Published January 10, 2022

In advance of the 2022 Festival schedule announcement later this month, we are honored to announce that acclaimed author Dr. Imani Perry will be the 2022 Carol Troxell Reader with her captivating and incisive new book, South to America: A Journey Below the Mason Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation. An Alabama native, Perry returns to the region of her upbringing in this book, crafting a narrative of the real people and places that make up what we abstractly consider the South, ultimately revealing the deep-seated truths and definitions they hold of America’s past and present.

The Carol Troxell Reader honors the memory of Carol Troxell, thirty-year owner of New Dominion Bookshop, by celebrating voracious reading. Each year, the Festival selects one author to be featured. As the 2022 Carol Troxell Reader, Dr. Perry will be featured in public programming at the 2022 Virginia Festival of the Book in March, with full schedule details available at the end of January.

“We are thrilled to announce Dr. Imani Perry as our 2022 Carol Troxell Reader and to offer this additional honor in recognition of the breadth and importance of her work. As a scholar of law, literary and cultural studies, and an author of creative nonfiction her books have reached academic and public audiences and received numerous prestigious awards. We look forward to hearing her read from South to America in March. I think Carol would be excited by this choice!”

Festival director Jane Kulow

About the author:

Imani Perry, author of South to America, is the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University where she also teaches in Gender and Sexuality Studies, Law and Public Affairs and Jazz Studies. A native of Birmingham, AL, she lives outside of Philadelphia with her sons.

About the book:

“An elegant meditation on the complexities of the American South—and thus of America—by an esteemed daughter of the South and one of the great intellectuals of our time. An inspiration.”—Isabel Wilkerson, author of Caste: The Origins of our Discontents and The Warmth of Other Suns

“[Perry] melds memoir, travel narrative, and history in an intimate, penetrating journey through the South… A graceful, finely crafted examination of America’s racial, cultural, and political identity. Perry always delivers.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“In South to America, Perry shows readers that there is no one archetype of the American South, as she considers everything from immigrant communities to the legacy of slavery to her own ancestral roots.”—Time

Previous selections for the Carol Troxell Reader in the Virginia Festival of the Book include Cara Black (author of Three Hours in Paris, 2020-2021), Jarrett Krosoczka (author of Hey, Kiddo, 2019), and Lisa Ko (author of The Leavers, 2018).

If you would like to make a gift to support this programming, now and in the future, please visit and designate the Carol Troxell Fund.

Partners & Sponsors  |  View All

With generous support from Michelle and David Baldacci

Cornell NEH Virginia Public Media - NPR & PBS Charlottesville Albemarle UVA CHO