Watch Literature for Justice: Art in and of the Carceral State

In its third and final year, the National Book Foundation’s Literature for Justice program continues to offer literature as a vehicle for conversations on the topic of mass incarceration, partnering with the Center for Imagination in the Borderlands to present a two-part virtual series to dig deeper into titles selected for this year’s reading list.

Join writer and curator Nicole R. Fleetwood (Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration) and scholar Sarah Haley (No Mercy Here: Gender, Punishment, and the Making of Jim Crow Modernity) for a discussion on the convergences and divergences of academia, archives, and art in the carceral system. Moderated by Literature for Justice committee member, National Book Award Finalist, and Center Director Natalie Diaz.

Presented in partnership with the Center for Imagination in the Borderlands at Arizona State University.

Books are available for purchase at Bookshop.org with thanks to Loyalty Bookstores in Washington, D.C.

To join the live chat, please tune in to the conversation directly on the Foundation’s YouTube Live.

Literature for Justice is made possible by the Art for Justice Fund, a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, in partnership with the Ford Foundation.

Watch Literature for Justice: Locating Freedom

In its third and final year, the National Book Foundation’s Literature for Justice program continues to offer literature as a vehicle for conversations on the topic of mass incarceration, partnering with the Center for Imagination in the Borderlands to present a two-part virtual series to dig deeper into titles selected for this year’s reading list.

Join poet Dionne Brand (Ossuaries) and geographer Ruth Wilson Gilmore (Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California) for a discussion about borders, place, and mass incarceration, inspired by and in conversation with generations of Black radical artists working to re-think and re-imagine a collective future of freedom. Moderated by Literature for Justice committee member, National Book Award Finalist, and Center Director Natalie Diaz.

Presented in partnership with the Center for Imagination in the Borderlands at Arizona State University.

Books are available for purchase at Bookshop.org with thanks to Loyalty Bookstores in Washington, D.C.

To join the live chat, please tune in to the conversation directly on the Foundation’s YouTube Live.

Submissions Open for the 2021 National Book Awards

Twenty-five judges in five categories will review submitted titles and select the five Winners of the 72nd National Book Awards

Today, the National Book Foundation opens submissions for the 72nd National Book Awards. The Foundation also announces its 25 judges for this year’s Awards, in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature.

“The judging process for the National Book Awards is a significant commitment, and we have full confidence that this year’s expert panelists will make their decisions with vigorous discernment,” said Jordan Smith, Interim Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “Their participation will have a long-lasting impact on writers, the literary community, and readers everywhere.”

This year’s judges include writers, booksellers, academics, critics, directors of literary organizations, librarians and translators from across the country. Panelists include a National Book Award Winner, National Book Award Finalists and Longlisted authors; a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 author; a Pulitzer Prize finalist; a National Book Critics Circle Award winner and finalists; a Michael L. Printz Award honor; multiple Whiting Award winners and Anisfield-Wolf Book Award winners; recipients of MacArthur Fellowships, Guggenheim Fellowships, and United States Artists Fellowships.

The judges for the 2021 National Book Awards will select 50 Longlist titles, 10 per category, which will be announced mid-September. There will be 25 Finalists, to be announced on October 5. Winners in all five categories will be announced at the 72nd National Book Awards on November 17.

You can find the judges’ full bios here.

Fiction panel: Alan Michael Parker, Emily Pullen, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, Luis Alberto Urrea (Chair), Charles Yu

Nonfiction panel: Eula Biss, Aaron John Curtis, Nell Painter (Chair), Kate Tuttle, Jerald Walker

Poetry panel: Don Mee Choi, Natalie Diaz, Matthea Harvey, A. Van Jordan (Chair), Ilya Kaminsky

Translated Literature panel: Jessie Chaffee, Sergio de la Pava, Madhu H. Kaza, Achy Obejas, Stephen Snyder (Chair)

Young People’s Literature panel: Pablo Cartaya, Traci Chee, Leslie Connor, Cathryn Mercier (Chair), Ibi Zoboi

 

Watch NBF Presents: Borders of Belonging

 

To question the “other” in American identity, join National Book Award–honored authors Laila Lalami (The Other Americans, 2019 Fiction Finalist) and Karla Cornejo Villavicencio (The Undocumented Americans, 2020 Nonfiction Finalist) for a conversation on borders, immigration, and outsiders, and what it means to write one’s self into existence.

