The Mississippi Book Festival announced today it has cancelled the in-person event scheduled for Saturday, August 21.

According to Holly Lange, the Festival’s Executive Director, “We are disappointed to have come so close to the finish line, but growing concern and cancellations from many of the authors and panelists scheduled to attend has led our Board of Directors to make the hard decision and forgo the in-person event. While we could have continued to wait, the trend lines were moving against us, so we all thought it best to give everyone enough notice so that schedules and travel plans could be changed.”

Lange went on to say that even though the in-person event was cancelled, the Festival plans to move as many of the author panels and conversations as they can to virtual presentations in the coming months.

“We had more than 180 authors signed up for 49 very exciting panels,” Lange said, “So our hope is to bring those authors and moderators together online in a variety of formats. We are moving forward with a renewed commitment to engage our book-loving community and continue the spirit of the festival. We encourage everyone to stay tuned for updates on our virtual package coming soon,” said Lange.

Hundreds of people work year-round to make the Mississippi Book Festival a success, and it wouldn’t be possible without the help of generous sponsors and donors from across the state.

The Community Foundation for Mississippi is this year’s presenting funder. Other top funders include the Mississippi Legislature, Visit Mississippi, The James and Madeleine McMullen Family Foundation, The Selby and Richard McRae Foundation, The Phil Hardin Foundation, Donna and Jim Barksdale, The Crooks Foundation, The Mississippi Department of Archives and History, The Mississippi Humanities Council, Trustmark National Bank, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, The University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi State University, The University of Mississippi, The National Book Foundation Literary Fund, Mike McRee, and Carol Puckett and John Palmer.

For more information, visit msbookfestival.com. You can also connect with the Mississippi Book Festival on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.