National Book Critics Circle Presents: Outstanding Writing

Join National Book Critics Circle board members Tess Taylor and Marion Winik as they discuss the NBCC’s work in support of reading, criticism, and literature. Taylor and Winik will be joined by NBCC Literary Award-recognized author Nicole Chung (All You Can Ever Know). The only national literary awards chosen by critics themselves, the 2018 NBCC award longlist is announced in January, and awarded the week before the Festival. FREE to attend and open to the public.

Please note that Central JMRL Library will open early, at 12:30pm, for this program. 

Why should you attend?

How do book critics work? How do they select which titles to review, from the hundreds of thousands of books published each year? Where can their book reviews be found? And how do they select the top books for the year? Learn more about the critics’ work, and explore the written work of an NBCC award-recognized author.

Friday Black: A Conversation with Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah and Ron Charles

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Friday Black) discusses his highly-acclaimed collection of short stories with Ron Charles, book critic and feature writer at The Washington Post. Readings from the work will be interspersed throughout the conversation. Book sales and signing will follow. FREE to attend and open to the public.

Watch this book talk live on Facebook »

Why should you attend?

“I can’t remember the last book that has moved, unsettled, inspired me the way Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s Friday Black did. From challenging the reader’s unconscious biases through a narrator who rates his ‘Blackness’ on a 1-10 scale, to creating a semi-speculative thought experiment in which racism is treated as a cultural pastime, these are stories in which the satirical humor cuts as deep as its gritty violence.”—Lauren Christensen, The New York Times

“An unbelievable debut, one that announces a new and necessary American voice.”—Tommy Orange, New York Times Book Review

“An excitement and a wonder: strange, crazed, urgent and funny.”—George Saunders

“Dark and captivating and essential… A call to arms and a condemnation… Read this book.”—Roxane Gay

“For literature to bring forth such an astonishing new voice as Nana K. Adjei-Brenyah’s—tender and furious, wise and wise-assed—marks a major leap forward for us all… This is the fiction debut of the year, and I can’t cheer it loudly enough. Bravo, young man. We await your encore.”—Mary Karr

Friday Black was named one of 2018’s Best Books by: 
New York Times, TIME, Elle, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, Guardian, BuzzFeed, Newsweek, Harper’s Bazaar, Nylon, Boston Globe, Southern Living, O, the Oprah Magazine,Chicago Tribune, The Verge, The Root,Vulture, Philadelphia Inquirer, The Millions, New York Observer, Literary HubColor Lines,PopSugar, PEN America, The Rumpus, BookPageSt. Louis Post-Dispatch, the CBC, Longreads, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Library Journal, The Big Issue, Chicago Public Library, My Domaine, Locus Magazine,Bookish, Read It Forward,  Entropy Magazine, WAMC, Hudson Booksellers, and The Seattle Review of Books

 

An Afternoon with the National Book Awards: Leslie Connor, Rebecca Makkai, Diana Khoi Nguyen, and Sarah Smarsh

Join the National Book Foundation at Virginia Festival of the Book for readings from this year’s National Book Award finalists in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and youth, including Leslie Connor (The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle), Rebecca Makkai (The Great Believers), Diana Khoi Nguyen (Ghost Of), and Sarah Smarsh (Heartland). Lisa Lucas, executive director of the National Book Foundation, will host the reading and discussion. FREE to attend and open to the public.

Watch this book talk live on Facebook »

Why should you attend?

“In this sensitively written novel, Connor introduces a learning-disabled 12-year-old who will warm readers’ hearts and earn their respect with his honesty and compassion. Poignant and suspenseful, Mason’s story crystalizes an adolescent boy’s joys and fears as he comes into his own.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Rebecca Makkai’s The Great Believers is a page turner… among the first novels to chronicle the AIDS epidemic from its initial outbreak to the present—among the first to convey the terrors and tragedies of the epidemic’s early years as well as its course and repercussions…An absorbing and emotionally riveting story about what it’s like to live during times of crisis.” The New York Times Book Review

Ghost Of by Diana Khoi Nguyen wrestles with what remains in the wake of a death in the family. Nguyen’s work is neither an exorcism nor an unhaunting, but a mourning song that reaches across time, space, and distance toward loved ones, ancestors, and strangers.” —Alex Crowley, Publishers Weekly

Heartland is [Smarsh’s] map of home, drawn with loving hands and tender words. This is the nation’s class divide brought into sharp relief through personal history … Heartland is a thoughtful, big-hearted tale … Heartland is a welcome interruption in the national silence that hangs over the lives of the poor and a repudiation of the culture of shame that swamps people who deserve better.” —Washington Post

 

EXHIBIT: Mineko Yoshida: Titania’s Fairies

Presented by New City Arts, this exhibition of paintings by Mineko Yoshida is named “Titania’s Fairies” after the magical beings in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. They were painted between 2015 and 2016.