Moderated by Concepción de León, a New York Times reporter.

Books are available for purchase at Bookshop.org with thanks to this season’s bookseller, Loyalty Bookstores.

To join the live chat, please tune in to the conversation directly on the Foundation’s YouTube Live.

Watch NBF Presents: Secrets of the South

Join National Book Award–honored authors Jericho Brown (The Tradition, 2019 Poetry Finalist), Tayari Jones (An American Marriage, 2018 Fiction Longlist), and Deesha Philyaw (The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, 2020 Fiction Finalist) for a conversation on Southern literature and how Black writers are redefining stereotypes of the South, one poem, story, and secret at a time.

Moderated by Kiese Laymon, author of, most recently, Heavy: An American Memoir.

Books are available for purchase at Bookshop.org with thanks to this season’s bookseller, Loyalty Bookstores.

To view a replay of the live chat, please tune in to the conversation directly on the Foundation’s YouTube Live.

National Book Foundation Names Ruth Dickey as New Executive Director

Current Executive Director of Seattle Arts & Lectures to begin new role in May 2021.

 

The National Book Foundation announced that Ruth Dickey, who since 2013 has served as Executive Director of Seattle Arts & Lectures, will be the Foundation’s new Executive Director. Her appointment concludes a national search following the departure of the previous Executive Director and current member of the Board of Directors, Lisa Lucas.

“Ruth Dickey brings the ideal combination of expertise and experience to lead the Foundation and advance our unique mission,” said David Steinberger, Chair of the National Book Foundation’s Board of Directors. “We were looking for a proven literary leader with a track record of engaging with a broad range of communities from all across our nation, and Ruth brings that and more to this role.”

“I have greatly admired the National Book Foundation’s expanded leadership role as a champion for reading and books, through innovative programs like Book Rich Environments and Literature for Justice,” said Ruth Dickey. “I am honored and thrilled to follow in Lisa Lucas’s footsteps, and join the Board and staff to lead the Foundation’s next chapter of work in support of books and reading, and their critical role in our cultural landscape.”

“Ruth Dickey’s extraordinary skill set—developed over many years as an exceptional, thoughtful, and dynamic leader in the nonprofit literary space—is precisely what the National Book Foundation needs to charge forward,” said Lisa Lucas, Senior Vice President and Publisher of Pantheon and Schocken Books. “Her experiences working across the country help to remind us all that this work is for everyone, everywhere. Ruth is uniquely experienced, an effective and inclusive leader, and a great lover and champion of the written word.”

Prior to leading Seattle Arts & Lectures, Dickey served as Executive Director of the Clifton Cultural Arts Center in Cincinnati, and before that as Executive Director of New Futures in Burien, Washington. Prior to New Futures, Dickey served as Executive Director of Miriam’s Kitchen in Washington, DC. In 2019, Dickey served as a judge for the National Book Award for Fiction.

Dickey will begin her new role on May 17, 2021 to allow for a smooth leadership transition from Seattle Arts & Lectures, whose annual gala is in April 2021. The Foundation’s Deputy Director Jordan Smith will continue to serve as Interim Executive Director until then.

“We owe a great deal of gratitude to our Deputy Director and current Interim Executive Director Jordan Smith, who continues to provide outstanding leadership for the Foundation during this transition, and to the entire staff at the National Book Foundation for all their incredible work,” added David Steinberger. “We also thank our Board colleagues on the Foundation’s search committee for all of their hard work and for this outstanding end result.”

