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.

9:00 AM

2019 Publishing Day Lit Fair

Sat. March 23, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Location:

Omni Hotel - Atrium

212 Ridge McIntire Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903

Visit the Omni Atrium to explore the 2019 Lit Fair, featuring literary magazines, university presses and small publishers, and writing resources with books and book-related items for purchase.

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Tags: Publishing / Books / Writing

10:00 AM

Complicated Lives in the Civil Rights Era

Sat. March 23, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Location:

Jefferson School African American Heritage Center

233 4th St NW, Charlottesville, VA 22903

Historians Raymond Arsenault (Arthur Ashe: A Life), Frye Gaillard (A Hard Rain), and Preston Lauterbach (Bluff City), through biography, personal history, and a little-known story, examine multiple views of lives and stories of a critical time in American history.

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Tags: African-American, Biography / Memoir, Book Club Picks, History, Nonfiction

24th Annual Kids’ Book Swap

Sat. March 23, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Location:

Central JMRL Library - Children's Room

201 E Market Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Bring your gently used children’s books and trade for new-to-you books! We’ll start with fifty boxes of books in the morning and will keep swapping until lunchtime. It’s free and it’s fun! (Sorry, no magazines or grown-up books.)

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Tags: StoryFest / Youth

Hate / Speech: Confronting Discrimination with Free Expression

Sat. March 23, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Location:

City Council Chambers

605 E Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Editor Arjun Sethi (American Hate: Survivors Speak Out) and author Nadine Strossen (Hate: Why We Should Resist it With Free Speech, Not Censorship) discuss discrimination, hate, and free speech in America, identifying ways to counteract vitriol and work toward reconciliation.

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Tags: African-American, American Indian, Asian-American, Current Affairs / World Affairs / War, Language / Culture / Folklife, Latinx, Law / Supreme Court, LGBTQ, Nonfiction, Social Justice

American Odysseys: Loss and (Re-)Discovery

Sat. March 23, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Location:

New Dominion Bookshop

404 E Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Authors Cathryn Hankla (Lost Places: On Losing and Finding Home) and Marion Winik (The Baltimore Book of the Dead) discuss their heroines’ journeys of leaving, wandering, and finally returning and discovering with new eyes their places of origin with their ever so curious inhabitants.

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Tags: Biography / Memoir, Nonfiction

Resilient Lives in Fiction

Sat. March 23, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Location:

Central JMRL Library - McIntire Room

201 E Market Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Authors Eugenia Kim (The Kinship of Secrets), Tatjana Soli (The Removes) and Mathangi Subramanian (A People’s History of Heaven) discuss heartbreaking subjects that explore the ability to survive hardship and struggle.

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Tags: Asian-American, Fiction

10:30 AM

12:00 PM

Extraordinary Lives in Group Portraits

Sat. March 23, 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Location:

City Council Chambers

605 E Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Authors Deborah Baker (The Last Englishmen), Catherine Kerrison (Jefferson’s Daughters) and Caroline Weber (Proust’s Duchess) discuss their respective subjects, all fascinating in their own right and important within the context of their times, and why their lives continue to interest us today.

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Tags: African-American, Biography / Memoir, History, Nonfiction

Short Stories, Long on Meaning

Sat. March 23, 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Location:

New Dominion Bookshop

404 E Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Friday Black), Karen Bender (The New Order), and Chaya Bhuvaneswar (White Dancing Elephants) discuss their powerful collections of short stories, ranging from the lyrical and meditative to the bizarre and darkly dystopian.

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Tags: African-American, Asian-American, Book Club Picks, Family / Aging, Fiction, Gender, Language / Culture / Folklife, Science Fiction / Fantasy

Looking for Crime (or Not!)

Sat. March 23, 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Location:

Omni Hotel - Monroe

212 Ridge McIntire Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903

Crime Wave novelists William Boyle (A Friend is a Gift You Give Yourself), Kellye Garrett (Hollywood Ending), Thomas Kies (Darkness Lane), and Erica Wright (The Blue Kingfisher) share their newest titles, featuring the adventures of those exploring—or avoiding—crime. Step into action with captivating characters, good or bad.

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Tags: Crime Wave

Historical Fiction: A Woman’s Vantage Point

Sat. March 23, 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Location:

Central JMRL Library - McIntire Room

201 E Market Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Authors Marie Benedict (The Only Woman in the Room), Carrie Callaghan (A Light of Her Own) and Ariel Lawhon (I Was Anastasia) bring life to historical figures in a blending of fiction and creativity in stories of Hedy Lamarr, Judith Leyster and Anastasia Romanov.

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Tags: Arts, Fiction

Latinx Fiction for Young Readers

Sat. March 23, 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Location:

Village School

215 E High Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Hilda Eunice Burgos (Ana María Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle), Angela Dominguez (Stella Diaz Has Something to Say), Mia García (The Resolutions), and K.K. Pérez (The Tesla Legacy) discuss their books and the importance of Latinx fiction for young readers.

