National Book Foundation Announces 2020 Fall Season of NBF Presents

October 2020



National Book Awards authors to appear in a lineup of all virtual programming through 2020

The National Book Foundation today announced its fall NBF Presents lineup of events taking place through December 2020, continuing the expanded programming made possible by a multi-year, $900,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This season of NBF Presents, a moniker under which all of the Foundation’s public programs fall, represents a continued commitment to providing widespread access to high-caliber, topical literary programming that reaches readers everywhere, and now is available to stream in their homes. All announced programming for the fall season will be held exclusively online, and continues the Foundation’s ongoing partnerships with the Brooklyn Book Festival, Miami Book Fair, Portland Book Festival, and Texas Book Festival.

National Book Award–honored authors confirmed to appear at NBF Presents events in the fall season include Carol Anderson, Kwame Alexander, Jericho Brown, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Natalie Diaz, Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Marlon James, Ibram X. Kendi, Deesha Philyaw, Jason Reynolds, Richard Rothstein, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, with more to come.

“NBF Presents has given us the opportunity facilitate timely conversations with audiences and readers around the country that we hope will act as entry points to new ways of understanding,” said Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation, “This season, we are fortunate to be able to bring these events to people wherever they find themselves right now, as part of our ongoing institutional commitment to both access to literary programming and uplifting great books, and the thinkers behind them.”

This fall, NBF Presents will feature three programs with National Book Award–honored authors and expert moderators speaking on topics from Black politics and voter suppression to envisioning a new American curriculum. These events will include a question-and-answer session with the audience and book sales supported by Loyalty Bookstores.

“Book sales and independent bookstores are still hurting, and now, more than ever, is the time to foster partnerships with organizations like the National Book Foundation so we’re able to better act as support systems to one another,” said Hannah Oliver Depp, owner of Loyalty Bookstores. “We are thrilled to partner on NBF Presents events and help continue to expand the audience for great authors and their work.”

The Foundation is deeply appreciative of our partners who have joined together to continue engaging readers through literature, despite in-person programming health and safety constraints.

“The relationships we forge with like-minded stakeholders, both locally and on a national level, are critical in furthering the work we all do,” said Lissette Mendez, director of programs at Miami Book Fair, a seven-year-long partner of the Foundation. “It’s an honor to collaborate with the National Book Foundation to amplify our collective reach in providing access to literary culture and eschewing barriers to participation. I can’t think of a more perfect partner, or a more synergistic affiliation.”

In addition to events featuring National Book Foundation–honored authors, the fall season will include a launch event recognizing the 2020-2021 Literature for Justice Reading List. Annual book festival partnerships continue to celebrate the 2020 National Book Award Longlisters and Finalists in advance of the 71st Annual Awards Ceremony in November. Other signature Awards events, including the Foundation’s annual 5 Under 35 Ceremony and the Finalist Reading, which have previously been in-person events held in New York City, will proceed online in partnership with the Miami Book Fair and The New School, respectively. All Award events, including the Ceremony itself on November 18, have previously been ticketed events, and this year, will be free and open to all.

The full list of confirmed fall NBF Presents events can be found below, with additional details forthcoming. An updated NBF Presents calendar is available at the Foundation’s website.

NBF Presents Fall Schedule

Sunday, October 4, 7:00pm EST
Brooklyn Book Festival

NBF Presents: An Evening with the National Book Awards

Join four authors honored by the 2019 National Book Awards for a conversation on contemporary literature, recognition, and cross-genre Black storytelling. Featuring Kwame Alexander (The Undefeated, Longlist, Young People’s Literature), Jericho Brown (The Tradition, Finalist, Poetry), Marlon James (Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Finalist, Fiction), and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership, Longlist, Nonfiction). Moderated by Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation.


Wednesday, October 14, 6:00pm EST
NBF Presents: A New Black Politics?

National Book Award Winners Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me) and Ibram X. Kendi (Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America) and Longlister Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership) kick off the virtual mainstage season of NBF Presents for a conversation on the state of Black politics—offering historical context to the global uprising, Black Lives Matter, and response of Black politicians and organizers. Less than a month until the 2020 presidential election, these authors and thinkers consider where this moment leaves Black voters.


