Virtual Events

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Virtual Events

Mayo 14, 2020, 9:49pm

A COVID-era topic: Virtual readings, panels, author discussions, and other events. We can't go out for coffee afterward, but we can at least talk. (What authors are wearing and what their houses look like are fair game.)

Mayo 15, 2020, 11:11am

So this is apropos, because a large chunk of my time, and SP's, lately has been helping to put together an author series our southern bookstores could promote. You can see the past events here, as I get them formatted and posted. I'm running behind!:

Steven Wright's event which is about his novel centering around dark money and manipulating local elections, was really interesting.

We're doing Kristen Arnett this afternoon at 3 pm. Here's the schedule so far

May 15 / 3:00 PM Mostly Dead Things / Kristen Arnett
May 19 / 3:00 PM On Ocean Boulevard / Mary Alice Monroe
May 20 / 3:00 PM The Prettiest Star / Carter Sickels
May 21 / 3:00 PM A Taste of Sage / Yaffa S. Santos
May 26 / 5:00 PM Boys of Alabama / Genevieve Hudson
May 27 / 3:00 PM Pale / Edward Farmer
May 28 / 7:00 PM The Book of Lost Friends / Lisa Wingate
June 2 / 5:00 PM Ground Truth: A Geological Survey of a Life / Ruby McConnell
June 4 / 5:00 PM Which Fork Do I Use With My Bourbon? / Peggy Noe Stevens & Susan Reigler

There are about 50 southern bookstores participating that you can sign up through to attend. Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, VA is one:

Mayo 15, 2020, 11:25am

Y'all, this is super helpful.

Mayo 15, 2020, 11:41am

These are not free but look fantastic. I'm signed up for the May 31st session on Mrs. Dalloway.

Mayo 15, 2020, 7:34pm

We are doing a blind tasting with one of our favorite Paso Robles wineries. The first of four.

Mayo 20, 2020, 9:40am

Here's a link to the talk with Kristen Arnett, Mostly Dead Things. She is a real sweetie.

Mayo 20, 2020, 11:42am

Neat, thanks!

The Washington Post has a calendar of virtual events, which is updated pretty regularly:

Virtual Literary Event Calendar

Mayo 29, 2020, 3:24pm

>7 lisapeet: I missed your hosted Library Journal Nonfiction Panel because of a Zoom conflict, of all things, (tells you something about my life right now!) but I just finished listening to the recording. You did a great job. Did you like virtual moderating? And did you like the platform you were using?

Editado: Mayo 30, 2020, 11:12am

>8 southernbooklady: Thanks, Nicki! I think the full session, with video as well, will be posted at some point? I don't know because I don't really want to go back and re-watch—I felt good about it, and don't feel like second-guessing myself all over the place.

I... didn't mind the virtual format as much as I thought I would. I do miss having folks right there, because I think the give-and-take is slightly limited—the ability to read people's nonverbal cues is almost nonexistent, since I'm looking at them in boxes on a laptop screen and when they're not speaking the boxes are too small to pick up anything. And I realize that I do depend on that, at least a bit—was Mychal Smith feeling stressed at sitting in the middle of a bunch of white ladies while I asked polite questions about writing while the world is falling apart? (His book is very good and timely, by the way—it's out in September and I recommend it for anyone who wants a good sharp take on what was wrong even before covid.) Should I have just skipped over Jill Lepore when I was asking about authorial decisions, since her book was more straight-up reporting? That was one reason I gave each question to everyone on the panel, rather than picking one or two people—aside from the fact that the virtual platform gets instantly scrambled if two people talk at once, so everything had to be pretty carefully planned out, there was a real lack of those leaning forward, nodding, or looking askance cues that I would usually use.

I also missed the green room, getting to relax and chat with the authors before going onstage. We had some time to chit-chat virtually before going live, but it felt awkward, and I blame that 100% on the medium. Jill was worried about her very ill dog, and I know my absolute empathy on that front didn't translate on tiny windows the way it would have in person, and which would have softened things a bit. And afterward we all just clicked off, rather than heading back to the green room to decompress. I've gotten some great hugs from panelists in the pasts—oh, Karine Jean-Pierre, my heart!—and that connection was noticeably absent.

That said, it was a good workaround in a bad time. LJ pulled the event together really well, and my hat is off to all the tech and marketing folks who made it happen. (ETA: And Barbara Hoffert, who is a genius at pulling these together every year and worked overtime to get this happening in a totally new format.) I think audiences enjoyed it too, from what I'm seeing on Twitter. But for someone who gets a lot of mileage out of the in-person vibe, that was lacking.

Anyway, more than you probably wanted to know, but it was helpful for me to write it out so I can bring that up for our debriefing next week. I think maybe a chance to email and/or zoom with the authors ahead of time would be good, even though I know everyone's very busy. And maybe not every moderator would want to do that, but I very much would.

Mayo 30, 2020, 10:11am

>9 lisapeet: That's a great report, Lisa. Could I share it with some people? We're putting together a virtual trade show in September and I think your account would be helpful as we make decisions about platforms and programming.

I've been watching the Bookexpo Facebook Live broadcasts and my takeaway was very close to what you said -- it was great to be able to listen to Judy Blume or Joy Harjo talk, but the "greater than the sum of its parts" experience you get when a bunch of people are in the same room together was completely absent. It's also impossible to have any audience to audience interactions. You know, that serendipitous connection that occurs with strangers because you are sitting at the same table, commiserating over the mediocre food while you wait for a chance to hear the keynote speaker.

Mayo 30, 2020, 11:17am

Please do share. I think I’m going to pass it on to Barbara and a few folks at LJ because I’m always more articulate when I write things down than when I yammer.

After having watched a bunch of virtual author readings and interviews, The ones that have come off best are the ones where the author and interviewer had a pre-existing friendship or at least good professional relationship, because that bond was there already. For example Jenny Offill interviewing Lydia Millet was wonderful because they go back to their college years—it was relaxed, funny, rapid-fire.

Oct 24, 2020, 9:18pm

OK, if you want to see a great panel featuring three super smart, dynamic women translators of classic texts, run do not walk to this from the Center for Fiction: Radical Translations: Maria Dahvana Headley, Emily Wilson, and Madeline Miller. I love how engaged they are with the works in this totally lively, interesting way. Really good way to spend an hour!

Oct 26, 2020, 6:29pm

There is a very lovely interview with Joyce Carol Oates at The Loneaome reader channel. She comes across as being very sweet.

Oct 27, 2020, 11:00am

Oh Lisa, I do!