A 3-event ticket costs $25. Find out more information here.
Bluffton Book Festival, Bluffton, SC
September 17-November 21
The 5th annual festival will stream online and feature authors including James Paterson, Kwame Alexander, Susan Abulhawa (author of Mornings in Jenin), and Edward P. Jones (author of The Known World). For this festival, you pay per event. Find out more information here.
Miami Book Fair International, Miami, FL
Author events feature Margaret Atwood, Tommy Orange, Tayari Jones, Marlon James, Susan Choi, and many more. Click here for more information.
Pat Conroy Literary Festival, Beaufort, SC
This festival features an assortment of free and paid events for readers and writers alike.
Cambridge Literary Festival, Cambridge, UK
This year's online festival includes more than 40 events featuring authors such as Diane Cook, Daisy Johnson, and Helen Macdonald. Get more information at their website here.
Other festivals that normally take place in November but are cancelled or postponed this year:
Baltimore Book Festival, Baltimore, MD
Louisiana Book Festival, Baton Rouge, LA
Kingston Book Festival, Kingston Jamaica
C. S. Lewis Festival, Petosky, Michigan
C.S. Lewis Festival, Belfast, Ireland
November is the "bookend" of literary festival season, so there are so many options to choose from. Here's hoping we can start meeting in person again for book festivals next year!
Tell me, what festivals and bookish events do you plan to attend online this month? Any authors you're especially excited about?
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