The National Book Foundation announced its fall NBF Presents lineup of events taking place between September and December of 2019, in the second year of expanded programming made possible by a three-year $900,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. In its first year, NBF Presents produced 39 events in 36 cities around the country, donating nearly 2,000 free books and subsidizing over 500 ticketed seats to bring NBA-honored authors to thousands in-person and even more digitally through live streams. Between public and education programming, the Foundation has now reached audiences, youth and adult, in 36 states nationwide.
This season of NBF Presents continues to bring National Book Award-honored authors to libraries, colleges, book festivals, and performance venues across the county. As part of the programming around the nation, NBF Presents provides free books to select audiences, as well as subsidized tickets, and aspires to address issues that are most relevant to the communities in which our events take place. In addition to events funded by Mellon with support from the Foundation’s national partners, the 2019 fall season of NBF Presents will include an anchor event in Dallas, Texas tied to the Art for Justice-funded Literature for Justice program, which mobilizes readers around a list of five titles annually on mass incarceration.
In 2019-2020, NBF Presents will offer readings, panels, and conversations to a wide range of communities in regions across the country. NBF authors will explore timely subject matter as part of many of this year’s events: At the New Haven Free Public Library 2019 National Book Awards Longlister Greg Grandin (The End of the Myth, Nonfiction) and 2019 Finalist Carmen Giménez Smith (Be Recorder, Poetry) will have a conversation on borders, both physical and figurative, in shaping identity, history, and literature; at Clark College 2019 National Book Awards Finalist Kali Fajardo-Anstine (Sabrina & Corina, Fiction) and 2019 Longlister Kimberly King Parsons (Black Light, Fiction) will discuss their work and contemporary female identity in literature; and novelist Brandon Hobson (Where the Dead Sit Talking, 2018 Finalist) and poet Danez Smith (Don’t Call Us Dead, 2017 Finalist) will discuss literature that resists stereotypes and centers contemporary Americans struggling for more than survival both on and off the page at the Southern Festival of Books.
“NBF Presents is a core part of the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to building readers,” said Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “There is an appetite for literature in every nook and cranny of this country and the Foundation aims to support readers and communities with as much access to incredible literary work and authors as possible. Whether through an NBF-produced public event, the provision of free tickets to an existing local literary event, or providing free books—everything that NBF Presents does is with an eye towards the making literature accessible and present in all communities.”
Past and present National Book Award-honored authors, including current 2019 Longlisters and Finalists, confirmed to appear at NBF Presents events in the fall season include Hanif Abdurraqib, Laurie Halse Anderson, Sarah M. Broom, Jericho Brown, Susan Choi, Jennifer Croft, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Greg Grandin, Brandon Hobson, Victoria Johnson, Ilya Kaminsky, Sigrid Nunez, Kimberly King Parsons, Julia Phillips, Jason Reynolds, Randy Ribay, Raquel Salas Rivera, Carmen Giménez Smith, Danez Smith, Nafissa Thompson-Spires, and David Treuer, with more to come. Additionally, the events will feature renowned moderators and Literature for Justice-highlighted authors asha bandele, Susan Burton, Rachel Kushner, and Danielle Sered and committee members Michelle Alexander, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Zachary Lazar, and Kelly Lytle Hernandez.
While the season will see the return of programming with partners in New York, Miami, Portland, Texas, and more, the Foundation is also newly partnering with the New Haven Free Public Library, three colleges and universities, including Fisk University and Clark Community College, as well as two festivals, the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville and the Baltimore Book Festival.
Since its launch last year, NBF Presents has put an emphasis on working with partners at a variety of presenting venues, including public libraries able to program around their communities’ audiences and interests. For the last event of the 2018-2019 season, National Book Award Winners Ibram X. Kendi (Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America) and Justin Phillip Reed (Indecency) visited the Roanoke Public Libraries newest branch and spoke to an audience of over 300 community members.