The search committee was comprised of the following National Book Foundation Board members: Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle; Grove Atlantic President and Publisher Morgan Entrekin; longtime executive search professional Lucia Ferreira; Board Vice Chair and Graywolf Publisher Fiona McCrae; Board Secretary and CNN executive Calvin Sims; Board Treasurer and attorney PD Villarreal; and Board Chair David Steinberger.  The committee was assisted in its search by Koya Partners, a leading executive search firm specializing in searches for mission driven nonprofit organizations.

More information on Ruth Dickey can be found below.



Ruth Dickey
has spent over 25 years working at the intersection of community building, writing, and art. Since 2013, she has served as Executive Director of Seattle Arts & Lectures (SAL), which brings the best writers and thinkers to Seattle stages and classrooms. Under her leadership, SAL more than tripled attendance and more than doubled subscribers, while expanding the number of students served and focusing on students with the least access to arts experiences.

Before coming to SAL, Ruth spent five years as the Founding Executive Director of the Clifton Cultural Arts Center (CCAC) in Cincinnati, Ohio, repurposing a vacant school into a thriving arts center that attracted over 80,000 visitors. Prior to CCAC, Ruth served as the Executive Director of New Futures in Burien, Washington, partnering with families in low-income apartment complexes to create communities where children thrive. Ruth led New Futures to double the number of children and families served, and to attract widespread attention for its evaluation work, including an article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Prior to that, she served as Executive Director of Miriam’s Kitchen, a breakfast and social service program for people experiencing homelessness in Washington, DC. During her tenure, the organization executed a successful $1.4 million capital campaign to begin transitional housing and was selected as the Winner of the 2001 Washington Post Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management.

Ruth holds an MFA in poetry from UNC-Greensboro, and a BS in Foreign Service and an MA in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University, and was a 2017 fellow with the National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program. The recipient of a Mayor’s Arts Award from Washington DC, and an individual artist grant from the DC Commission and Arts and Humanities, Ruth’s first book, Mud Blooms (Harbor Mountain Press) was selected for the MURA Award, and was a finalist for the National Poetry Series and awarded a 2019 Silver Nautilus for books that make a better world. Ruth served as a judge for the 2019 National Book Awards for Fiction, and is a voracious reader, an ardent fan of dogs and coffee, and has taught poetry workshops in soup kitchens, drop in centers, and the DC Public Schools.

Watch NBF Presents: Black History Reexamined

In two groundbreaking works, 2020 National Book Award–honored authors Tamara Payne (The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X, Winner, Nonfiction) and Isabel Wilkerson (Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent, Longlist, Nonfiction) deconstruct and re-contextualize Black experiences in America—Payne through the lens of the famed civil rights leader Malcolm X, and Wilkerson through centuries of racialized hierarchies. Join Payne and Wilkerson for a conversation on research, race, and re-writing American history.

Moderated by Wesley Lowery, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author, and correspondent for CBS News.

Books are available for purchase at Bookshop.org with thanks to this season’s bookseller, Loyalty Bookstores.

To view a replay of the live chat, please tune in to the conversation directly on the Foundation’s YouTube Channel.

Watch NBF Presents: Happy Debut Year

To kick off the new year, the Foundation celebrated three 2020 National Book Award–honored authors whose first books made an undeniable impact on the literary landscape. Tommye Blount (Fantasia for the Man in Blue, Finalist, Poetry), Megha Majumdar (A Burning, Longlist, Fiction), and Douglas Stuart (Shuggie Bain, Finalist, Fiction) discussed releasing debuts in 2020, discovering an audience, and what comes next, for them and for contemporary literature. Moderated by MJ Franklin, an editor at the New York Times Book Review.

Books are available for purchase at Bookshop.org with thanks to this season’s bookseller, Loyalty Bookstores.

To view a replay of the live chat, please tune in to the conversation directly on the Foundation’s YouTube Channel.

The Foundation Elects W. W. Norton & Company’s President, Julia A. Reidhead, to Board of Directors

NBF welcomes Reidhead to its Board of Directors and the Board elects longtime member PD Villarreal as Treasurer

PD Villarreal.

