Published March 20, 2022

Authors Ralph Eubanks (A Place Like Mississippi), Jocelyn Nicole Johnson (My Monticello), and Imani Perry (South to America) take center stage at this Festival headliner event to discuss the storied fact and fiction of the American South. The famed storytellers of Mississippi, short stories of the near future in central Virginia, and an historian’s travelogue of the southern states together provide a multigenre exploration of the region and what it means to belong to this place. Moderated by Justin G. Reid.

Thanks to our bookseller for this event, New Dominion Bookshop.

“Ralph Eubanks’ A Place Like Mississippi is the book all of us Mississippi writers, dead and alive, need to read. It is indeed a strange but glorious sensation to see your literary and geographic lineage so beautifully and rigorously explored and valued as it’s still being created. A Place Like Mississippi is further proof that while Mississippi is 50th in many things, when it comes to riveting, textured, literary art, we one of one, as is the genius of Ralph Eubanks.”—Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: An American Memoir

“Jocelyn Nicole Johnson uses history to spectacular effect…. The storytelling is propulsive, as we follow these refugees along a harrowing journey, with danger ever at their heels. My Monticello is, quite simply, an extraordinary debut from a gifted writer with an unflinching view of history and what may come of it.”―The Washington Post

“[South to America is 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, New York Times bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns and Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents


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.

Learning Experience

The Birth of Public Education in Four Rural Virginia Counties

Who (person or group) had the most salient impact (local, state or national) on Virginia Public Education?

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With generous support from Michelle and David Baldacci

Cornell NEH Charlottesville Albemarle UVA CHO