Featured Speakers

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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Paul Beatty

Paul Beatty

Bestselling Author • Novelist • Poet

Beatty, an acerbic and fearless commentator on race and pop culture, is the first American to win the Man Booker Prize for The Sellout. He has been called “one of the shrewdest cultural commentators, and hilarious cutups, of his generation” (Interview).

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Dr. Matthew Desmond

Poverty Abolitionist • Pulitzer Prize Winner • Bestselling Author

MacArthur “Genius” Grant winner and sociologist, Desmond has forever changed the way we look at housing and poverty in America with his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, and his Princeton University-based Eviction Lab. His latest Poverty, by America, is a startlingly original and ambitious case for ending poverty.

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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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Kiese Laymon

Kiese Laymon

Bestselling Author • Social Critic • Essayist

Laymon is a Black southern writer and the author of Heavy: An American Memoir, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, and Long Division. In his observant, often hilarious work, Laymon does battle with the personal and the political: race and family, body and shame, poverty and place. 

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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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Tayari Jones

Tayari Jones

Bestselling Author • Novelist

Dubbed by The Los Angeles Times “a bard of the modern South”, Tayari Jones confronts issues of race, family, and criminal justice reform in her novels. Her latest, the instant New York Times-bestseller An American Marriage, won the Women’s Prize for Fiction and an NAACP Image Award and was an Oprah’s Book Club selection.

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Speakers by Subject

New & Noteworthy

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

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

Cellophane Bricks: A Life in Visual Culture

Praise for Cellophane Bricks: A Life in Visual Culture

Astute, often idiosyncratic responses to works of art.

Kirkus Reviews

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

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

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

American Mother

Praise for American Mother

Artfully structured and delivered with propulsive intensity and heart.

Pico Iyer, author of The Art of Stillness

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

Burma Sahib

Praise for Burma Sahib

With piercing prose, Theroux lays bare the fraudulent and fiercely despotic nature of the British Empire. This brims with intelligence and vigor.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

By Any Other Name

Praise for By Any Other Name

Jodi Picoult is that rare, one-in-a-million writer whose books both squeeze your heart and expand your mind.

Emily Henry

The King Years

Praise for The King Years

Compelling portraits placed in the excitement of a period when oppressed and powerless people moving together changed themselves and their country profoundly and permanently.

The New York Times

When We Flew Away: A Novel of Anne Frank Before the Diary

Praise for When We Flew Away: A Novel of Anne Frank Before the Diary

We can highly recommend Alice Hoffman’s novel of Anne Frank’s life. We hope it will persuade young readers that contributing to a better world is both necessary and possible.

Ronald Leopold, Executive Director, Anne Frank House

Rosamond Lehmann in Las Vegas

Praise for Rosamond Lehmann in Las Vegas

Forthcoming Fall 2024

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