LA Times Festival of Books Is Going Online This Autumn

The famous and free page-turner of a party writes a new chapter this October by holding its first-ever virtual event.

Alina Rosanova

What to Know

  • Begins Oct. 18, 2020
  • Four weeks
  • Look for virtual "author panels, readings, and other events"

Not all fairy tales are set during the fall season, nor does every legendary scene from literature take place under a bough of colorful leaves or in a village full of foliage.

But autumn can seem like the most bookish of all the seasons, thanks to the return of school, crisper evenings (made for staying in and reading), and a warm palette that seems perfect for a sweeping romance or historical adventure.

It fits, then, that a famous lit fest would pop up in the fall for the first time ever, much like a bookmark slides snugly between two pages.

And that's exactly what will happen starting on Oct. 18, 2020, when the 25th Annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books begins, the first-ever virtual outing for the popular to-do.

Like any thrilling tale, though, there are some twists to this one.

The festival had been previously scheduled to take place last April, but was postponed due to the pandemic to a weekend in early October.

Now however?

It will be fully virtual, and it will occur not just over a Saturday and Sunday but rather four weeks, with "author panels, readings, and other events" adding to the always big event's always big schedule.

"Over the years, festival goers have listened to Eric Carle read about a ravenous caterpillar; the late Congressman John Lewis discuss his lifelong work for racial equality; Julie Andrews reminisce about the Swiss Alps; Luis J. Rodriguez wax poetic about life in Los Angeles; Viet Thanh Nguyen expound reclaiming historical narratives; Padma Lakshmi dish on food and life; and gone home inspired," the festival team shared on social media.

"This year, the festival will make that kind of inspiration accessible from home."

As for what is happening in 2020?

Keep an eye on the middle of September, when more exciting points from this brand-new plot will unfold. (Yes, that's about when authors, panels, and readings will be revealed.)

As for the 2021 happening? Festival organizers hope to hold it in-person, on the USC campus, as is tradition, next spring.

The dates?

Circle April 17 and 18 on your 2021 calendar, if you've gone ahead and order it in a joyful act of optimism.

That means that the 2020 LA Times Festival of Books may be the only one that ever takes place in the fall instead of the spring.

"Paging" autumn aficionados who also happen to obsess over books: This could be your dream festival, a celebration that is timed to your favorite season.

Don your plaid scarf, warm the apple cider, and keep watch on all of the bookish goings-on that'll keep us riveted, from home, over four October-to-November weeks.

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