Tuesday, October 20, 7:00pm EST
Miami Book Fair

5 Under 35 Ceremony

The National Book Foundation presents the 15th annual 5 Under 35 Ceremony to honor five fiction writers under the age of 35: K-Ming Chang (Bestiary), Naima Coster (Halsey Street), Raven Leilani (Luster), Fatima Farheen Mirza (A Place for Us), and C Pam Zhang (How Much of These Hills Is Gold). Their selectors—2019 National Book Award Winner Susan Choi, 2019 National Book Award Finalist Marlon James, 2018 National Book Award Longlister Tayari Jones, 2018 National Book Award Longlister Tommy Orange, and 2012 5 Under 35 honoree Justin Torres—introduce the debut authors who read an excerpt of their work and participate in a live question-and-answer session with the audience. Presented in partnership with the Miami Book Fair.


Thursday, October 29, 6:00pm EST
NBF Presents: Segregation to Suppression

National Book Award Longlister Richard Rothstein (The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America) investigates government-required neighborhood segregation of Black and white Americans, and Longlister Carol Anderson (One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy) considers the more recent rollbacks on Black voting. Five days out from the 2020 presidential election, join Rothstein and Anderson for a conversation on how government policies inform segregation, housing, and ultimately, voter suppression in America.


Friday, November 6, 6:00pm ET
Portland Book Festival

NBF Presents: An Evening with the National Book Awards

For the third year running, 2020 Longlisters, Finalists, and potential Winners join for a cross-genre panel conversation, presented in partnership with the Portland Book Festival. More information on this year’s line-up coming soon.


Tuesday, November 10, 7:00pm ET
The New School
2020 National Book Awards Finalist Reading

All of the National Book Award Finalists in Fiction, Poetry, Nonfiction, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature traditionally gather before the Awards Ceremony to read excerpts from their honored works. This year, the program will happen virtually, presented in partnership with The New School.


Saturday, November 14, 3:00pm ET
Texas Book Festival
NBF Presents: An Afternoon with the National Book Awards

2020 Longlisters, and potential Finalists and Winners, Natalie Diaz (Postcolonial Love Poem, Poetry) and Deesha Philyaw (The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, Fiction) discuss their work and recognition in advance of the 71st Annual National Book Awards, presented in partnership with the Texas Book Festival. More information on the line-up coming soon.


Wednesday, November 18, 7:00pm ET
The 71st National Book Awards Ceremony

The National Book Foundation presents its lifetime achievement awards to the 2020 honorees, and announces this year’s winners of the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature, Translated Literature, Poetry, Nonfiction, and Fiction.


Wednesday, December 2, 3:00pm ET
Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop 

Literature for Justice: A Path Forward

The National Book Foundation launches the third and final year of Literature for Justice, a nationwide, book-based campaign that presents an annual reading list to further investigate the carceral system and urge readers forward. The event will feature this year’s selected authors—Dionne Brand (Ossuaries), Nicole R. Fleetwood (Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration), Ruth Wilson Gilmore (Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis and Opposition in Globalizing California), Sarah Haley (No Mercy Here: Gender, Punishment, and then Making of Jim Crow Modernity), Kelly Lytle Hernández (City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles, 1771-1965), and Albert Woodfox (Solitary)—and a live question-and-answer session with the audience. Presented in partnership with Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop.

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


Tuesday, December 15, 6:00pm ET
NBF Presents: A New American Curriculum

National Book Award–honored authors Erica Armstrong Dunbar (Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge, Finalist, Nonfiction) and Jason Reynolds (Ghost, Finalist, Young People’s Literature; Long Way Down, Longlist, Young People’s Literature; and Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks, Finalist, Young People’s Literature) are invested in the next generation of readers and thinkers, from elementary to secondary or “higher” education. Together, they discuss what a new curriculum can and should look like while the American school system faces ever-increasing challenges of equity and access.


Unless otherwise noted, all programs made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

For times and locations for events, please visit or the websites of any of our partners.