Published February 8, 2023

We are honored to announce that our fifth annual Carol Troxell Reader is Meghan O’Rourke. O’Rourke is a New York Times bestselling author, poet, editor, and podcaster whose work often tackles challenging subjects such as chronic illness and grief. Her new book The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness blends an account of her own medical journey with a broad view of the history and current state of long-term maladies.

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 Carol Troxell Reader. Special thanks to New Dominion Bookshop, the Carol Troxell Fund, and its donors.

Meghan O’Rourke will speak at New Dominion Bookshop on Saturday, March 25th at noon.

About the Author:

Meghan O’Rourke is a writer, poet, and editor. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness (2022); the bestselling memoir The Long Goodbye (2011); and the poetry collections Sun In Days (2017), which was named a New York Times Best Poetry Book of the Year; Once (2011); and Halflife (2007), which was a finalist for the Patterson Poetry Prize and Britain’s Forward First Book Prize. 

O’Rourke is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Radcliffe Fellowship, a Whiting Nonfiction Award, the May Sarton Poetry Prize, the Union League Prize for Poetry from the Poetry Foundation, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, and two Pushcart Prizes.

Currently the editor of The Yale Review, she began her career as a fiction and nonfiction editor at The New Yorker. Since then, she has served as culture editor and literary critic for Slate as well as poetry editor and advisory editor for The Paris Review. Her essays, criticism, and poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Slate, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, and Best American Poetry, among others. She is a graduate of Yale University, where she also teaches. 

About the Book:

“Meghan O’Rourke has written a call to arms in the fight for compassionate healthcare. The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness is both an examination of what ails medicine and a manifesto. [It’s] a medical detective story with the drama and style of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. O’Rourke’s book has ignited a necessary conversation, proving the pen to be as mighty as the stethoscope. ” 
—Hamilton Cain, Oprah Daily 

“Meghan O’Rourke’s book is a searing and thoroughly researched exploration of the pain and confusion that many of them go through in their quest to have their health issues taken seriously by the medical establishment—and, often, the world at large.” 

“O’Rourke’s book has ignited a necessary conversation, proving the pen to be as mighty as the stethoscope.”  —Oprah Magazine

“An affecting portrayal of how we view disease, experience illness, and search for healing.”  —Tony Miksanek, Booklist

Previous selections for the Carol Troxell Reader in the Virginia Festival of the Book include Dr. Imani Perry (author of South to America, 2022), 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.

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