Partnerships with National Book Awards, National Book Critics Circle, and more!


We are thrilled to announce a series of national partnerships to present award-winning authors, thinkers, and industry leaders. Three new headlining programs will showcase some of the most acclaimed authors working in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry today, and will include new Festival headliners:

Friday Black: A Conversation with Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah and Ron Charles
Saturday, March 23, 2:00 PM at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Friday Black) discusses his highly-acclaimed collection of short stories with Ron Charles, book critic and feature writer at The Washington Post. Learn more » 

An Afternoon with the National Book Awards: Leslie Connor, Rebecca Makkai, Diana Khoi Nguyen, and Sarah Smarsh
Saturday, March 23, 4:00 PM at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center
Join the National Book Foundation at Virginia Festival of the Book for readings from this year’s National Book Award finalists in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and youth, including Leslie Connor (The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle), Rebecca Makkai (The Great Believers), Diana Khoi Nguyen (Ghost Of), and Sarah Smarsh (Heartland). Lisa Lucas, executive director of the National Book Foundation, will host the reading and discussion. Learn more » 

National Book Critics Circle Presents: Outstanding Writing
Sunday, March 24, 1:00 PM at the Central JMRL Library
Join National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) board members Tess Taylor (Work & Days) and Marion Winik (The Baltimore Book of the Dead) as they discuss the NBCC’s work in support of reading, criticism, and literature. Taylor and Winik will be joined by NBCC Literary Award-recognized author Nicole Chung (All You Can Ever Know). Learn more » 

In addition, the Festival is pleased to announce the addition of John Edgar Wideman, author of American Histories, to the 2019 line-up as a headlining speaker in the official closing program of the Festival, A World Built on Bondage: Racism and Human Diversity in Award-Winning Fiction, on Sunday, March 24 at 3:00 PM. Wideman will join Esi Edugyan (Washington Black) in a conversation on the meanings of race, violence, and freedom, as explored in their acclaimed fiction. Learn more »