The New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University has canceled its inaugural event for 2020, citing concerns over the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and adherence to university protocol.
Tickets purchased for keynote addresses with John Grisham, Michael Lewis and Malcolm Gladwell will be fully refunded within 10 business days.
The book festival had planned to run March 19-21, and festival organizers estimated around 30,000 visitors would attend the three-day event on Tulane’s uptown campus. However, the top priority for the festival organizers is that of the health and safety of the general public, authors, volunteers and Tulane’s faculty, staff and students.
On Wednesday afternoon, Tulane University announced it would reduce the concentration of people on campus by conducting classes online beginning March 23 and through the end of the semester, reducing the number of gatherings and eliminating non-essential travel.
“We were thrilled to have such a diverse and exciting lineup scheduled for our inaugural festival, but we of course must do what is best for the health and safety of our community and our nation,” said Walter Isaacson, co-chair of the book festival.”
“We are obviously heartbroken and disappointed to cancel what we believe was going to be a spectacular first-time event for our book festival at Tulane University,” said Cheryl Landrieu, co-chair and executive director. “We have been blown away and extremely inspired with the amount of interest, both locally and nationally, from authors, book lovers and volunteers for our book festival. Our 2021 dates are already set for March 18-20, and we will do our best to make sure it is a tremendous event.”
Prior to its cancelation, the New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University had assembled a group of over 100 renowned and rising authors, including 15 talented and award-winning children’s authors for the festivals’ first Family Day event.
Along with the all-star lineup of authors, the one-of-a-kind book festival planned to feature a distinct New Orleans flavor with live jazz music, cooking presentations from several top chefs and some of the Crescent City’s most colorful authors and political figures.
Despite the cancelation, many of the authors have expressed a strong desire to return to the event in 2021.