Mineko Yoshida is a Japanese-born, American-educated painter. She graduated from Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and attended New York School of Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture. Her work is greatly influenced by traditional Japanese Calligraphy, which she learned from age 7 to 19. She has exhibited in US, Canada, Europe, and Japan, and her work is featured in private collections internationally. She exhibits annually at National Artists’ Exhibition at A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn, New York.

Artist’s Statement: As I worked on the paintings the figures began to remind me of the fairies that attend to the character Titania. Since my work is influenced by my study of classic Japanese Calligraphy, I was inspired to construct figures like I used to draw. I endowed each composition in a contrasting setting of background, balance, color, and spacing. One can easily trace the evolution from Japanese characters to the fairies flying like fireflies on the canvas.

The exhibit will remain on display March 1 through March 29, with a First Fridays opening on March 1 from 5:00-7:30 PM, with an artist’s talk at 6:00 PM.

Gallery hours during the Festival: Wednesday, March 20, 12:00-4:00 PM; Thursday, March 21, 11:00am-4:00 PM; Friday, March 22, 12:00-4:00 PM; and Saturday, March 23, 10:00 AM-2:00 PM

Gallery hours during the rest of March: Monday-Friday, 12:00-4:00 PM

More details
Titanias Fairies in Red Garden, 36x36, oil on canvas, by Mineko Yoshida, 2016.
Titanias Fairies in Red Garden, 36×36, oil on canvas, by Mineko Yoshida, 2016.

Artwork image courtesy of the artist.

History Embodied: Public Monuments & Power—Live-stream Viewing

In response to the high level of interest in this program, join us to view the live-streamed program at the Central Branch, Jefferson-Madison Regional Library. Pre-signed books will be available for sale.

Charlottesville City Councilor Wes Bellamy (Monumental) and former Mayor of New Orleans Mitch Landrieu (In the Shadow of Statues) discuss their experiences working as elected representatives and examining the history behind and presented by public monuments in their cities. How does remembering history differ from revering it? How might more complete histories affect what a community commemorates? How can community members have a voice when public monuments cease to represent community interests?

Moderated by Gregg Kimball, co-chair of Richmond’s Monument Avenue Commission.

Live-streaming provided by WVPT WHTJ WCVE PBS.

Why should you attend?

“They came with torches, they came with swords and shields, they came with guns. They came with signs that called me the N-word, months earlier they tried to take my livelihood, break down my family, and send us all a message. It was clear THIS was deeper than a statue. My city was in the midst of a change that the world would see. This monumental shift would have ramifications felt across the world, and through my eyes, it was a fight that almost cost me everything, but it was all worth it.”—Wes Bellamy

“[Mitch Landrieu] has done something, in his speech and his book, that other politicians should emulate. He’s tried to reckon with America’s sins while offering an optimistic, big-hearted and deeply patriotic defense of cosmopolitanism as the source of American greatness.”—The New York Times

“[A] thought-provoking piece of political writing… Uncomfortable as it might be to think of our country’s history… we have to do so, if we want to live within the truth. Landrieu has shown the way.”—The Washington Post

Shelley Sackier at Community Public Charter School

Shelley Sackier (The Antidote) talks about her work with students at Community Public Charter School. Open only to students and staff of Community Public Charter School.

Robert Meganck at Cale Elementary School

Robert Meganck (Superlative Birds) talks about his work with students at Cale Elementary School. Open only to students and staff of Cale Elementary School.

Lauren Pichon at Cale Elementary School

Lauren Pichon (Messages From Maryam) talks about her work with students at Cale Elementary School. Open only to students at Cale Elementary School.

Corrine Gosling at Red Hill Elementary School

Corrine Gosling (Sherlock and the Baskerville Beast) discusses her work with students at Red Hill Elementary School. Open only to students and staff of Red Hill Elementary School.

A Special Screening of The Public

The Virginia Festival of the Book and Virginia Film Festival are pleased to present a special screening of The Public, a narrative film that explores issues of homelessness and mental illness in America and sets the drama inside one of the last bastions of democracy-in-action: the public library.

A post-screening discussion with writer, producer, director, and star Emilio Estevez, Jefferson-Madison Regional Library director David Plunkett, Cyndi Richardson from On Our Own, and Herb Dickerson from The Haven will be moderated by The Washington Post chief film critic Ann Hornaday. After the discussion, Hornaday will sign copies of her book, Talking Pictures: How to Watch Movies, which will be available for purchase.

