Virtual author events continue to roll in

Virtual author events continue to roll in

In the weeks since coronavirus took over and everyone went into lockdown, The Bookseller's events site BookGig has seen an influx of virtual event listings. 

From workshops and book clubs to readings and story times, it seems that readers have more access to authors than ever before. In The Bookseller, Carolyn Jess-Cooke, founder of the Stay-At-Home! Festival, wrote: "An online festival like Stay-At-Home! Festival provides a uniquely levelled audience experience. Interacting with an author who is sitting in their kitchen or spare room is massively different to encountering an author on a stage in a lovely, but possibly intimidating, cultural venue." She added: "I am persuaded that this festival and the many others like it herald the beginning of smarter and radically experimental ways of connecting authors and readers both during and post-Covid-19." 

There has been a surge of online literary festivals like Stay-At-Home! which held 130 events over 16 days at the start of the month. Cambridge Literary Festival, which had to cancel its spring programme, held The Listening Festival over the weekend which included events with MP David Lammy and journalist David Wallace-Wells, bringing in 3,000 visitors. 

Completely digital initiatives have also emerged. The Big Book Weekend, which has partnered with BookGig to promote the festival, will be held on 8th–10th May, bringing together the best of British book festivals which have been cancelled due to coronavirus. In partnership with PRH, Michelle Obama announced a four-week series, "Mondays With Michelle Obama", that will see her narrate classic children's books, this week she will be reading Tom Fletcher and Gregg Abbott's There's a Dinosaur in Your Book

Author tours are making similar moves online. Robert Webb, for example, who was supposed to be on a 17-date theatre and festival tour for his novel Come Again, has been doing a virtual tour of social media "appearances" with festivals and bookshops, as well as radio broadcast interviews. 

Festivals and tours aren't alone either. Four independent bookshops have pooled their knowledge and resources to launch a virtual events programme. Linghams (Heswall), Book-ish (Crickhowell), Forum Books (Corbridge) and Booka Bookshop (Oswestry) launched "At Home with Four Indies". The line up includes Jack Monroe author of Tin Can Cook and Costa Award winning Sebastian Barry

This week, the YA Book Prize will be speaking to shotlisted authors Holly Jackson and Kiran Millwood Hargrave on Twitter, Dialogue Books will be speaking to Ben Halls on Instagram and The Bookseller's Alice O'Keeffe will be on Twitter talking to British Book Awards shortlisted author Stacey Halls. 

All virtual events can be found on BookGig. Details of virtual events can be emailed to Tamsin Hackett or uploaded directly to BookGig.