“Our turnout showed that area residents are craving book-based discussions on important issues,” said Marissa Blankinship, community services assistant for the Roanoke Public Libraries. “We were thrilled to see how the event brought people of all walks of life and all parts of town—and even as far away as Richmond, a three-hour drive—to the brand-new Melrose Library. This event has given our community new momentum.”
Partners, audience members, and participating authors alike find NBF Presents programming offers a unique opportunity in creating community dialogue through literature. At the 2019 Brooklyn Book Festival, the Foundation kicked off their fall programming with a panel discussion moderated by Executive Director Lisa Lucas and featuring 2018 Longlisters and Finalists on the importance of award recognition bringing to light stories across genre, topic, and perspective.
“The best part about being honored by the National Book Awards is becoming a part of the ‘after’—the work of the [Foundation’s] public programming to get into classrooms and communities around the country,” said 2018 National Book Award Longlister and NBF Presents program participant Nafissa Thompson-Spires (Heads of the Colored People).
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.
September 22, 2:00pm EST
Brooklyn Book Festival
NBF Presents: An Afternoon with the National Book Awards
Join four acclaimed authors honored by the 2018 National Book Awards for an engaging discussion on craft, recognition, and the vital importance of literature. Featuring writers working widely across subject and genre, the panel includes translator Jennifer Croft (Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, Finalist, Translated Literature), Victoria Johnson (American Eden, Finalist, Nonfiction), Raquel Salas Rivera (lo terciario / the tertiary, Longlist, Poetry), and Nafissa Thompson-Spires (Heads of the Colored People, Longlist, Fiction). Moderated by Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation.
October 3, 7:30pm CST
NBF Presents: The National Book Awards at Concordia College
Celebrating 14 years of programming at Concordia College, the Foundation returns to Minnesota to present a reading and conversation with 2018 Fiction Winner Sigrid Nunez (The Friend) and 2018 Nonfiction Finalist Victoria Johnson (American Eden). Moderated by Stephanie Curtis, senior producer at MPR News and founder of The Thread, MPR News’ multiform books initiative. This event is made possible by Concordia College in honor of Dr. Earl Lewis.
October 13, 3:30pm CST
Southern Festival of Books
NBF Presents: Changing the Narrative
At the Southern Festival of Books, join two National Book Award Finalists, novelist Brandon Hobson (Where the Dead Sit Talking, 2018) and poet Danez Smith (Don’t Call Us Dead, 2017), for a conversation on writing that will explore what it means to fight for more than just survival in contemporary America and the realities of queer and Native bodies living in rural Oklahoma to Minnesota. Moderated by Ciona Rouse, poet and co-host of the literary podcast, Re/VERB.
October 14, 3:00pm CST
NBF Presents: Writing Survival
Novelist Brandon Hobson (Where the Dead Sit Talking, 2018 National Book Award Finalist) and poet Danez Smith (Don’t Call Us Dead, 2017 National Book Award Finalist) follow their appearance at the Southern Festival of Books to discuss literature that resists stereotypes and centers contemporary Americans struggling for more than survival both on and off the page. This event is open to students, faculty, and community members at Fisk University and to the public. Moderated by Ciona Rouse, poet and co-host of the literary podcast, Re/VERB.
October 26, 11:00am CST
Texas Book Festival
NBF Presents: A Morning with the National Book Awards
One month before the 70th Annual National Book Awards, join the National Book Foundation at the Texas Book Festival for the fall season’s first preview featuring 2019 Awards Finalists and Longlisters—and potential Winners—Sarah M. Broom (The Yellow House, Nonfiction), Jericho Brown (The Tradition, Poetry), Julia Phillips (Disappearing Earth, Fiction), and Randy Ribay (Patron Saints of Nothing, Young People’s Literature). Across subject and genre, the conversation will highlight some of the best contemporary literature in America.
November 3, 5:00pm EST
Baltimore Book Festival
NBF Presents: Captive No More
Join National Book Awards Finalist Shane McCrae (In the Language of My Captor, Poetry) and former 5 Under 35 honoree Danielle Evans (Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self) at the Baltimore Book Festival for a conversation on the stories of mixed-race Americans struggling to break free of black and white stereotypes.