This screening is generously supported by Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, The Paramount Theater, and UVA Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

Advance tickets for our screening of The Public are no longer available. Unclaimed tickets may become available at the door on the night of the screening.

Here are the details:

  • We will begin to sell unclaimed tickets to patrons waiting in a standby line at 10 minutes before the screening begins, or 6:50 PM on Friday, March 22.
  • Please know that we do not have control over when the standby line will begin to form and therefore cannot advise patrons on an arrival time to join or form the line.
  • Saving of places in the standby line is not permitted.
  • A max of four tickets per person will be sold.

Why should you attend?

As an unusually bitter Arctic blast makes its way to downtown Cincinnati, a group of homeless library patrons find themselves at odds with library officials over how to handle the extreme weather event. The patrons, led by Jackson (Michael K. Williams), decide to turn the building into a shelter for the night by staging a sit in, and librarians Stuart (Emilio Estevez) and Myra (Jena Malone) are thrown into the middle of the action. What begins as an act of civil disobedience quickly becomes a standoff with police while the media look to sensationalize the truth.

This uplifting story explores issues of homelessness and mental illness in America and sets the drama inside one of the last bastions of democracy-in-action: the public library. Emilio Estevez wrote, directed, produced, and stars in The Public alongside an all-star cast featuring Alec Baldwin, Jena Malone, Christian Slater, Jeffrey Wright, Taylor Schilling, Michael K. Williams, and Gabrielle Union.

CLICK HERE to view the film trailer.

10:00 AM

Coloring Outside the Lines: Explorations in Text and Pattern

Thu. March 21, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Location:

UVa Harrison Institute / Small Special Collections

UVa Central Grounds, 160 McCormick Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22904

Jane Alison (Meander, Spiral, Explode: Design and Pattern in Narrative) and Lois Farfel Stark (The Telling Image: Shapes of Changing Times) explore the joys of breaking the bounds of their chosen media, the narrative and the image, to challenge our conventional understandings of history, art and form.

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Tags: Arts, Environment / Science, Publishing / Books / Writing

Generals Behaving Badly: Benedict Arnold, Robert E. Lee, and Anthony Wayne

Thu. March 21, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Location:

City Council Chambers

605 E Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Joyce Malcolm (The Tragedy of Benedict Arnold: An American Life), John Reeves (The Lost Indictment of Robert E. Lee: The Forgotten Case Against an American Icon) and Mary Stockwell (Unlikely General: “Mad” Anthony Wayne and the Battle for America) discuss three of the most controversial military leaders from the first American century.

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Tags: Biography / Memoir, Current Affairs / World Affairs / War, History, Nonfiction

11:00 AM

Red Truck Bakery Cookbook Demo with Brian Noyes

Thu. March 21, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Location:

Williams Sonoma at Stonefield

2030 Bond Street, Suite 180, Charlottesville, VA 22901

Brian Noyes (Red Truck Bakery Cookbook) leads a demonstration of one of his beloved recipes while discussing his passion for cooking and how it led him to launch the Red Truck Bakery in Northern Virginia.

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Tags: Food / Beer / Wine / Travel, Nonfiction, Southern / Appalachian, Workshop / Demo

11:45 AM

12:00 PM

Leading Lives, in Bondage or Free

Thu. March 21, 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Location:

UVa Harrison Institute / Small Special Collections

UVa Central Grounds, 160 McCormick Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22904

Saidiya Hartman (Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments), DaMaris Hill (A Bound Woman is a Dangerous Thing), and Christina Proenza-Coles (American Founders) bring to life important narratives of African-American men and women, their leadership roles in our country’s development, their commitment to social justice, and the experiences of women of color “bound yet unbridled.”

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Tags: African-American, Biography / Memoir, Gender, History, Language / Culture / Folklife, Poetry, Social Justice, Southern / Appalachian

Southern Discomfort: Journalists Explore Guns and Drugs

Thu. March 21, 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Location:

City Council Chambers

605 E Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Authors and journalists Thomas Kapsidelis (After Virginia Tech: Guns, Safety, and Healing in the Era of Mass Shootings) and Pam Kelley (Money Rock: A Family’s Story of Cocaine, Race, and Ambition in the New South) discuss challenges and resilience in confrontations with violence and social disintegration in the contemporary American South.

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Tags: African-American, Asian-American, Current Affairs / World Affairs / War, Nonfiction

1:00 PM

2:00 PM

Exploring Our World and Beyond with National Geographic

Thu. March 21, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Location:

UVa Harrison Institute / Small Special Collections

UVa Central Grounds, 160 McCormick Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22904

Catherine Herbert Howell (The Splendor of Birds), Mark Thiessen (Spectacle), and James Trefil (Space Atlas) discuss the power of photography, art, graphics, and maps to illuminate the wonders of our world and beyond, as told through the pioneering lens of National Geographic.

