Authors Ross Gay (The Book of Delights) and Aimee Nezhukumatathil (World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments) discuss their new books, collected essays devoted to their appreciation of ordinary wonders of the world, rendering them extraordinary. Through short, lyrical essays, Gay and Nezhukumatathil fully explore their own places in the world and share what we can gain from being open to its joy and beauty.

As part of the all-virtual 2021 Virginia Festival of the Book, this event is FREE to attend and open to the public. To attend, please register below or simply make plans to watch on The video recording from this event will also be available to watch after the event concludes, on

This event will include live-captioning.

Thanks to our booksellers for this event, M. Revak & Company and Barnes & Noble.

“The delights [Gay] extols here (music, laughter, generosity, poetry, lots of nature) are bulwarks against casual cruelties. As such they feel purposeful and imperative as well as contagious in their joy.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Ross Gay’s poems are little celebrations of joy, and this book of mini-essays—each centering around a particular ‘delight,’ from sleeping in your clothes to planting tomato seedlings to the nod of greeting between the only two black people in a room—is a pure balm for your soul. Savor one at a time every morning, this summer, or wolf them all down en masse on a gorgeous sunny day.” —Celeste Ng, author ofLittle Fires Everywhere

“From its gorgeous illustrations to its unusual combination of lyrical nature writing and memoir, World of Wonders is hands-down one of the most beautiful books of the year.” ―NPR, “Best Books of 2020”

“”Within two pages, nature writing feels different and fresh and new. Nezhukumatathil has written a timely story about love, identity and belonging… We are losing the language and the ability to see and understand the wondrous things around us. And our lives are impoverished by this process… This book demands we find the eyes to see and the heart to love such things once more. It is a very fine book indeed, truly full of wonder.” ―New York Times Book Review


Thanks to Westminster-Canterbury of the Blue Ridge for their support of this program.

Community Partners

Thanks to our community partners for sharing information about this event: The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative, Fall for the Book, Montclair Literary Festival, The Muse Writers Center, Piedmont Environmental Council, Wild Virginia


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