From social media to social justice, environmental awareness to historic figures, University of Virginia faculty, staff and alumni will share their scholarship and creativity at this week’s Virginia Festival of the Book.
The festival, which runs from Wednesday through Sunday, is co-sponsored by the Virginia Center for the Book and produced by Virginia Humanities, which is affiliated with UVA.
With more than 130 programs, most of them free, it might be difficult to choose which events to attend. Here’s a selection of events with UVA participants who will discuss their work and related topics. They also lend their support in countless ways, especially as panel discussion moderators.
• Tech Wars: How Social Media Undermines Democracy
Wednesday, 6:30 p.m., Garrett Hall
Siva Vaidhyanathan, the Robertson Professor of Media Studies and director of the Center for Media and Citizenship, will discuss his most recent book, “Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy.” Kathleen Hall Jamieson, a professor at University of Pennsylvania, will join him to talk about her new book, “Cyberwar,” which examines Russian hackers, trolls and bots who reshaped American public opinion through social media platforms, using data analytics to achieve maximum impact.
• #Charlottesville: Perspectives on August 2017
Wednesday, 2 p.m., Central Jefferson-Madison Regional Library McIntire Room
Claudrena Harold and Louis Nelson edited “Charlottesville 2017: The Legacy of Race and Inequity,” a collection of essays by UVA faculty members. They will discuss the violent “Unite the Right” white supremacist rallies of Aug. 11 and 12, 2017 with Hawes Spencer, who wrote “Summer of Hate” about the weekend. Examining the roots, after-effects and opportunities for healing stemming from those events, their work also shows that our past is very much a part of our present. Frank Dukes, a professor in UVA’s Institute for Environmental Negotiation, will moderate the conversation.
• Rebels with a Cause
Friday, 10 a.m., Jefferson School African American Heritage Center
Commonwealth Professor of Religious Studies Charles Marsh, who directs the Project on Lived Theology, recently edited “Can I Get a Witness? Thirteen Peacemakers, Community Builders, and Agitators for Faith & Justice,” a collection of biographical essays on unexpected and underappreciated leaders in struggles for justice and equality. He and Hal Crowther, author of “Freedom Fighters and Hell Raisers: A Gallery of Memorable Southerners,” will discuss their collections, with history professor emeritus Phyllis Leffler as moderator.
• Civil War: Places, Politics, and Armies
Friday, noon, UVA Harrison Institute /Small Special Collections Library auditorium
Elizabeth R. Varon, Langbourne M. Williams Professor of American History at UVA and associate director of the John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History, will talk about her latest book, “Armies of Deliverance,” with historians J. Matthew Gallman, co-editor of “Civil War Places,” and Stephen E. Maizlish, author of “A Strife of Tongues.”
• Native Lives: Past and Present
Friday, 4 p.m., CitySpace
Jeffrey Hantman, professor emeritus of anthropology, is the author of “Monacan Millennium: A Collaborative Archaeology and History of a Virginia Indian People” and coeditor of “Across the Continent: Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, and the Making of America.” Join him with Susan Harness (“Bitterroot”) and Greg Smithers (“Native Southerners”) for a discussion concerning early American history, being born Native and raised outside of the community, and contemporary representation of Native American narratives.
• The Attractions of Power: Latin America
Friday, 4 p.m., UVA Bookstore
Herbert “Tico” Braun, professor of Latin American history, is a citizen of Colombia and of the U.S., and writes in both English and Spanish. He and Daniel Chavez (“Nicaragua and the Politics of Utopia”) will discuss power in Latin American politics. This program will be presented in English and Spanish, and moderated by Spanish professor Fernando Operé.
• The Renovation of Alderman Library, 2007 to 2023
Friday, 4 p.m., UVA Harrison Institute / Small Special Collections auditorium
John Unsworth is the University librarian and dean of libraries, and professor of English, at UVA. A digital humanities pioneer, he was the first director of UVA’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities. He will be discussing the upcoming renovation of the library, which was first dedicated in 1938.
• Fiction: Seeking New Lives, Elsewhere
Friday, noon, Central Jefferson-Madison Regional Library McIntire Room
Christopher Tilghman, professor of English in UVA’s Creative Writing Program, has just published a new novel, “Thomas and Beal in the Midi,” a portrait of an unusual marriage against the backdrop of the central dilemma of American history, the legacy of slavery and the Civil War. He has written two short-story collections, “In a Father’s Place” and “The Way People Run,” and three previous novels, “The Right-Hand Shore,” “Mason’s Retreat” and “Roads of the Heart.”
Also reading will be Marina Perezagua (“The Story of H”) and Spencer Wise (“The Emperor of Shoes”). The three authors discuss how and why their novels transport readers to far-flung lands, through complex, multi-layered fiction featuring captivating characters.
• UVA Creative Writing Alumni
Friday, 10 a.m., UVA Bookstore
Four UVA alumni will read from their latest work. Libby Burton, author of “Soft Volcano,” is a senior editor at Henry Holt. She earned a B.A. from UVA and an M.F.A. from Columbia University. Laura Eve Engel, author of “Things That Go,” has been a fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. James A. McLaughlin, author of “Bearskin,” grew up in Virginia and holds law and MFA degrees from UVA. Valencia Robin, who earned an M.F.A. in creative writing at UVA, is the author of “Ridiculous Light.” She is the winner of Persea Books’ 2018 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry.
• Poetics of Existence: A Reading
Wednesday, 2 p.m., New Dominion Bookshop
Molly Minturn, who just joined UVA’s Office of Communications and previously earned a B.A. in the English department’s poetry writing program, will read from her new book, “Not In Heaven.” Two other poets will join her: Kristen Staby Rembold, whose latest volume of poetry is “Music Lesson,”and Steve Cushman, author of the poetry collection, “How Birds Fly.” (He is not the same person as UVA English professor Stephen Cushman, who also publishes poetry.)
• A World Built on Bondage: Racism and Human Diversity in Award-Winning Fiction
Sunday, 3 p.m., Jefferson School African American Heritage Center
Rita Dove, Commonwealth Professor of English, will moderate a discussion with Esi Edugyan (“Washington Black”) and John Edgar Wideman (“American Histories”) about the meanings of race, violence and freedom, as explored in their acclaimed fiction. This discussion of their work, and writing that helps make the American story a complete story, will be the official closing program of the festival. The event is co-sponsored by the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, established by the Cleveland Foundation and the only American book prize focusing on works that address racism and diversity. Dove is one of the award’s jurors. Wideman received the foundation’s award for lifetime achievement in 2011, and Edugyan its fiction award in 2012.
For more UVA participants, see the UVA College of Arts & Sciences list here.