Past Events

The BookFest® Fall – October 24 and 25, 2020

The BookFest Fall 2020 blossomed from a one-day event into two fabulous days. Because of the amazing support and enthusiasm from the writing community, we added extra programming geared more toward the writer on Sunday. We had amazing participation from so many associates in the literary, entertainment, journalism, and business worlds. 

We’re proud to announce that The BookFest won two awards in 2020. A Gold Award from the MUSE Creative Awards in the Event: Festival/Carnival category, and a Silver Award from w3 for Website/Art Design.


“Being a part of The Bookfest: Fall 2020 was a great book adventure for Wade, myself and our company, JUST US BOOKS and this was one of the best online book festivals that we’ve had the honor of being a part. Not only was BOOKFEST socially and graphically appealing but it was extremely well organized and allowed for a great variety in author-reader-audience experiences and interactions. Our conversation/panel moderation with Ramunda Lark Young of Mahogany Books was a real treat for us because it incorporated a bookseller’s perspective and Ramunda guided us in speaking with passion about writing, publishing and diversity for all readers. Big ups to organizer, Desiree Duffy and Black Chateau for hosting a wonderful Book Festival!”

Cheryl and Wade Hudson, Founders JUST US BOOKS, INC. and The BookFest® Speakers

“As an author, I loved being a part of The BookFest! I really enjoyed being a panelist, it was all seamlessly organized, and I’d love to be involved again in the future.”

Lisa Morton, Six-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author and The BookFest® Speaker

“When Desiree Duffy asked me to be on a panel for BookFest, I didn’t hesitate. Desiree and her team are professionals; therefore, I had no doubt BookFest would be a success. From the fine-tuning and management of our group Zoom meeting to our mediator’s quality, everything ran as smooth as silk.

I particularly liked the weekend schedule: a day specifically focused on books and reading, followed by a day filled with author interviews and group discussions regarding the book publishing industry.

Desiree interspersed The BookFest with author readings and author chats. I thoroughly recommend The BookFest to readers, authors, and publishing professionals; I’m looking forward to next year!”

Mandy Jackson-Beverly, Author, Podcaster, Teacher and The BookFest® Speaker

The First BookFest – May 9, 2020

2020 year marked a new beginning of the digital era. As book festivals and conventions canceled because of Covid-19, an online bookish adventure – The BookFest® – was created. The goal was to create a positive and poignant online gathering for people to attend worldwide.


“LA BookFest was stunning, professional, engaging, motivating, ground-breaking, and sensational! It was a privilege to participate. I was particularly impressed by Mitch Albom, Lori H. Schwartz, and Sarah Kendzior. The event really lined up some disruptive voices, and I mean that in the Silicon Valley sense of the word! The production values were stellar, and the whole effort is on the leading edge of what’s going on. My head is still spinning!”

—Gerald Everett Jones, Host, GetPublished! Podcast, author, editor, and The BookFest® panel moderator

“Wow, I was impressed with the day you put together for LA BookFest with so many highlights! I’d love to work with you again. Congratulations on such a successful event!”

—Robin Quinn, Award-winning LA Book coach, editor and The BookFest® speaker

“A big congratulations on doing an outstanding job of accomplishing this incredible feat of a virtual book festival and pulling it off with professionalism, excitement, and amazing content. I attended most of the sessions, and what you achieved was extraordinary! I loved being part of it; it was a significant highlight of my virtual book tour. What an extraordinary festival held at an unprecedented time in our nation’s history. Because of the social isolation caused by the pandemic, we need books and art now more than ever to help us feel connected to each other. Your festival was, in short, both a cultural celebration and a public service.”

—Sue William Silverman, Award-winning author of seven books of creative nonfiction and poetry

Schedule (Pacific Time)

New for Fall 2021 – Check out the Pitching Room.

A place for authors to pitch their manuscript in an interactive virtual setting that brings the reading, writing and literary communities together.

  • Authors, submit your pitches. 
  • Agents, register to view pitches.
  • BookFesters, check out the pitches and see what authors are presenting to the literary world. 
Pacific TimeSaturday, Oct 23 – Day 1: For Readers
9:00 AM
Welcome Message from The BookFest Founder Desireé Duffy
9:15 AMOpening Keynote – Lori H. Schwartz
9:30 AMPoetry Reading by Debbie Monteggia
10:00 AM
A Conversation with Mark K. Shriver – Being an Author and Being of Service
11:00 AMKid Lit: Culture, Character and Creativity
NoonWho Put the Bomp in Your Favorite Romance Novel?
1:00 PM
Thrills, Chills and Red Herrings – Things that Make You Go “Ooo” (And Want to Read More)
2:00 PMThe Fantasist’s Forge and Mythologist’s Muse
3:00 PM
A Conversation with Helene Wecker – Blending Fantasy, Mythology, Romance and Horror
4:00 PMLive Author Chats:
4:10 PM – Helene Wecker
4:20 PM – Steven Joseph
4:30 PM – Yvonne Pepin-Wakefield
4:40 PM – Dames Handsome
4:50 PM – Mikki Hernandez
5:00 PM – Hari D. Sharma
5:10 PM – Patrick Oliver
5:20 PM – A.G. Billig
5:30 PM – Amy M. Le
5:40 PM – Al Pessin
6:00 PMEND
 Sunday, Oct 24 – Day 2: For Writers
8:30 AM
Welcome Back Message from The BookFest Founder Desireé Duffy
8:35 AM
Keynote by Kristie Anne Mah – From Sluggish to Published: Letting Go of What is Holding You Back
9:00 AM
Conversation with Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein – Dreaming a World where Everyone Experiences the Wonders of the Universe
10:00 AMBooks Out of Africa: Bookish World Tour Panel
11:00 AM
Alternative Ways to Publish: Hybrid, Self-Publishing and More
Do You Have the Write Stuff? A Frank Discussion about Being an Author Today
1:00 PMConversation with Lisa Morton – Thirty Years of Fear
2:00 PM
Critiki-Bar: Page One Manuscript Critiques (An agent and an author walk into a bar…)
4:00 PMBrave New Writer at The BookFest Adventure
6:00 PMEND
Sign Up Now

Location: TheBookFest.com

Everyone signed up for The BookFest gets a FREE virtual gift bag with discounts and offers from our partners.  Virtual gift bags emailed at the end of The BookFest.

Register and we’ll notify you of updates, how to enter bookish contests, details on the programming and more. You may unsubscribe at any time.
Presented by Black Chateau and Books That Make You.