One of my favorite bookish activities of summers past was attending book events, in particular book festivals and book fairs which seemed like the perfect way to end the summer. I’ll admit that living in New York City meant that we were spoiled with a plethora of bookish activities to attend each summer, from giant industry-sponsored events like BookCon to smaller events hosted by one of the city’s many independent bookstores or borough libraries. Attending book festivals with friends because a tradition and now there is nothing that screams “summer” to me more than lugging totes full of books in the full blast of the sun as I run from one panel to the next, juggling a snack from a food cart in one hand, a bottle of water in the other, and oh my god is that one of my favorite authors just walking around?
This year if you were also a little saddened to miss out on these in-person experiences that had become part of your yearly bookish summer traditions, fear not! Many of these events will be held virtually this year, and while the experience might not be the same, it does provide some silver linings in terms of access. Now you do not need to travel to Washington D.C., the Big Apple or across the pond to “attend” these big events. So, get your comfy pants, snacks and laptop and get ready for a new (virtual) summer book festival experience.
Interested in virtually attending a book festival this year? Below are some upcoming events that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own couch. Can’t attend an event live? Don’t worry many of the panels, author talks, and more are recorded and posted after the fact for you to watch later. Most events are free and open to the public.
Edinburgh International Book Festival
Why not travel (virtually) across the pond to one of the most exciting international book festivals?
Dates: August 15-31, 2020
The Bocas Lit Fest
Celebrate Caribbean literature with an incredible author lineup and plenty of events for young readers too!
Dates: September 18-20, 2020
Brooklyn Book Festival
One of my personal favorite bookish events of the year! They always have an expansive and impressive list of guest authors, interested panel topics, and more!
Dates: September 28-October 5, 2020
A Digital Book Fair? Yes please! Complete with a book fair stage, exhibits and events. This one is not to me missed!
Dates: October 14-18, 2020
Toronto International Festival of Authors
Celebrate a bookish extravaganza geared towards authors (but readers are welcome too!) with our neighbors to the north.
Dates: October 22 –November 1, 2020
Portland Book Festival
Enjoy an impressive, nearly month long, bookish celebration celebrating writers and readers from across all genres!
Date: November 5-21, 2020
National Book Festival
This iconic event sponsored by the Library of Congress is celebrating its 20th year. Don’t miss out!
Dates: September 25-27, 2020
Boston Book Festival
The Boston Book Festival sponsors local events throughout the year but will also be hosting a spooktacular spread of events this October.
Dates: October 5-25, 2020
The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival
You do not need to fly to London to enjoy the over 100 live streamed events this festival has to offer!
Dates: October 2-11, 2020
New York, NY: New York Comic Con
Embrace and unleash your inner fan and enjoy one of the biggest pop culture conventions of the year.
Dates: October 8-11, 2020
Texas Book Festival
The Texas Book Festival always has a great list of adult literature authors, but it always shines when it comes to recruiting all-start YA and children’s books authors!
Dates: October 31 -November 15, 2020
Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
This festival is celebrating its 25th year with 25 virtual events! Don’t miss out!
Dates: Starting on October 18th and continuing over four weeks
Miami Book Fair
Livestream the festivals and many events including workshops, readings and story time for the kids!
Dates: November 15-20, 2020
In addition to these festivals there are plenty of smaller, one-off events, panels, author chats and more being hosted virtually by many independent bookstores, publishing houses and libraries. A great way to find out about upcoming events is to follow your favorite bookstores or authors on social media. Many bookstores also have newsletters that you can sign up for to find out more information. This summer may not look like what we are used to or were hoping for but that doesn’t mean that we cannot celebrate our favorite books, genres and authors in a new way!
Have you attended any online bookish events this year? How was your experience?