Texas Book Festival Goes Virtual!
Annual literary event stretches from Halloween to Nov. 15
By Robert Faires,
11:50AM, Wed. Jun. 24, 2020
Have you ever wished the Texas Book Festival lasted more than one weekend? Well, this year, that big-as-the-Lone-Star-State literary event has granted your wish: The 2020 edition will be spread out over 16 days, Oct.31-Nov. 15. But there's a catch.
You saw this coming, no doubt. The coronavirus pandemic has even gotten to the TBF, forcing it off the Texas State Capitol grounds and onto the interwebs. Not exactly the way this festival was looking to celebrate its 25th anniversary, we'll wager, and in the press release announcing the change, TBF Literary Director Matthew Patin admitted as much – though he also put the best possible face on the change. “Yes, converging downtown is out of the picture this fall, and we’d be lying if we said we won’t miss that in-person magic," he said. "But there’s plenty of magic to be found online, too. And whereas the medium may be changing in 2020, much will stay the same: a robust schedule, diverse literary voices, thought-provoking discussions, abundant laughs and surprises, and one-of-a-kind connections with authors and fellow book lovers.”
No word included on who any of those authors might be, though the release does suggest how many will be coming: "The 2020 Texas Book Festival will feature more than 125 authors participating in virtual sessions, including programming for adults, young adults, middle-grade readers, and children." It's worth noting that that's fewer than half the number of writers who have appeared at the festival in recent years, but with the event still four months away, it may be too soon to say whether that will be the final tally. (This is also probably not the way Patin wanted to be booking authors for his first year as Literary Director.)
The 2020 TBF will also be enfolding the Texas Teen Book Festival into the two-week span, so YA fans should mark their calendars for the first two weeks of November to connect with their fave writers. And the First Edition Literary Gala – the big fundraiser for festival programs – will still go forward, also in virtual form, though it won't be the kick-off event as it traditionally is. This year, it will be in the middle of the fest on Nov. 6.
If you need reassurance about this online festival, take it in the fact that the TBF has been getting a lot of experience doing virtual events for three months already: conducting Instagram Live author interviews and Instagram Live storytimes through its Read Together Texas series.
"Nothing will stop us from bringing people together around books, including a global pandemic,” insists TBF Executive Director Lois Kim. “We are committed more than ever to serving our community and excited that people from all over Texas, the country, and the world can participate in this year’s Festival.”
Additional word as it's released.
For more information, visit www.texasbookfestival.org.