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Tags: Arts, Environment / Science, Food / Beer / Wine / Travel, Global, Nonfiction, Sports / Outdoors / Animals

Love and Heartbreak: Mental Illness Memoirs

Thu. March 21, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Location:

Central JMRL Library - McIntire Room

201 E Market Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Charita Cole Brown (Defying the Verdict) and Zack McDermott (Gorilla and the Bird) discuss their own experiences with mental health and illness, sharing hope for ending the stigma of mental illness.

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Tags: African-American, Biography / Memoir, Family / Aging, Gender, Health / Mind / Body, Nonfiction

Land Use & Foodsheds in the Mid-Atlantic

Thu. March 21, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Location:

New Dominion Bookshop

404 E Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Pam Dawling (The Year-Round Hoophouse) and co-authors Claudia Kousoulas and Ellen Letourneau (Bread & Beauty) discuss their personal approaches to preserving, cultivating, and enjoying land responsibly in the Mid-Atlantic region.

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Tags: Environment / Science, Food / Beer / Wine / Travel, Nonfiction, Southern / Appalachian, Sports / Outdoors / Animals

Navigating Social Change: Historic Fiction

Thu. March 21, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Location:

Barnes & Noble

1035 Emmet Street North, Barracks Road Shopping Center, Charlottesville, VA 22903

A.D. Hopkins (The Boys Who Woke Up Early), Anna Jean Mayhew (Tomorrow’s Bread), and Elaine Neil Orr (Swimming Between Worlds) discuss their powerful stories from the American South in the 1950s and 1960s, featuring well-drawn characters growing up and working through tremendous social changes.

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Tags: African-American, Book Club Picks, Fiction, History, Southern / Appalachian

3:30 PM

Chesapeake Requiem: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island

Thu. March 21, 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Location:

UVa Clark Hall - Room 108

UVa Central Grounds, 291 McCormick Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22903

Author and journalist Earl Swift (Chesapeake Requiem: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island) will read from his latest work and discuss the history of, and contemporary stories from, the two-hundred-year-old crabbing community in the middle of Chesapeake Bay as it faces extinction. This program, an Environmental Sciences graduate seminar, is open to the public.

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Tags: Current Affairs / World Affairs / War, Environment / Science, Nonfiction, Southern / Appalachian

4:00 PM

Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. Printing Workshop #2

Thu. March 21, 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Location:

Virginia Center for the Book

233 4th St NW, Charlottesville, VA 22903 (located in the Jefferson School City Center)

Printmaker Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. (2019 Frank Riccio Artist-in-Residence) will lead a printing workshop in the letterpress studio at the Virginia Center for the Book, as part of an intergenerational project that celebrates words of wisdom shared by diverse residents of Charlottesville and Albemarle County.

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Tags: African-American, Arts, Workshop / Demo

Laughing at the Devil—An Invitation to Look at Evil Through the Eyes of a Medieval Visionary

Thu. March 21, 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Location:

UVa Harrison Institute / Small Special Collections

UVa Central Grounds, 160 McCormick Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22904

Amy Laura Hall (Laughing at the Devil) will discuss ways the writings of Julian of Norwich, a medieval anchorite and visionary, encourage contemporary readers to look evil in the eye—evil such as war, torture, racial terror, sexual violence—and consider ways such trauma might be transformed into hope and resistance.

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Tags: Spirituality / Religion

5:30 PM

6:00 PM

Southern Blues and Folklife Rekindled: Voices of Mississippi

Thu. March 21, 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Location:

Jefferson School African American Heritage Center

233 4th St NW, Charlottesville, VA 22903

Scott Barretta, William Ferris, and Tom Rankin discuss their collaborative effort in creating Voices of Mississippi, the life’s work of Ferris, an audio recordist, filmmaker, folklorist, and teacher with an unwavering commitment to establish and to expand the study of the American South.

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Tags: African-American, Arts, Folklife, History, Language / Culture / Folklife, Music, Nonfiction, Southern / Appalachian

8:00 PM

All of Our Rights: America’s Legacy of Inequality

Thu. March 21, 8:00 PM - 9:30 PM

Location:

Paramount Theater

215 E Main Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Carol Anderson (One Person, No Vote), Michael Eric Dyson (What Truth Sounds Like), and Martha S. Jones (Birthright Citizens) discuss their award-winning works focused on American rights, racism, and resistance.

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Tags: African-American, Current Affairs / World Affairs / War, Headliners, History, Language / Culture / Folklife, Law / Supreme Court, Nonfiction, Social Justice