The 2020 Tucson Festival of Books has been canceled due to concerns about the new coronavirus. In a statement on March 9, festival organizers said that more than 100 authors had canceled scheduled appearances for the upcoming March 14-15 festival.
The announcement comes after organizers initially planned to continue with the festival as a “touch free” event, in which authors and attendees avoided physical contact. The plan would have scaled back certain events, especially in children’s programming. However, it became clearer in recent days that other aspects of organizing the festival were also going to be impacted by the coronavirus, including volunteer turnout. Author cancellations ultimately persuaded organizers to shutter the event for this year.
“We realize that this change in course is significant to the Tucson community, our financial supporters, exhibitors, food vendors, and other partners,” said the organizers, who asked for support as they work through any issues relating to the cancellation in the coming weeks. Organizers intend to reprise the festival in 2021.
Held on the campus of the University of Arizona, the Tucson Festival of Books drew 135,000 attendees last year. The annual event has raised $2 million for literacy initiatives since its inception in 2009.