Watch NBF Presents: Revolutionary Joy

NBF Presents’ season finale recognizes the historical and literary significance of Black trans and nonbinary narratives with National Book Award–honored authors Kacen Callender (King and the Dragonflies, 2020 Young People’s Literature Winner), Akwaeke Emezi (Pet, 2019 Young People’s Literature Finalist), and Danez Smith (Don’t Call Us Dead, 2017 Poetry Finalist) for a discussion on trans and nonbinary stories that make room for both queer pain and joy. Moderated by Celeste Chan, writer and Queer Ancestors Project facilitator.

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: The Art of Translation

Hurricane Season is the story of a dead witch set in a small town in Mexico. The book, translated from the Spanish, found a global audience and recognition. 2020 National Book Award Longlist author and translator Fernanda Melchor and Sophie Hughes come together for a conversation on the trust-fall act—and art—of literary translation, and the significance of a reader’s access to international perspectives. Moderated by Shuchi Saraswat, writer, editor, and founder of The Transnational Literature Series at Brookline Booksmith.

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.

Literature for Justice: The Freedom to Read

Over the past three years, the National Book Foundation’s Literature for Justice committees have curated thought-provoking reading lists on the topic of mass incarceration. When former committee member and selected author Reginald Dwayne Betts founded the Million Book Project to establish “Freedom Libraries” in prisons and juvenile detention centers nationwide, the Foundation partnered to send Literature for Justice titles to pilot reading groups.

For the program finale, join authors and committee members Susan Burton (Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women, 2019-2020 Reading List) and Rachel Kushner (The Mars Room, 2019-2020 Reading List) in conversation on their work and the larger work of literature inside and outside of prisons to open new worlds of possibility. Moderated by Reginald Dwayne Betts Betts (Shahid Reads His Own Palm, 2018-2019 Reading List), Million Book Project Founder & Director.

This event will be edited as a bonus episode of the Million Book Project’s podcast, The Freedom Takes. Presented in partnership with the Million Book Project.

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

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.

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

Watch NBF Presents: Poetry in Protest

It’s National Poetry Month, and to celebrate, National Book Award–honored authors Toi Derricotte (“I”: New and Selected Poems, 2019 Poetry Finalist), Camonghne Felix (Build Yourself a Boat, 2019 Poetry Longlist), and Terrance Hayes (Lighthead, 2010 Poetry Winner; How to Be Drawn, 2015 Poetry Finalist; American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin, 2018 Poetry Finalist) discuss the impact of protest poetry on American literature and American politics. Moderated by Kyle Dacuyan, Executive Director of The Poetry Project.

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 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 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.