These Book Festivals Are Returning To In-Person Events

While many book festivals are proceeding with virtual events over the coming months, others are planning in-person or hybrid virtual and in-person events for book lovers. Here are details about some of the book festivals featuring in-person events and what to expect from them, with many details still to be announced.

The Chesapeake Children’s Book Festival in Easton, Maryland, will hold a mix of in-person outdoor events on the lawn of the Talbot County Free Library, along with virtual events. Children’s author and illustrator Bryan Collier (We Shall Overcome; Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington) will headline the festival, with two talks held at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., with attendance limited to 100 people. Talbot County Free Library Director Dana Newman is quoted on the festival’s site saying, “We are excited that this year’s festival can be held in person with the appropriate safety protocols in place for masking and social distancing.” Authors David LaRochelle, Carole Boston Weatherford, Ann Brashares, Thrity Umrigar, Tracey Baptiste, Cozbi A. Cabrera, and Lisa Yee will speak virtually, to be livestreamed via the library’s Facebook page.

The Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival will hold a summer series, on a smaller scale from its biannual festival, from August 6-10 featuring around 15 authors, according to the Martha’s Vineyard Times,. The authors currently confirmed are Elizabeth Kolbert (Under a White Sky), Heather McGhee (The Sum of Us), Sadeqa Johnson (Yellow Wife), Deesha Philyaw (The Secret Life of the Church Ladies), Danielle Dreilinger (The Secret History of Home Economics), Patricia Sullivan (Justice Rising: Robert Kennedy’s America in Black and White), and Simon Winchester (Land). Each talk will be limited to 150 people, and “seating protocols and all activities of the series will fully comply with Massachusetts and CDC requirements.” Books will be for sale from Bunch of Grapes bookstore, and the events will be livestreamed for free.

The Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival will feature outdoor events with about 45 authors, on October 2, according to The Examiner News. Authors who’ve been confirmed include Dan Gutman, author of about 160 children’s books, including Houdini and Me and the My Weird School series, Vedra Hiranandani, author of The Night Diary, a winner of the Newbery Honor, and Biscuits creators Alyssa Capucilli and Pat Schories, celebrating Biscuit’s 25th birthday. According to the festival website, events for the free book festival will include storytimes, author talks, and illustration demos.

In Decatur, Georgia, their annual festival is moving dates. According to their website, “After 15 years of hosting literary events over Labor Day Weekend, the AJC Decatur Book Festival presented by Emory University is making a permanent move to the first weekend of October. This year the book festival will host a one-day program with five author events at the First Baptist Church of Decatur on Saturday, October 2. The lineup will be announced in early July. There will not be a book festival street fair this year.” According to Decaturish, this year’s program, “ will honor the festival’s commitment to showcasing an array of voices, connecting readers with writers and encouraging empathy through the love of reading and creative expression in children and adults.” The Decatur Arts Festival, Amplify Decatur Music Festival, and the Decatur Craft Beer Festival will also be held over the same weekend. The Decatur Book Festival recently received a $1,000 Grant for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support their 2021 Diverse Voices Building Community literary program, reported Decaturish.

The Texas Book Festival will be a hybrid event running from October 25 to 31. According to the festival’s website, “Starting Monday, October 25, virtual sessions will lead up to the Festival Weekend on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol and along Congress Avenue in downtown Austin. The Festival will include a robust, diverse lineup of established, emerging, and debut literary talent for readers of all ages.”

And in 2022, Savannah Now reports that the Savannah Book Festival is planning to host in-person events in February. Executive Director Erika Dongre told Savannah Now, ““We are pleased about the success of our virtual event series. It has been a wonderful way to keep SBF connected with our community. Having evaluated the information from the CDC and state and local governments available to us at this time, SBF feels optimistic that an in-person event will be able to take place this February.”

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