The National Book Foundation announced the appointment of Julia A. Reidhead, Chairman and President of W. W. Norton & Company, to the Board of Directors. The Foundation also announced today that attorney and longtime board member PD Villarreal has been elected Treasurer and will continue to serve on the Foundation’s Executive Committee.

These appointments follow the retirement of W. Drake McFeely, W. W. Norton & Company’s former President and Chairman, who served as the Foundation’s Treasurer and had been a member of the Board of Directors for thirteen years.

“We thank Drake McFeely for his years of outstanding service to the Foundation,” said David Steinberger, Chair of the Board of Directors. “We are gratified to welcome Julia A. Reidhead, continuing W. W. Norton & Company’s presence on the Board, and we thank our Board colleague PD Villarreal for taking on the added responsibility of succeeding Drake as Treasurer.”

“It is a privilege and a joy to be able to lend my expertise to the National Book Foundation as its newest Board member,” said Julia A. Reidhead, Chairman and President of W. W. Norton & Company. “The Foundation is responsible for not only honoring authors through the Awards, but also bringing reading and books to people everywhere through its many programs. I’m eager to support that mission and to continue W. W. Norton’s place in this talented group of individuals.”

“Being part of the National Book Foundation’s Board of Directors for almost 15 years has been a truly rewarding experience,” said PD Villarreal. “I’m honored to support the organization’s mission, and I look forward to the expansion of my involvement in this new role as Treasurer, and continuing to uplift the many facets of the Foundation.”

“Both of these new appointments to our Board of Directors are an exciting start to the new year,” said Jordan Smith, Interim Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “Having these esteemed individuals serving on the Board of Directors, working to amplify the Foundation’s work of celebrating the best literature in America and expanding its audience, makes us a stronger organization.”

With the addition of Julia Reidhead and the recent appointment of the Foundation’s former Executive Director and current Senior Vice President and Publisher of Pantheon and Schocken Books, Lisa Lucas, the Foundation’s Board now stands at 20 governing members. In addition to David Steinberger and PD Villarreal, the current members of the Executive Committee are: Graywolf Publisher Fiona McCrae, Vice Chair; CNN executive Calvin Sims, Secretary; and Grove Atlantic President and Publisher Morgan Entrekin who had previously served as Vice Chair.

More information on Julia A. Reidhead and PD Villarreal can be found below.

 


 

Julia A. Reidhead is Chairman and President of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., the oldest and largest book publishing house owned wholly by its employees. She oversees all of the company’s departments, including Trade, with its critically acclaimed, award-winning works of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry for general readers; College, with its flagship textbooks in biology, history, economics, physics, music, composition, and other disciplines, as well as the legendary Norton Anthologies, read by 59 million students worldwide; W. W. Norton & Company Ltd., which makes the firm’s books available globally; and W. W. Norton Canada, which provides textbooks to the Canadian marketplace. She also oversees Norton’s imprints, which include Liveright Publishing Corporation, Countryman Press, Norton Young Readers, and Norton Professional Books for psychotherapists and educators. She is the first woman to lead the firm in its nearly 100-year history. In addition to her post at Norton, Reidhead chairs the Board of Governors of Yale University Press and serves on the Board of Directors of the Association of American Publishers.

 

PD Villarreal is a highly experienced litigator with a track record for successfully managing large, complex, and varied disputes across multiple industries. He has held senior positions at Allergan, GlaxoSmithKline, General Electric, and more. PD is a graduate of Columbia University (Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and a graduate of Yale Law School. He has given guest lectures at Harvard Business School, Stanford Law School, Yale Law School, and Notre Dame Business School, among others. In addition, he has been widely recognized through numerous awards for his work in ADR, Litigation Management, and Diversity. In 2012, he was named one of the 10 Most Innovative Lawyers in America by Law360. He has served on numerous nonprofit boards including the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution, the LatinoJustice Fund, and the Midwest Immigrant Rights Center. He is currently on the Board of the National Book Foundation.