Published March 9, 2021

Join the 2021 Festival in exploring work that celebrates and embraces inclusive storytelling and diverse voices in literature. The following events encompass nonfiction, memoirs, science fiction, children’s literature, and other genres and reading interests. Keep reading for some suggestions of events focused on identity, selfhood, and belonging…

Acts of Exclusion: A Conversation with Tiffany Jana

March 15, 12 PM-1 PM: Artist, author, and consultant Tiffany Jana (Subtle Acts of Exclusion: How to Understand, Identify, and Stop Microaggressions) discusses their work and newest book, a practical handbook that helps individuals and organizations recognize and prevent micro aggressions so that all employees and members can feel a sense of belonging. In conversation with Kaki Dimock.

Finding Home: Memoirs

March 19, 7 PM-7:45 PM: Authors Louis Chude-Sokei (Floating in a Most Peculiar Way) and Nadia Owusu (Aftershocks) discuss their memoirs, extraordinary stories that trace the authors’ lives through entangled relationships with loved ones across landscapes and cultures in Africa and America. Each author has worked to build and recognize their own identities, writing their own stories to determine where they belong and what belonging even means for a member of the African diaspora in America.

BIPOC Voices in Speculative Fiction

March 21, 4 PM-4:45 PM: Catherine Hernandez (Crosshairs) and Jordan Ifueko (Raybearer) discuss their works of speculative fiction for YA and adult audiences, as well as their experiences as women of color writing BIPOC characters in science fiction and fantasy.

Indigenous Poetry: Language as a Map Home

March 21, 7 PM-7:45 PM: Virginia Poet Laureate Luisa A. Igloria (Maps for Migrants and Ghosts) and Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley (Dēmos: An American Multitude) read from and discuss their work exploring how language serves as a key and a map to the places and people that have been lost. Weaving together personal and family histories—from Igloria’s childhood in the Philippines to Kingsley’s intersection of Onondaga, Japanese, Cuban, and Appalachian cultures—these poets document the transformative promise and simultaneous intolerance of American society.

Being Heumann: with Judith Heumann

March 23, 7 PM-8 PM: Advocate and author Judith Heumann (Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist) discusses her book and her life’s work in conversation with John Wodatch. Through Being Heumann, one of the most influential disability rights activists in U.S. history tells her personal story of fighting for the right to receive an education, have a job, and just be human.

I See Myself: Diversity in Children’s Literature

March 25, 4 PM-5 PM: Angela Dominguez (Stella Díaz Dreams Big), Vashti Harrison (Little Dreamers), and Dub Leffler (Once There Was a Boy) discuss the importance of diversity in children’s literature and how their past and current projects embrace inclusive storytelling, from stories that highlight Mexican-American childhood and include Spanish vocabulary, to books that celebrate Black leaders and engage with Indigenous Australian identity and history.

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