Like other events, this year’s Six Bridges Book Festival is being held online because of the coronavirus pandemic. Events begin Thursday, instead of the original schedule for April 23-26. Organized by the Central Arkansas Library System, it features 11 days of events.
Festival Coordinator Brad Mooy says there will be a wide range of discussions that will be streamed live and online, with only one in-person event. There will be 75 presenters, with 61 of those being authors. A game hour and an edible book contest are also being incorporated in this year’s festival.
“You can learn about the intricacies of everything from caves to rabbit warrens to cocaine cartels,” Mooy said. “There’s a great new book with writings from authors of color living in the south on belonging, and full-day programs for families. It’s really 11 days of putting reading center stage.”
While the pandemic is causing most of the festival to be online, Mooy says there are some positive aspects to the changes. It will allow people from all over the world to join the discussions. There also won’t be as many events taking place at the same time.
“We have fewer concurrent sessions, so folks don’t have to make quite as many choices,” Mooy said. “I’m one who loves choices, so that’s not necessarily a big boon to me, but I know some people, it’s maybe a little more difficult to pick and choose what they like.” The only in-person event will be Pub or Perish, which is a curated open-mic event that will take place on Saturday at Stickyz Rock N’ Roll Chicken Shack. The doors open at 6 p.m. with limited seating to allow people to maintain adequate social distancing.
To join the online sessions, people need to register at the festival's website.