This fall, there’s no shortage of book events in Louisville to please even the pickiest bookworm. The Louisville Book Festival, Kentucky Book Festival and Kentucky Author Forum have all gone virtual for 2020 but that doesn’t mean they’ve let their events slide. You can expect big-name authors like maser of the modern legal thriller John Grisham, Pulitzer Prize-winner Nicholas Kristof, fiction writers J. R. Ward and Silas House, New York Times bestselling author Tomi Adeyemi and more.
Going virtual also means you can hang out in your sweatpants while watching and listening to some of your favorite authors as they discuss their work and topics such as: writing historical fiction, the path to publishing, celebrating poetry, how to write romance and more.
So grab your favorite beverage and snuggle up, it’s time to read, Louisville. Here’s everything you need to know about these three book events:
LOUISVILLE BOOK FESTIVAL
WHEN: Oct. 23-24. COST: Free
The first annual Louisville Book Festival is being held online Oct. 23-24 and features both author and panel discussions on celebrating and promoting literacy and a love of reading. The virtual event will include presentations from nationally known authors and illustrators who will be sharing their secrets to writing and publishing books.
Founded by therapist, attorney and author Deedee Cummings, the event “allows us to celebrate the city’s culture and further our goal that all children have access to books in their home,” she said in a news release announcing the event.
“There is a significant absence of bookstores west of [Interstate 65] in Louisville, which greatly reduces access to books for our youth, creating a book desert. My goal for the Louisville Book Festival is to provide a free event that shines the spotlight on wonderful authors while also getting books into the hands of children through our programs like It Pays to Read,” she added.
The free festival will be broadcast via Zoom and will feature New York Times Bestselling Author Tomi Adeyemi and speakers from the Louisville Free Public Library, Carmichael’s Bookstore and Jefferson County Public Schools.
“We believe that literacy is a fundamental human right and that there is power and purpose in bringing books to life every day of the year,” Cummings said. “We celebrate books and use them to highlight and grow the resilient culture of our vibrant city, as well as to encourage and elevate our creative thinking as a community.”
All 11 of Cummings’ diverse picture books, poetry books, and workbooks teach coping skills, reinforce the universal message of love, encourage mindfulness and facilitate inclusion for all.
To learn more about the Louisville Book Festival and view a full schedule of events, visit louisvillebookfestival.com.
KENTUCKY BOOK FESTIVAL
WHEN: Nov. 6-14. COST: Unless noted, sessions are free and open to the public
The 2020 Kentucky Book Festival, presented by Kentucky Humanities, is being held online this fall.
In addition to New York Times best-selling writer John Grisham, other authors taking part in the online festival include Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, poets Reginald Dwayne Betts and Nikky Finney, fiction writers Silas House, Terry Brooks and J. R. Ward, nonfiction writers David Blight, Martha S. Jones, Bobbie Ann Mason and more.
“We spent several months in consultation with our board of directors, staff, and public health officials evaluating the landscape with regard to COVID-19,” said Kentucky Humanities Executive Director Bill Goodman. “While we will greatly miss not being able to gather together this year, we look forward to a fantastic online event with a tremendous lineup of authors.”
The Kentucky Book Festival has a rich history of supporting Kentucky authors while seeking out national bestsellers and inviting them to visit the state. This year’s virtual festival features both live and prerecorded panel discussions during its celebration of reading, writing and all things bookish in the Bluegrass State.
Grisham kicks off the Kentucky Book Festival on Monday, Nov. 9. The six-day virtual event wraps up Saturday, Nov. 14 with an all-day event featuring multiple topics and authors.
Additional “Happy Hour” content is currently offered on Thursdays through Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. Each week, grab your beverage of choice and enjoy “Author Happy Hour” sessions on topics like writing the perfect crime, and writing a Pulitzer Prize winner from the authors of “Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope.”
Virtual programming for the Kentucky Book Festival will be broadcast on Zoom and Facebook Live. Unless otherwise noted, sessions are free and open to the public. Visit kyhumanities.org for the full schedule as well as information on how to register and join each session.
Kentucky Humanities is a non-profit Kentucky corporation affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities.
KENTUCKY AUTHOR FORUM
The University of Louisville Kentucky Author Forum series is a nationally recognized literary event that matches an author and interviewer for an hour-long candid conversation. The event has been reinvented, much like everything else, for 2020 and instead of live conversations, the discussions are now done via podcast in “The Great Podversations.”
Guests discuss literature, politics, history, economics, science and culture. Robert Siegel, the former host of NPR’s “All Things Considered,” introduces these authors and experts at the start of each episode. Nine episodes have taken place and have featured authors including Erik Larson, Malcolm Nance, David Frum, Isabel Allende, Clarissa Ward and more.
The most recent episode, which aired Oct. 16, featured Timothy Egan and Elaine Pagels discussing Egan’s book “A Pilgrimage to Eternity,” history, belief and other timely topics. The next episode, details to come, will be released on Oct. 30.
Episodes and a full schedule of events can be found at kentuckyauthorforum.com.
Reach Kirby Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @kirbylouisville. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today.