Novelist Sadeqa Johnson discusses her latest book, Yellow Wife, the harrowing story of an enslaved woman forced to barter love and freedom while living in the most infamous slave jail in Virginia.
Middle-grade novelists Elizabeth Bunce (Premeditated Myrtle), Hena Khan (Amina’s Song), and Angie Smibert (The Truce) discuss their new stories of girls finding their voices and using their wits to solve mysteries, overcome challenges, and bring people together.
Ayad Akhtar (Homeland Elegies) discusses his latest novel, a deeply personal work about identity and belonging in a nation coming apart at the seams.
Bill Clegg (The End of the Day), Zeyn Joukhadar (The Thirty Names of Night), and Zak Salih (Let’s Get Back to the Party) discuss their new novels exploring the mysteries of self and community, from the bonds and breaking points of friendship across generations, to a closeted Syrian-American trans boy’s search for family, and childhood friends’ attempts to navigate queer culture in contemporary Washington, D.C.
John Lanchester (Reality and Other Stories) and Te-Ping Chen (Land of Big Numbers: Stories) discuss their new collections of short stories which grapple with questions of interpersonal connection, technology, ambition, and distraction, through a mixture of witty literary fiction, magical realism, and cultural criticism.
Catherine Hernandez (Crosshairs) and Jordan Ifueko (Raybearer) discuss their works of speculative fiction for YA and adult audiences, as well as their experiences as women of color writing BIPOC characters in science fiction and fantasy.
Novelists Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle (Even As We Breathe), Kelli Jo Ford (Crooked Hallelujah), and Diane Wilson (The Seed Keeper) discuss their work as indigenous writers celebrating Dakota and Cherokee cultures and traditions amid larger forces of history, religion, and class in America.
National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson discusses her new book for young readers, Before the Ever After, a stirring novel-in-verse exploring the cost of professional sports on Black bodies and the ways a family moves forward when their glory days have passed. A Q&A featuring students’ pre-submitted questions will also be included.
Explore a suggested reading list focused on the 2020 Festival’s literary fiction…