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Tags: Fiction, Language / Culture / Folklife, Latinx, StoryFest / Youth

Segregation to Civil Rights: America’s Journey

Sat. March 23, 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Location:

Jefferson School African American Heritage Center

233 4th St NW, Charlottesville, VA 22903

Richard Gergel (Unexampled Courage: The Blinding of Sgt. Isaac Woodard and the Awakening of President Harry S. Truman and Judge J. Waties Waring) and Steve Luxenberg (Separate: The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation) discuss the historical backgrounds for groundbreaking court rulings that both denied and ignited civil rights for African-Americans in the United States. UVA Law School Dean Risa Goluboff moderates.

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Tags: African-American, Law / Supreme Court, Nonfiction, Social Justice

2:00 PM

Terrorists: Psychology, Ideology and Circumstance

Sat. March 23, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Location:

City Council Chambers

605 E Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Prudence Bushnell (Terrorism, Betrayal, and Resilience: My Story of the 1998 U.S. Embassy Bombings) and Farhana Qazi (Invisible Martyrs: Inside the Secret World of Female Islamic Radicals) probe the catalysts, thoughts and situations motivating terrorists in the Middle East and Africa, and failures of the U.S. national security community to understand these.

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

So Many Ways to Die

Sat. March 23, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Location:

Omni Hotel - Ballroom C

212 Ridge McIntire Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903

Crime Wave novelists V.M. Burns (The Novel Art of Murder), Mary Burton (Cut and Run), Ed Lin (99 Ways to Die), and Wendy Tyson (Rooted in Deceit) discuss their newest titles, with settings ranging from the garden to the bookstore to the Taipei Night Market and the Texan landscape, offering well-written, compelling stories that engage readers from the first page.

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Tags: Crime Wave

Storytime Marathon

Sat. March 23, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Location:

Central JMRL Library - Children's Room

201 E Market Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902

A selection of beloved children’s authors and illustrators take turns reading from their books, interspersed with short activities for children ages 3-6. Parents are welcome to join in as well, and drop-ins are encouraged at this informal program.

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Tags: StoryFest / Youth

Waiting for Deliverance: Fiction

Sat. March 23, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Location:

Central JMRL Library - McIntire Room

201 E Market Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Authors Elliot Ackerman (Waiting for Eden) and Katherine Weber (Still Life With Monkey) read from their haunting novels in which multiple, unforgettable characters face complicated challenges of life and love.

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Tags: Fiction

Lost Lives; Thrilling Stories

Sat. March 23, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Location:

Omni Hotel - Ballroom B

212 Ridge McIntire Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903

Crime Wave novelists Tim Johnston (The Current), Stephen Mack Jones (Lives Laid Away), Kristen Lepionka (What You Want to See), and David Swinson (Trigger) discuss their newest titles, featuring murder, investigations, and intrigue.

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Tags: Crime Wave

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

Sat. March 23, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Location:

Jefferson School African American Heritage Center

233 4th St NW, Charlottesville, VA 22903

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 …

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Tags: African-American, Book Club Picks, Fiction

4:00 PM

Letters About Literature Celebration

Sat. March 23, 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Location:

Central JMRL Library - McIntire Room

201 E Market Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Robbi Behr and Matthew Swanson (The Real McCoys) give honorary remarks to kick off this celebration of Virginia students who were selected as winners and honorable mentions in the state-wide 2018 Letters About Literature competition. Select students will also be invited to read from their notable entries.

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Tags: Education / Teaching, Headliners, Publishing / Books / Writing, StoryFest / Youth

Death in a Particular Time and Place

Sat. March 23, 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Location:

Omni Hotel - Ballroom B

212 Ridge McIntire Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903

Charles Belfoure (The Fallen Architect), John Copenhaver (Dodging and Burning), David Downie (The Gardener of Eden), and Laurie Loewenstein (Death of a Rainmaker) discuss their newest titles, defined in part by setting and location, and which present fascinating stories of intrigue.

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Tags: Crime Wave

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

Sat. March 23, 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Location:

Greene County JMRL Library

222 Main Street, Stanardsville, VA 22973

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.

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

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

Sat. March 23, 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Location:

Jefferson School African American Heritage Center

233 4th St NW, Charlottesville, VA 22903

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 …

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Tags: Book Club Picks, Fiction, Headliners, Nonfiction, Poetry, StoryFest / Youth

Anti-Semitism and a Defense Against Hatred in America

Sat. March 23, 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Location:

City Council Chambers

605 E Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Jonathan Weisman, journalist and author of (((Semitism))): Being Jewish in America in the Age of Trump, will discuss his book and Judaism, hate, the rise of white nationalism, and how we can fight anti-Semitism in America.

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Tags: Current Affairs / World Affairs / War, Global, History, Nonfiction, Social Justice, Spirituality / Religion

8:00 PM

Future Tense: Writers You’ll be Reading for the Next 25 Years

Sat. March 23, 8:00 PM - 9:30 PM

Location:

Paramount Theater

215 E Main Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Mitchell S. Jackson (Survival Math), José Olivarez (Citizen Illegal), and Sarah Smarsh (Heartland) share and discuss their deeply personal works of nonfiction and poetry, each representing an eye-opening look into larger social and political issues in America.

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Tags: African-American, Biography / Memoir, Book Club Picks, Current Affairs / World Affairs / War, Family / Aging, Headliners, Language / Culture / Folklife, Latinx, Nonfiction, Poetry, Publishing / Books / Writing, Social Justice