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.

11:00 AM

Celebration Brunch: A Tribute to the African American Literary Tradition

Sun. March 24, 11:00 AM - 1:30 PM

Location:

Omni Hotel - Ballroom

212 Ridge McIntire Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903

The Charlottesville Chapter of The Links Incorporated presents its sixteenth annual Celebration of the African American Literary Tradition, including brunch, musical and spoken word performances by community youth, a tribute to book festival authors, book sales and signing. Tickets required.

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Tags: African-American, Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry

Jefferson on Display

Sun. March 24, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Location:

Monticello’s David M Rubenstein Visitor Center

931 Thomas Jefferson Parkway, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Join G.S. Wilson (Jefferson on Display) in a discussion on how Thomas Jefferson’s image, cultivated through his physical presentation, clothing choices, and etiquette, can offer insight into his complex character and the powerful effect he had on others.

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Tags: Biography / Memoir, History, Southern / Appalachian

12:00 PM

Finding Wisdom: A Letterpress Project

Sun. March 24, 12:00 PM - 2:30 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 discuss his collaboration with the Virginia Center for the Book to produce an intergenerational project that celebrates words of wisdom shared by diverse residents of Charlottesville and Albemarle County. This program will include a free public printing demo with Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. at 12:00 PM, followed by an artist’s talk at 1:00 PM.

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Tags: African-American, Arts, Education / Teaching, Workshop / Demo

1:00 PM

Reexamining the Birth of a Nation: Jamestown and 1619

Sun. March 24, 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Location:

James Monroe’s Highland

2050 James Monroe Parkway, Charlottesville, VA 22902

James Horn (1619) and Joseph Kelly (Marooned) reexamine well-known origin stories for our country and Commonwealth, presenting groundbreaking new histories of the 1607 arrival of colonists in Jamestown and the 1619 arrival of the first African enslaved people and establishment of Virginia’s first General Assembly. Consequential decisions wrought in harsh conditions led to the birth of democracy, and also laid the cornerstone for racial inequality from the beginning.

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Tags: African-American, History

National Book Critics Circle Presents: Outstanding Writing

Sun. March 24, 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Location:

Central JMRL Library

201 E Market Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902

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.

More »

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Tags: Headliners, Publishing / Books / Writing

Enduring Passions: Writing a Romance Series

Sun. March 24, 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Location:

Barnes & Noble

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

Michelle Damiani (Santa Lucia), Ann Jeffries (Judicial Indiscretion) and Margaret Locke (The Legendary Duke) discuss their steamy romance novels and the unique challenges in writing characters over the course of a series.

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Tags: Romance

2:00 PM

Exploring Jewish Identity: Personal and Historical

Sun. March 24, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Location:

Congregation Beth Israel

301 East Jefferson Street, Charlottesville, Va. 22902

Join Gabriel Laufer (A Survivor’s Duty) and Pamela Nadell (America’s Jewish Women) for their histories of Jewish identity, offering close-up personal views of twentieth century historic events as well as an exploration of extraordinary Jewish women and the imprint made by their social activism.

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Tags: Biography / Memoir, History, Spirituality / Religion

3:00 PM

Diverse Desires: LGBTQI Voices in Romance Writing

Sun. March 24, 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Location:

Barnes & Noble

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

Samantha Boyette (What Happens When), D. Jackson Leigh (Ordinary is Perfect) and Radclyffe (Passionate Rivals) discuss the issue of diversity—ethnic, racial, sexual, and gender-related—in publishing, the similarities and differences between mainstream and LGBTQI romances, and the nuances of authentic character construction.

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Tags: LGBTQ, Romance

A World Built on Bondage: Racism and Human Diversity in Award-Winning Fiction

Sun. March 24, 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Location:

Jefferson School African American Heritage Center

233 4th St NW, Charlottesville, VA 22903

Esi Edugyan (Washington Black) and John Edgar Wideman (American Histories) discuss the meanings of race, violence, and freedom, as explored in their acclaimed fiction. Edugyan and Wideman each received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for an earlier novel; they are accompanied in conversation with Award jury member Rita Dove.

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Tags: African-American, Current Affairs / World Affairs / War, Fiction, Headliners, History, Social Justice, Southern / Appalachian