Featured Speakers

John Vaillant

John Vaillant


Pulitzer Prize Finalist • Bestselling Author • Journalist

John Vaillant is an author and freelance writer based in Vancouver, BC whose journalism, fiction and non-fiction explores collisions between human ambition and the natural world. He is the author most recently of Fire Weather: On the Frontlines of a Burning World, a stunning account of a colossal wildfire and a panoramic exploration of the rapidly changing relationship between fire and humankind. It was named as a finalist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction and won the prestigious Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction.

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Justin Torres

Justin Torres


National Book Award Winner • Bestselling Author • Novelist

Justin Torres is a novelist celebrated for a distinctly lyrical style that weaves truth and fiction, blending genres as he explores queer art, love, lineage, life, and death—and the multifaceted dynamics between family, friends, mentors, and strangers—through narrative. He is the author of the “shimmering, fable-like novel” (Washington Post) Blackouts, winner of the 2023 National […]

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Jesmyn Ward

Jesmyn Ward


MacArthur Fellow • National Book Award Winner • Novelist • Memoirist

New York Times bestselling author and MacArthur “Genius” Jesmyn Ward is the first woman and first person of color to win the National Book Award for Fiction twice, for her novels Sing, Unburied, Sing and Salvage the Bones. Her first historical novel, ‘Let Us Descend’, is an Oprah’s Book Club pick and her “most masterful work yet” (Oprah Daily).

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Dr. Imani Perry

Dr. Imani Perry


MacArthur Fellow • Cultural Historian • Bestselling Author

In her books, including National Book Award-winner South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation and Breathe: A Letter to My Sons, Imani Perry reflects the beautiful and deeply complex history of Black thought, art, and imagination.

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Masha Gessen

Masha Gessen


National Book Award Winner • Bestselling Author • Journalist

One of the most trenchant observers of democracy and autocracy, Masha Gessen is a journalist, activist and bestselling author of nonfiction, including the National Book Award-winning The Future Is History. Their latest, Surviving Autocracy, is a bracing overview of the calamitous trajectory of American democracy over the last decade.

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Colum McCann

Colum McCann


National Book Award Winner • Bestselling Author • Novelist

Irish-born author Colum McCann wrote the National Book Award-winning novel Let the Great World Spin and the bestselling Transatlantic. His latest novel is Apeirogon, a boundary-pushing real-life story of two grieving fathers on either side of a seemingly intractable conflict in the Middle East. He speaks on storytelling, self-discovery, social justice, and travel.

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John Irving

John Irving


National Book Award Winner • Bestselling Author • Screenwriter

Widely regarded as an American master, John Irving, author of The World According to Garp, The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany, is a consummate storyteller with over 12 million books in 35 languages in print and a streak of international bestsellers stretching back over four decades. His next novel is The Last Chairlift, expected in October 2022.

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Katherine Boo

Katherine Boo


Pulitzer Prize Winner • Bestselling Author • Journalist

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist noted for her reporting on poverty and inequality, Boo is the author of Behind the Beautiful Forevers, a gripping narrative of life in a Mumbai slum. The book won the National Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

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Speakers by Subject

New & Noteworthy

Fire Weather: On the Frontlines of a Burning World

Praise for Fire Weather: On the Frontlines of a Burning World

All-too-timely…. This book is both a real-life thriller and a moment-by-moment account of what happened—and why, as the climate changes and humans don’t, it will continue to happen again and again.

The New York Times

Memory Piece: A Novel

Praise for Memory Piece: A Novel

Dazzlingly inventive and knowing, Memory Piece is a bold and affecting novel about resistance, solidarity, and friendship.

Dana Spiotta, National Book Award finalist and author of Eat the Document

By Any Other Name

Praise for By Any Other Name

Forthcoming

An Encyclopedia of Gardening for Colored Children

Praise for An Encyclopedia of Gardening for Colored Children

Kincaid and Walker are unafraid to spin the world differently and make it matter in new ways.

The New York Times Book Review

American Mother

Praise for American Mother

Artfully structured and delivered with propulsive intensity and heart.

Pico Iyer, author of The Art of Stillness

The Princess of Las Vegas

Praise for The Princess of Las Vegas

A wonderful book….I absolutely could not put it down.

Anne Lamott, New York Times best-selling author of Bird by Bird

The Morningside

Praise for The Morningside

A multifaceted gift of a novel that only Téa Obreht could conjure onto paper.

Karen Russell, author of Orange World and Other Stories

An American Dreamer

Praise for An American Dreamer

Brilliantly reported and staggeringly important, An American Dreamer delivers a gripping story that is as illuminating and poignant as it is a punch in the gut.

Beth Macy, New York Times bestselling author of Dopesick

Cue the Sun!

Praise for Cue the Sun!

The finest kind of pop-cultural narrative history: inquisitive, discerning, surprising, thoughtful, informative, and lively; underpinned but not weighed down by its serious intent; and written with a storyteller’s verve, a journalist’s skepticism, a critic’s astuteness, and a fan’s loving eye.

Michael Chabon, author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

The Unsettled

Praise for The Unsettled

Expansive and explosive, this beauty of a novel showcases Ayana Mathis’s grace on the page, as writer, as storyteller. A book to be read and re-read.

Jesmyn Ward, two-time National Book Award-winning author of Let Us Descend

The Heat Will Kill You First: Life and Death on a Scorched Planet

Praise for The Heat Will Kill You First: Life and Death on a Scorched Planet

This is a propulsive book, one to be raced through; the planet is burning, and we are running out of time.

Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times

The Collapsing Frontier

Praise for The Collapsing Frontier

Lethem has talent to burn.

Village Voice Literary Supplement