Announcing 2020 Headliners and Line-Up

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We are so pleased to announce that the 2020 Festival will feature the following headliners, representing some of today’s most beloved and respected writers across genres:

  • Jonathan Eig, author of Ali: A Life, has written five books, three of them New York Times bestsellers. He was born in Brooklyn and graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. A former staff writer for The Wall Street Journal, Eig has also written for The New York Times, The New Yorker online, and The Washington Post, among other publications. His first book, Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig, won the Casey Award for best baseball book of the year. Ali was named winner of PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sportswriting. Eig will speak at the 2020 Read & Lead Lunch on March 18, 2020, at the Omni Hotel Charlottesville. Tickets to this program will be available for purchase beginning November 15 at 12:00 PM on VaBook.org.
  • Vashti Harrison, author of Little Legends, earned her MFA in film/video from CalArts and her BA from the University of Virginia. Her experimental films and documentaries have shown around the world at film festivals. After a brief stint in television as a production coordinator, she is now a freelance graphic designer and a picture-book illustrator. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. Harrison will speak at two multi-school assemblies for public and private elementary school students on March 19, 2020, at the St. Anne’s Belfield-School Convocation Center.
  • Ian Rankin, author of In A House of Lies and dozens of other bestselling novels in the John Rebus series and others, has received the Chandler-Fulbright Award; four [British] Crime Writers’ Association Dagger Awards, including the prestigious Diamond Dagger; the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award, Denmark’s Palle Rosenkrantz prize, the French Grand Prix du Roman Nor; and Germany’s Deutscher Krimipreis. Rankin has received an OBE for services to literature, in addition to a number of honorary university degrees. Rankin will speak at the 2020 Crime Wave Brunch on March 21, 2020, at the Omni Hotel Charlottesville. Tickets to this program will be available for purchase beginning November 15 at 12:00 PM on VaBook.org.
  • Jacqueline Woodson, author of Red at the Bone, is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. She received the 2018 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award and the 2018 Children’s Literature Legacy Award, and is the 2014 National Book Award Winner for her New York Times bestselling memoir Brown Girl Dreaming, which was also a recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor, the NAACP Image Award and a Sibert Honor. She is the author of more than two dozen award-winning books; among her many accolades, she is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a four-time National Book Award finalist, and a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York. Woodson will speak at the 2020 Literary Luncheon on March 19, 2020, at the Omni Hotel Charlottesville. Tickets to this program will be available for purchase beginning November 15 at 12:00 PM on VaBook.org.

In addition to announcing these headlining authors, the Festival also announced the line-up of speakers for the 2020 Festival, including some of today’s most beloved writers, illustrators, and publishing professionals. More will be announced in the coming months. CLICK HERE to browse the line-up.