In an effort to keep our attendees, speakers, volunteers, and staff members safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Virginia Festival of the Book and all participants will be expected to follow the following guidelines:

  • We highly recommend masking at indoor Festival events, and will abide by the location-specific rules of venues that require masks.
  • Event-specific details can be found on individual event and venue pages. The Festival will take appropriate precautions within the defined protocols of each venue.
  • We will provide all in-person speakers with COVID rapid tests to self-administer on the day of their event; only those who test negative will be allowed to take the stage. Speakers may choose to not wear a mask during their event, as they feel comfortable.
  • We will continue to monitor state and CDC recommendations, and will adapt these guidelines as needed.


As a program of Virginia Humanities and the University of Virginia, the Virginia Festival of the Book values disability within the spectrum of human diversity and is committed to providing an environment where individuals with disabilities can be their full selves and thrive. Our goal is to make Festival programming as inclusive as possible. We provide live captioning for the majority of our virtual events, with captions and transcripts available with on-demand video of events after they conclude. 

Should you require accessibility accommodations please contact or call (434) 924-3296 by March 1.

Virtual Events

By registering for and taking part in virtual Festival events (Shelf Life events and/or Virginia Festival of the Book events in March), speakers and attendees agree to be respectful to one another and ensure that the Festival remains an inclusive and non-partisan space to celebrate books, reading, literacy, and literary culture. Those who violate this agreement will be banned from future participation in virtual events from the Festival.


The Festival is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, religion, nationality, or political beliefs. We do not tolerate harassment of speakers, attendees, volunteers, or staff in any form. Explicitly sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any venue or program. Speakers violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the Festival without a refund at the discretion of staff.

Speakers, attendees, volunteers, exhibitors, sponsors, and staff are all subject to the anti-harassment policy. 

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, and you feel comfortable speaking with the offender, please inform the offender that they have affected you negatively. 

The Festival recognizes that there are many reasons speaking directly to the offender may not be workable for you. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking directly with the offender for any reason, seek out a Festival staff member or volunteer, or contact the following:

  • Charlottesville Police Department: 911 if an emergency, non-emergency: 434 970-3280
  • Charlottesville Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA) Hotline: 434 977-7273

Book Signings

We will provide links for book purchases during our virtual events, and we are sorry that we cannot facilitate signings. During our in-person events, books are provided by local booksellers at most events. We give priority in book signing to attendees who purchase books at the event. We ask attendees bringing previously purchased books to wait until the end to have their books signed. Occasionally (indicated on program pages), authors will not sign or inscribe books, though books will be sold.

Photography, Sound, and Video 

Photographs, sound, and video recordings of Festival events, participants, audiences, and bystanders may be used by the Virginia Festival of the Book and Virginia Humanities for publicity and promotional purposes. These are the property of the Book Festival and Virginia Humanities. Event photography is reserved for authorized media participants and sponsors; visual or audio media taken at the Festival may be used for broadcast or publication only with the permission of Virginia Humanities.


The safety of speakers, volunteers, and attendees at the Virginia Festival of the Book is our highest priority. In support of this, we occasionally implement enhanced security for the Festival, with counsel from and in partnership with the UVA Office of Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the UVA Police Department, the Charlottesville Police Department, and the Albemarle County Police Department.

The University of Virginia prohibits the possession or use of any weapon, including firearms, by anyone except on-duty or contracted law enforcement officers, while attending a University entertainment or educational activity. See generally, 8 VAC 85-20.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we work to ensure the greatest level of safety and security for our speakers, volunteers, and the general public.

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With generous support from Michelle and David Baldacci

Cornell NEH Virginia Public Media - NPR & PBS Charlottesville Albemarle UVA CHO