Published January 25, 2023

We’re thrilled to be able to share the first round of 2023 Virginia Festival of the Book panels with you! We’ll be announcing more authors and events in the coming weeks.

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Need to Know: World War II and the Rise of American Intelligence

Thursday, March 23 | 10:00 AM
Nicholas Reynolds

In Need to Know: World War II and the Rise of American Intelligence, historian, former CIA officer, and New York Times-bestselling author Nicholas Reynolds unlocks the history of American intelligence during World War II, exploring the birth, infancy, and adolescence of modern American intelligence. By bringing little-known history to the fore, Reynolds reveals the groundwork of twentieth-century U.S. intelligence, and its place in conflicts to come.

Presented with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Virginia. 


An Identity on the Edges with Mary Alice Hostetter

Thursday, March 23 | 2:30 PM
Mary Alice Hostetter

Part of the Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiog series, Plain: A Memoir of Mennonite Girlhood, by Mary Alice Hostetter, is the story of a woman’s journey to define an authentic self amid a rigid upbringing in a Mennonite farm family. In accepting her sexuality, she found herself apart from her faith and community, but closer to her true self.

Presented with the University of Virginia LGBT Committee. 


Unsung Women with Rosalyn Story

Thursday, March 23 | 4:00 PM
Rosalyn Story

Two musically gifted women’s lives overlap over the boundaries of time in Story’s novel Sing Her Name, by Rosalyn Story. With racism barring her way, a nineteenth-century concert artist can never achieve the place in history she deserves. Then, long after her death in poverty and obscurity, a twenty-first-century waitress, talented but musically untaught, has a chance to revive this singer’s name and reach her own success–if her family ties don’t hold her back. Presented with the African American Authors Book Club. 


Folklore and Futures with Emily Hilliard

Friday, March 24 | 2:30 PM
Emily Hilliard

A future-focused, materialist and collaborative approach to cultural work is what Emily Hillard, state folklorist of West Virginia, offers in Making our Future: Visionary Folklore and Everyday Culture in Appalachia. From diverse examples such as a teacher’s strike, a multiracial coal camp community, and the tradition of independent pro-wrestling, Hilliard paints a picture of folklore as a unifying concept that puts diverse cultural forms in conversation, one that creates a framework that helps us understand our past and shape our future. In conversation with Katy Clune, Director of the Virginia Humanities’ Folklife Program.


How to Use Tarot to Enchant Your Inner Writing Witch & Add Sorcery to Your Fiction, Poetry & Prose

Friday, March 24 | 3:30 PM
Sasha Graham

Words are magic. Language is enchantment. Writing is sorcery. Join bestselling author and tarot deck creator Sasha Graham as she teaches you how to use tarot and magical practice for all aspects of your writing journey. Tarot is storytelling and you are a supernatural creature. Use the cards to enhance the alchemy of character creation and motivation, and develop your unique writer’s voice. You can use the arcana to break negative writing habits, battle time management, and blast through writer’s block.

The workshop will culminate with a group spell and guided meditation to invoke your heart’s desire: from finishing a manuscript to landing your dream agent or manifesting the novel of your dreams. No tarot or magical experience is required and beginners are welcome.


Illustrating the Everyday

Sunday, March 26 | 11:00 AM

Registration Required

Ivy Creek Natural Area will provide the setting for this outdoor program. In The Middle of Somewhere: An Artist Explores the Nature of Virginia, Suzanne Stryk offers a contemporary interpretation of Virginia’s ecology from a visual artist’s point of view, gathered everywhere in Virginia from kayak trips through pristine swamps to wanderings through the Virginia Museum of Fine Art’s galleries, to strolling the dusty streets of old coal towns. For Arwen Donahue in Landings: A Crooked Creek Farm Year, telling the story of a farm family’s struggle to survive and thrive grapples with the legacy of our cultural divide between art and land. After the talk, join the authors for either writing prompts or a nature walk. 

Arwen Donahue (left) and Suzanne Stryk (right)

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With generous support from Michelle and David Baldacci

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