On the website for the Bay Area Book Festival is a Rebecca Solnit quote that reads:
“An emergency is a separation from the familiar, a sudden emergence into a new atmosphere, one that often demands we ourselves rise to the occasion.”
BABF are certainly rising to the occasion. According to their latest newsletter, the original plan for a 130-session event featuring 265 authors over the 1 May weekend, is of course, no more, due to the global pandemic. However, the virtual festival that replaces the physical event is an example of thoughtful programming that has the current anxieties and concerns of its local audience at heart, with a clear focus on voting rights and mental health.
The virtual festival which is titled ‘#UNBOUND’, is due to launch on 1 May which was their original Festival weekend. More details of what audiences can expect from their programming are included on their website in this ‘sneak- peak’ write-up.
More detail from BABF #UNBOUND on session timing, accessibility and registration is included in their newsletter:
#UNBOUND launches on May 1, our original 2020 Festival weekend (plus one extra day), on the Festival's YouTube channel. With programs on the evenings of May 1, 2, and 3 (and children’s programs during the daytime), we’ll then transition to Tuesday and Thursday evenings, with Young Adult programs on Wednesday night — and the occasional Saturday night surprise.
While the programs will be free (except for the occasional fundraiser), we’re asking attendees to register for the “premiere” of each, with a live chat feature. For those who have done live chat, you know it really enriches the experience of viewing the programs. So with this advance schedule, you can mark your calendars and make sure you don’t miss a program.
Lucky subscribers to the Bay Area Book Festival’s newsletter can also enter a writing contest on the theme of ‘Expectations’, read a beautiful poem about precariousness, and preview a ‘skeleton schedule’ for all their May events ahead of the full reveal next week on their website. Without giving too much away before the big reveal, there are conversations that range from the challenges of parenting during global crises, to finding community and purpose through literature, to YA werewolves, to a French snail looking for the perfect book, and more. There are more events to be announced for the month of June.
Keep on rising to the occasion, Bay Area Book Festival!