SOKY Book Fest Canceled Amid Coronavirus Fears

By Emilee Arnold, Reporter

This year’s annual Southern Kentucky Book Fest, previously scheduled to take place on March 22, has been canceled amid fears that the novel coronavirus could spread to Warren County.

The festival’s official Instagram account released a statement Wednesday afternoon announcing the cancellation. Both the childrens’ and teens’ days have been canceled, as well as the Kentucky Writer’s Conference.

“After meeting with our wonderful and generous partners and discussing recent advisories from the CDC, as well as state and local guidance, we have decided that this is the safest course of action for our community and authors,” the festival said in the statement. “We are so sorry that we had to make this call. Literacy will live on…We wanted to thank everyone who has donated to Book Fest and helped with the Used Book Sale so that we can make that possible, and we have already begun working to bring this event back to our community next year.”

A number of authors from around the country were scheduled to attend, including Holes author Louis Sachar and The Story That Cannot Be Told author J. Kasper Kramer. The festival is normally attended by thousands of people every year, the majority of whom are children from local schools. While children are much less susceptible to severe complications from coronavirus, the primary reason for making the decision to close was the potential spread of the virus from attending children to family members with compromised immune systems.

Despite the decision to cancel, the Book Fest is continuing to distribute books to schools. Teachers whose classes were scheduled to attend the event can still receive book shipments by contacting the festival’s organizers.