FRIDAY NOTES & NEWS: Take Advantage of Virtual Literary Festivals & Writers Conferences

BY NANCY KAY CLARK

Copyright is held by the author.

Well, the COVID cases are up in my neck of the woods — and in many of yours as well, I’m sure. So, it’s back to lockdown and trying not to go crazy.

This is nothing new to writers. We’ve always worked alone and have felt keenly that isolation from time to time. That’s why many of us pre-COVID so actively sought out other writers to socialize and talk the trade with — who else is going to allow you to pontificate for an hour on structure or pace or subtext? Writers groups, book launches, reading series, publishing conferences and literary festivals gave us an opportunity to connect to writers, readers and publishers face-to-face. Unfortunately, we can’t do that right now.

This is both sad and an opportunity because most of these events are now on-line. Just think: I can attend the best literary festivals in the world, featuring my all-time favourite writers, without spending a dime on airfare or hotels. Now, it’s not entirely free, fees to attend may still need to be paid. And, of course, not all of us have the best internet connection at home. But, still, these events are a lot more affordable and accessible than they usually are. And I think you should take advantage of them — I know I will.

Here’s a small sample of what’s coming up this fall:

Brooklyn Book Festival — Sept. 28 – Oct. 5

Boston Book Fest — Oct. 5 – 25

Vancouver Writers Fest — Oct. 19 – 25

The Toronto International Festival of Authors — Oct. 22 – Nov. 1

Packaging Your Imagination Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators & Performers annual conference — Oct. 24

Contributor News

Kay Smith-Blum’s essay, “Targets,” has been nominated by the Heavy Feather Review for Sundress Publications 2020 Best of the Net anthology. Smith-Blum’s humorous essays can also be found at Bewildering Stories, Quail Bell Magazine and Down in the Dirt magazine.