Featured Speakers

Jesmyn Ward

National Book Award Winner • Essayist • 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. The American Booksellers Association has called her “the new Toni Morrison.”

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Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson

Young People’s Poet Laureate • Bestselling Author

Jacqueline Woodson is one of the most acclaimed and significant working authors of books for both children and adults. Weaving together lyrical language and powerful imagery she creates stories that explore complex issues of race, class, gender, family, and history. Her more-than two dozen award-winning books for adults, children, and adolescents include her New York Times bestsellers Brown Girl Dreaming and Red at the Bone, and her Newbery Honor-Winning books After Tupac and D Foster, Feathers, and Show Way.

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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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Speakers by Subject

New & Noteworthy

Dickens and Prince

Praise for Dickens and Prince

Smart, witty and weirdly convincing… Pop culture is political to Hornby. Beneath this latest book’s stocking-filler-light surface, you can sense a subtle sort of crusade. By pairing these two artists, he’s making a couple of implicit assertions — that Prince is as important as Dickens and that Dickens is as fun as Prince.

The Times (London)

The Last Chairlift

Praise for The Last Chairlift

Irving has become the incarnation of the ‘great American novelist’ par excellence with his fabulous gift as a storyteller and ability to give food for thought.

L’Express, Paris

Mad Honey

Praise for Mad Honey


The Unfolding

Praise for The Unfolding

A terrific black comedy, written almost entirely in pitch-perfect dialogue, that feels terrifying close to the unfunny truth.

Salman Rushdie, New York Times bestselling author

The Bad Angel Brothers

Praise for The Bad Angel Brothers

Theroux is at his masterly best.

The New York Times

The Gospel of J. Edgar Hoover

Praise for The Gospel of J. Edgar Hoover

Essential reading for anyone interested in the history of religion in the modern United States.

Judith Weisenfeld, author of New World A-Coming

Earth's The Right Place For Love

Praise for Earth's The Right Place For Love

I so loved this story. Few authors write with more heart, wisdom, and human insight than Elizabeth Berg.

Debbie Macomber, bestselling author

The Ferryman

Praise for The Ferryman

The Ferryman is next to impossible to put down once you’ve read the first few pages.

Stephen King

The House of Lincoln

Praise for The House of Lincoln

“Brimming with a rich and unforgettable array of imagined and real historical figures who helped to shape Springfield, Illinois and the nation beyond during the turbulent time of slavery and the Civil War, The House of Lincoln is storytelling at its best.

Gail Tsukiyama, author of The Color of Air, The Samurai’s Garden, and Women of the Silk

A Previous Life

Praise for A Previous Life

Elegant, erudite, raunchy and fun, America’s great Man of Letters is working at the top of his form.

Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Less

Sorry for You Trouble

Praise for Sorry for You Trouble

Once again, virtuoso Ford deftly sails the seas and storms of consciousness.

Booklist (starred review)

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