November 6, 6:00pm EST
New Haven, CT
New Haven Free Public Library
NBF Presents: Border Stories
Join current 2019 National Book Awards Longlister Greg Grandin (The End of the Myth, Nonfiction) and Finalist Carmen Giménez Smith (Be Recorder, Poetry) for a conversation on borders, both physical and figurative, in shaping identity, history, and literature. This event is presented in partnership with the New Haven Free Public Library and will be followed by a reception and celebration of NHFPL’s National Medal for Museum and Library Service.
November 7, 12:00pm PST
NBF Presents: The Female Gaze
Current 2019 National Book Awards Fiction Finalist Kali Fajardo-Anstine (Sabrina & Corina) and Longlister Kimberly King Parsons (Black Light) visit Clark College’s Columbia Writers Series for a reading and discussion on building buzz around debut short story collections and highlighting the many faces of contemporary female identity in literature. The conversation will be followed by a book signing and is open to students, faculty, and community members.
November 9, 10:00am PST
Portland Book Festival
NBF Presents: A Morning with the National Book Awards
Two weeks before the 70th Annual National Book Awards, join the National Book Foundation at the Portland Book Festival for a showcase event featuring 2019 Awards Finalists and Longlisters Laurie Halse Anderson (SHOUT, Young People’s Literature), Kali Fajardo-Anstine (Sabrina & Corina, Fiction), Kimberly King Parsons (Black Light, Fiction), and David Treuer (The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee, Nonfiction) before the reveal of this year’s Winners. The panel will feature readings and conversation.
November 19, 7:00pm EST
New York City, NY
The New School
2019 National Book Awards Finalists Reading
Each fall, on the night before the National Book Awards, all of the Finalists gather at the New School to read from their honored titles at a signature Awards event that is open to the public. The 2019 reading will feature the Finalists in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Young People’s Literature, and Translated Literature. Tickets are $10 to attend. This event is made possible by the New School.
November 22, 6:00pm EST
Miami Book Fair
An Evening with the National Book Awards Winners, Finalists, and Longlisters
Fresh from the 2019 National Book Awards, join the National Book Foundation at the Miami Book Fair for a special evening that highlights the best of contemporary literature in America. Every 2019 National Book Award Longlister, Finalist, and Winner is invited to Miami for a super-sized Awards reading—the first chance to hear from these honored authors following the whirlwind of the National Book Awards. The reading will feature recognized works from all Awards categories, including Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Young People’s Literature, and Translated Literature. Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation, will moderate the evening. This event is made possible by the generosity of the James L. Knight Foundation.
December 12, 6:00pm CST
African American Museum of Dallas
Literature for Justice: Women Writing Beyond Bars
The National Book Foundation’s Literature for Justice program seeks to contextualize mass incarceration through an annual reading list of five books. In 2019, our highlighted titles, all authored by women, were selected by committee members Michelle Alexander, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Zachary Lazar, Kelly Lytle Hernandez, and Shaka Senghor. Join the National Book Foundation and the African American Museum of Dallas for the second-year launch to honor and delve into these works. The event will feature brief readings from four of the recognized authors—asha bandele (The Prisoner’s Wife), Susan Burton (Becoming Ms. Burton), Rachel Kushner (The Mars Room), and Danielle Sered (Until We Reckon); a conversation with the authors alongside committee members Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow), Reginald Dwayne Betts (Shahid Reads His Own Palm), Zachary Lazar (Vengeance), and Kelly Lytle Hernandez (City of Inmates); and a question-and-answer session with the audience. A book signing will follow. This event is made possible by the Art for Justice Fund.
Unless otherwise noted, all programs made possible by our partners and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
For times and locations for events, please visit the Foundation’s events calendar at www.nationalbook.org/events-calendar or the websites of any of our partners.