COVID THREAT CANCELS BOOKEXPO2022
For the second year in a row the Covid pandemic has caused the cancellation of the Central Florida BookExpo. Linda Lee Keenan, president of the Writers League of The Villages announced the news late on Friday.
“Due to the increase in cases of the virus in Florida, the WLOV Board has made the unanimous decision to cancel the event,” Keenan said. “It is extremely frustrating for the Board, the team coordinating the BookExpo, the over 100 authors participating, and the general public who look forward to and planned to attend the event scheduled for January 30th at Eisenhower Recreation Center.”
The origin of BookExpo dates back over a decade when a small group led by Villager Mark Newhouse put together a small book fair for local authors. It grew over the years to become a regional event with sponsorship from both the Writers League and The Villages Recreation Department. The last BookExpo in 2020 saw more than 80 authors welcome over 2,500 people to hear speakers, buy books, and hobnob with the writers from all over the state.
The 2021 BookExpo was also cancelled by the pandemic.
John Prince, who was BookExpo chair in 2021 and again in 2022, paid tribute to the BookExpo organizing team—Barbara Miller, Manijeh Badiozamani, Paula Tucker, and Bona Hayes. “They all put a huge effort and a lot of enthusiasm into the event for the past two years only to see their hard work crumble both years due to the pandemic. It was heartbreaking for them the first time around, and now it’s doubly so.”
“It’s very frustrating and sad for the many authors who had signed up for BookExpo,” Prince added. “They were hoping so much for a new beginning, and this was to have been the launch platform. They had primed themselves, attended lectures on book sales, and ordered copies of their books for the event. It’s crushing!”
Asked if BookExpo would be rescheduled Keenan said that there was some possibility. “January 30 was the ideal date—no NFL Sunday football, no other big events in The Villages, and the winter residents, the “snowbirds,” are in town. At this point we’re just trying to deal with the immediate problem.”
The authors who had registered and paid to participate will receive a full refund. Checks will be issued by early February Keenan said.