Published March 17, 2022

Authors Jan Beatty (American Bastard: A Memoir), Taylor Harris (This Boy We Made: A Memoir of Motherhood, Genetics, and Facing the Unknown), and Julietta Singh (The Breaks: An Essay) offer lyrical explorations into how we build families, links between identity and blood history, and parenting through unknown futures. In conversation with Elizabeth Birdsall.

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“I don’t think I’ve ever read a book like this one. I hadn’t known some live haunted by their own blood ghosts. It will be medicine for those wounded by their own births and illuminating for anyone who thought they understood notions of home and kin. It’s as if Beatty’s lived homesick for herself. American Bastard is as brutal and beautiful as Beatty’s poetry. A surgery of the self. Precise and invasive, exploratory and celebratory, debilitating and transformational.” ―Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street and A House of My Own: Stories from My Life

“”[A] stunning debut . . . Heartfelt and raw . . . Out of that uncertainty grew a love and calmness that Harris couldn’t have foreseen, and a story of acceptance that mesmerizes with its vulnerability . . . This is astounding.”” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review

“In a kind of spiritual successor to the genre-defying No Archive Will Restore You, Singh reveals the most intimate details of her life and politics. . . . She exquisitely links theory and poetics to her own fears, insecurities, and certainty that one day her child will need to break away from her. This is a stunning work.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review


Virginia Festival of the Book staff, volunteers, partners, and attendees appreciate all of our sponsors. It is their crucial support, along with individual donors, that allows us to present the 2022 Virginia Festival of the Book almost completely free of charge. We appreciate the generous commitment from our Premier Sponsor, The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, and these major sponsors: Michelle and David Baldacci, Dominion Energy, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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We appreciate the support of our community partner for helping share information about this event: UVA LGBT Committee for Faculty and Staff

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With generous support from Michelle and David Baldacci

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