2020 Statewide Festival of Books Will be Virtual

With the coronavirus pandemic continuing and the health of readers and writers in mind, the 2020 South Dakota Festival of Books will be an all-virtual experience in 2020.

The Festival, in its 18th year of bringing readers and writers together, typically includes more than 100 public presentations. In lieu of in-person events, the 60-plus authors on the 2020 roster will discuss books, teach workshops, and interact with fans via Zoom, Crowdcast and Facebook Live. The lineup includes local favorites and perennial bestsellers.

"Safety is the first priority," said Ann Volin, director of the South Dakota Humanities Council, which hosts the annual event. "We will dearly miss our personal interactions with fans, volunteers, sponsors, authors, and everyone else who has made this event so special during the past 17 years, but we will host a robust virtual event and hope to be back in person in 2021."

Festival of Books Joins Other Events in Going Virtual

Readers in South Dakota and elsewhere have had several months to adjust to watching author presentations on their computers, as book festivals around the world have moved to virtual formats in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 South Dakota Festival of Books will kick off with a virtual welcome Thursday, Oct. 1 and continue with events throughout the weekend and into late-October.

"We're excited by the opportunity to reach people all over the U.S. and even the world," Volin said.

Featured at the 2020 Festival are local and regional authors as well as nationally recognized writers such as Max Brooks, Angelica Shirley Carpenter, Robert Dugoni, Karl Marlantes, Sally Roesch Wagner, and more.

Still growing after 17 years, the Festival brings together readers and writers for workshops, lectures, panel discussions and book signings. In typical years, South Dakota's premier literary event draws thousands of attendees, including approximately 5,000 students who meet children's/YA authors and illustrators at both the Festival itself and via school visits.

Each year, the Festival of Books features a common read for children and adults via the One Book South Dakota program: The 2020 One Book is "Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church" by Megan Phelps-Roper. Meanwhile, past Festival presenter Alison McGhee returns to the Festival of Books in 2020 with two adorable — and famous — characters in tow. The 2020 Young Readers One Book "Bink & Gollie: Three for One" stars the irrepressible and precocious Bink and Gollie, created by McGhee and Kate DiCamillo, a Newbery medalist and past Festival presenter.

Find Out More About the Festival of Books

For a full schedule of events and information on all of the authors, please visit sdbookfestival.com.