Published March 19, 2022

Victoria Chang (Dear Memory) and Kat Chow (Seeing Ghosts) share deep, personal sorrow in their recent memoirs, haunting portraits of grief, remembrance, and meaning. Their books offer close examinations of the losses that shaped them, preserved histories that help illumine generational connections, and the emotional significance of memory. In conversation with Shilpa Davé.

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“Chang’s [Dear Memory] is excavation, a digging through the muck of society for an existential clarity, a cultural clarity and a general clarity of self.” —New York Times Book Review

“[Dear Memory] is an open-ended inquiry not of a bounded life but of an ongoing present, full of longing and imperfection . . . Chang has followed language to the edge of what she knows; the question her book asks is whether language can go further still . . . Her own project is not to erase those incisions—or even, as a child might hope, to heal them—but to retrace and redescribe them. If there are wounds in the past, she seeks to live with them as scars.” —The New Yorker

“Readers familiar with Chow’s reporting on NPR will not be surprised at her storytelling skills, which shine even more brightly here. This haunting, deeply moving, and beautifully written chronicle of the immense grief that once tore Chow’s family apart and now binds them will resonate with every reader.” –Booklist, starred review

[Seeing Ghosts] reads like a memory album. . . In baring her memories and her soul, Chow reminds us why this task is so important, and how it lets us heal.” ―USA Today


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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With generous support from Michelle and David Baldacci

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