Virtual Book Events You Can Attend From Home
By: Jessica Sullivan
In these uncertain times, we’re forced to re-examine what’s important to us. Whether that be spending time with loved ones, maintaining or improving your well-being, reading, or writing, two things has remained clear: books are essential, and books connect us. Maybe you’ve seen the hashtag, the posts to save indie bookstores, or read about James Patterson’s monumental donation to indie bookstores across the nation. Ibram X. Kendi, author of Stamped From the Beginning, wrote, “As we practice social distancing, let’s not distance ourselves from books. They will keep us company and connect us back to people, back to society.” Many in the literary community, from bookstores to publishing houses to literary magazines, are hosting virtual book talks. Book talks are a great way to engage with the literary community, support authors, and bookstores across the country. Below is a list of some of the virtual book events and festivals. This is by no means a comprehensive list, so check in with your favorite indie bookstores and publishing houses to see what they’re up to.
Saturday, April 25 at 7:00pm: P&P Live! is hosting Samantha Irby, author of Wow, No Thank You and We are Never Meeting in Real Life. Irby will be in conversation with Maris Kreizman, who is a writer, critic, and host of “The Maris Review.” To attend the event is $20, but you receive a copy of the book in addition to a ticket.
Saturday-Sunday, April 25-26th: Yall West: YallStayHome! Is a virtual festival hosting some fantastic authors and book signings. Some of the authors include Albertalli, author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Marie Lu, author of Warcross and Legend, and Tahereh Mafi, author of Shatter Me and A Very Large Expanse of Sea. There are also panels, some of which include: “Creativity in the Time of Corona, “Suckage is Part of Writing,” and “Middle Grade Truth or Dare.”
Tuesday, April 28 at 7:00pm: P&P Live! is hosting Ishmael Beah, author of Little Family. Ishmael Beah is the author of A Long Way Gone, his account of his years as a child solider in Sierra Leone. In his newest novel, he tells the story of five young people in a torn and uncertain country. Beah will be in conversation with Reza Aslan, Iranian-American scholar of religious studies, television host, and author. The event is free to attend.
Tuesday, April 28th at 7:00pm: Books Are Magic is hosting Jessica Francis Kane, author of Rules for Visiting and other novels including This Close, which was longlisted for The Story Prize and the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize. Rules for Visiting follows May Attaway, an unapologetic narrator who works as a botanist for the university in her hometown. She decides to take some leave from her job and embarks on a journey to spend time with four friends that she fell out of touch with. Kane will be in conversation with Alexander Chee, whose most recent essay collection is How to Write an Autobiographic Novel. The event is free to attend.
Friday, May 1st at 7:00pm: Books Are Magic is hosting Kristen Arnett, author of Mostly Dead Things. Arnett’s bestseller is a dark, humorous family portrait that examines love and loss and the way we live through them both. Arnett will be in conversation with Alexander Chee, who is the author of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, among others. He is also a contributing editor to the New Republic, an editor for VQR, and a critic for the Los Angeles Times. His essays and stories have appeared in numerous publications, including T Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, the Yale Review, and the Sewanee Review. The event is free to attend.
Friday-Saturday, May 1-2nd: Free Comic Book Day is presented by Russel Nohelty and Neo Edmund. Free Comic Book Day will feature free digital books, panels, and creators over the course of two days.
Saturday, May 2 at 6:00pm: P&P Live! is hosting Amity Gaige, author of Sea Wife. Her latest novel combines family relationships with the surprise of a sea-faring tale. The narrative follows Michael, Juliet, and their two children as they leave their lives for Panama to take possession of a forty-four foot sailboat. Amity Gaige will be in conversation with Lauren Groff, author of Florida, three other novels and one short story collection. The event is free to attend.
Saturday, May 10th at 3:00pm: P&P Live! is hosting the launch party of Furious Gravity, the latest issue of the Grace and Gravity series. Furious Gravity is edited by American University professor Melissa Sholes-Young, and features fifty women writers in the DMV area. The event is free to attend.