May 18, 2020

The Washington Post unveils a virtual literary event calendar


Staying at home: the new going out

If you’re one of those people who bought a 2020 planner while confidently announcing that this is the year you will get your life together and go to more events and then watched the coronavirus laugh at your foolish plans, I have some good news for you. On Friday, the Washington Post unveiled a national calendar of virtual literary events!

COVID-19 has put a stop to in-person book events for the time being, and many readers have been missing the community and discussion opportunities provided by readings, book clubs, and panels. As Stephanie Merry, the Post’s book editor, puts it on the WashPost PR blog, “Bookstores have always been about more than books. They provide communities where people can engage with each other and with thought-provoking words and ideas. That hasn’t changed just because we’re all stuck at home.” Many bookstores and publishers have started to run online events, story times, and book clubs, the upside of which is the ability to socialize with readers all over the country, but managing the calendars of multiple bookstores and publishers can be a bit unwieldy. A centralized database is much more manageable.

The Washington Post’s lit calendar is curated by their book staff and aggregates events from bookstores, libraries, festivals, and individual authors. According to WashPostPR,

Users can submit a virtual literary event for consideration by using the button on the upper right of the literary calendar page marked “+ Add event” and following the instructions in SceneThink. To have your event considered for publication in The Washington Post, you must make a separate entry using the location “Online – Washington Post”.

Current listings go through June 6, but the plan is to continuously update the calendar so there will be plenty of virtual events to write in your planner.



Alyea Canada is an editor at Melville House.