Following a successful year of online activities, the Pasadena Literary Alliance is looking forward to resuming in-person author discussions and other events in the coming months as the organization turns another chapter, representatives said.
The group has long run a series of panel discussions with authors called Open Book, which transitioned to an online format and became Open Book On Location in May 2020 in response to the pandemic. They produced 13 monthly videos.
“Our sort of special sauce for that program was to put together two or three authors that we thought wouldn’t have met each other before and to hear them talk to each other,” according to PLA Board of Directors Chair Katie Poole.
The PLA’s other signature annual event, the Pasadena Festival of Women Authors, was also moved online for 2021, she said.
But as restrictions gradually lift and the region sits on the verge of transitioning into the least restrictive “yellow” tier under the state’s reopening framework, and having enjoyed continued support from the community, real-life gatherings are once again on the horizon.
“We have survived COVID,” Poole said. “We have, I would say, excelled in our outreach. We’ve continued to get the author interviews and to celebrate authors. That’s what we do.”
An in-person Open Book event is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at NOOR Events in Pasadena with authors Attica Locke and Rachel Howell Hill, Poole said.
The PLA was also planning to host next year’s Pasadena Festival of Women Authors at the Pasadena Convention Center on Feb. 19.
More details on both events were to follow. It had not yet been determined whether the online Open Book On Location series would continue.
Additionally, Poole said, “We’re just so happy that we’ve been able to keep up our granting. We had to take a break last spring, but we’ll be able to do our grants this spring. And I think that that has spoken really well to our financial management, to be able to continue with our granting.”
PLA grants support community organizations including Pasadena City College, the Pasadena Senior Center, the Pasadena Public Library, PEN America and WriteGirl.
Ticketed events, such as the Open Book series and the Pasadena Festival of Women Authors, are the PLA’s primary fundraisers, Poole explained.
“We give money to a lot of different literary organizations and the way we raise the funds for that is by having ticketed events,” she said. “For 11, 12 years, we’ve averaged about $50,000 a year in grants. So when COVID came, we were challenged like every other nonprofit on how to have in-person ticketed events to raise our grant money.”
The online programs created by the PLA were available for free, but donations of $25 were suggested.
The Open Book On Location series can be accessed online at pasadenaliteraryalliance.org/open-book/open-book-on-location-episodes.
The 2021 Pasadena Festival of Women Authors can be viewed at pasadenaliteraryalliance.org/pasadena-festival-of-women-authors.