As this quarantine goes on, I think it’s safe to say we’re all feeling more and more isolated. The simplest things, like going to a coffee shop or visiting a friend, just aren’t possibilities these days. (Man oh man, do I miss writing in coffee shops.) And with that, have come all the cancellations. Big deal book events like BEA have been canceled or postponed in order to comply with CDC guidelines. That’s how it should be, but still—a bummer for all us book nerds. The good news is, in the light of all this isolation, a number of conventions—old and new—have decided to move online in order to keep the book community connected and thriving in the time of COVID-19.
Just like the real deal, these online festivals have everything from virtual Q&A’s to signed books and giveaways. Check out and sign up for these awesome virtual book events you can attend from home!
Wordplay: April 13–May 9
This virtual conference from The Loft is free to attend and features webinars from authors like Randy Ribay (Patron Saints of Nothing), Kate DiCamillo (The Tale of Despereaux), and John Scalzi (Red Shirts and The Collapsing Empire).
Novl CouchFest 2020: April 20–24
Novl is putting together a five day online extravaganza of author events and giveaways (chances to win a free Novl Box? yes please!). All the perks of a book festival from the safety of your couch!
Let’s Get Lit Online Book Fest: April 23–June 6
With the struggles of current debut authors especially in mind, a group of book bloggers got together to create an online book festival. Let’s Get Lit will include blog tours, author interviews, hashtag games, and giveaways. Check out updates on the schedule and author line up from their new Twitter account after their first was suspended for no apparent reason.
Virtual Con: April 24
A one day online event full of authors, games, and giveaways from Penguin Random House. An amazing line up of authors including Kat Cho (Wicked Fox), Quan Barry (We Ride Upon Sticks), Chuck Wendig (Star Wars: Aftermath and Wanderers), and Samantha Irby (We Are Never Meeting in Real Life and Wow, No Thank You) will participate in Reddit AMAs, cooperative storytelling games, live readings, and more.
Social Distance Book Fest: April 25
This book fest put together by a group of dedicated bookworms will include virtual signings and panels featuring authors like Claribel Ortega (Ghost Squad) and Claire Legrand (Furyborn) on a wide array of topics such as starting a BookTube channel and diversifying romance.
YALL WEST: YALLSTAYHOME!: April 25–26
A virtual festival full of your favorite authors and book signings. Tune in for authors like Becky Albertalli (Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda), Dhonielle Clayton (The Belles), Mintie Das (Brown Girl Ghosted), Hafsah Faizal (We Hunt the Flame), Marie Lu (Warcross and Legend), Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me and A Very Large Expanse of Sea) and more! Panels include: “Creativity in the Time of Corona,” “Suckage is Part of Writing,” and “Middle Grade Truth or Dare.”
Alternative Free Comic Book Day: May 1–2
Free Comic Book Day is usually a great day to visit your local comic book store and get some free comics. But things are obviously a little different this year. That didn’t stop the creators behind FCBD, Russel Nohelty and Neo Edmund, from figuring out a way to celebrate comics this year though! This year Alternate Free Comic Book Day will feature free digital books, lots of cool panels, and creators hanging out over the course of two days.
The Everywhere Book Fest: May 1–2
A new festival put together by authors Ellen Oh, Christina Soontornvat, and Melanie Conklin featuring live and pre-recorded events with your favorite picture book, middle grade, and young adult authors. Keynote speakers Gene Luen Yang and Nic Stone will kick off the weekend of events, and other panels will include Jason Reynolds (Long Way Down and Look Both Ways), Daniel José Older (The Book of Lost Saints and Shadowshaper), Samira Ahmed (Internment and Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know) Gail Carson Levine (Ella Enchanted), and Anna-Marie McLemore (Blanca and Roja and Wild Beauty).
Gaithersburg Book Festival: May 16
Not many details yet on exactly what will be made available online from this Maryland book festival, but the programmers have expressed their intent to bring as much of the schedule online as possible. Hopefully some of the original participants like Lamar Giles (Not So Pure and Simple) and Robin Talley (Music from Another World) will still be able to take part.
The SFWA Nebula Conference: May 29–31
Live online video panels will take center stage at the 2020 SFWA Nebula Conference. If panels about comics/graphic novels, SFF romance, and disability in sword work isn’t enough to convince you to log in to this conference, how about a virtual dance party hosted by John Scalzi? Intrigued yet? I know I am.
Nantucket Book Festival: June 18–21
The festival—which features local, regional, and national authors—is working on an online lineup to replace the in-person festival this year. Authors originally set to participate included Imbolo Mbue (Behold the Dreamers), Gabriella Burnham (It Is Wood, It Is Stone), and Sarah M. Broom (The Yellow House).
ALA Virtual Event: June 24–26
In place of the usual conference, the American Library Association is planning a virtual event for this summer. You can follow their Twitter for real-time updates on scheduling and participants.
Virtual Thrillerfest 2020: July 7–11
An online version of Thrillerfest will take place this summer featuring PitchFest, ConsultFest, Master Class, the Debut Author Breakfast, and the Thriller Awards Presentation. Diana Gabaldon (Outlander), Veronica Roth (Divergent), and Joseph Finder (House on Fire) are all slated to participate.
Worldcon New Zealand : July 29–August 2
After winning the bid to host Worldcon 2020, New Zealand is now hosting the first ever online version of the event. The lineup includes George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones), Seanan McGuire (Every Heart a Doorway), Tamsyn Muir (Gideon the Ninth), Annalee Newitz (The Future of Another Timeline), and many, many more.
Online workshops, Kindle giveaways, swag, and introductions to Harlequin and Entangled Publishing pitch opportunities—all that and more will still be available with Romance Slam Jam’s Virtual Book Lovers’ Conference. 2020 workshop dates coming soon.
Bay Area Book Festival Unbound: May 1 – JULY
A virtual book festival featuring live and recorded events on YouTube. Programming includes panels on NaNoWriMo, Queens of Mystery, and lunch with debut novelists, among others.
This ongoing online book festival platform aims to bring readers and authors together with panels and events. Upcoming events include a crime fiction panel on April 22, featuring Emily Koch (Keep Him Close) and Phoebe Morgan (The Babysitter), and a historical fiction panel on April 29 with Nikki Marmery (On Wilder Seas) and Neil Blackmore (The Intoxicating Mr. Lavelle).
We also have some ideas on other ways to stay connected to the book community during quarantine as well as updates on all the literary movie releases and book releases affected by COVID-19.
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