The Denman Island Readers and Writers Festival isn’t happening this summer.

With public health officials asking everyone to avoid unnecessary travel and large gatherings, organizers say they had no choice but to cancel.

The 18th annual event was scheduled to take place July 16-19.  

“As regular festival attendees know, it takes a year-round effort to put together our annual festival. As soon as one festival ends, we start planning the next one – finding authors, recruiting volunteers, arranging billets, organizing meals, raising funds, scheduling the festival program events, and all the other myriad tasks this event requires,” committee member Stewart Goodings said in a notice on the festival’s website

“To come this far, with what we felt was a great line-up of authors, well, it is a bitter disappointment for us to stop.  But clearly it is the responsible thing to do.  The health and safety of our audiences, as well as the authors, is paramount, and with so much risk involved, we decided cancellation was the only option.”

Elements of the festival could still be offered, however, thanks to the magic of technology.

There are a couple of possibilities being considered, including a virtual mini-festival showcasing short video presentations by this year’s authors.

If that happens, the plan is to add them to the festival’s website.

The festival is set to return next summer.