Mar 16, 2018
Virginia Festival of the Book, Virginia Humanities

The 24th annual Virginia Festival of the Book opens next week on Wednesday, March 21 and will feature five days of readings and panel discussions spotlighting everyone from bestselling authors to debut writers. Sponsored by the Virginia Humanities, the festival has become the largest community-based book event in the mid-Atlantic region. Arts & Sciences faculty will participate in a series of Festival readings and discussions this year, both as featured authors and as panel moderators. For more information on the Festival, visit the official website:

A chronological list of Virginia Festival of the Book events featuring UVA faculty, including Commonwealth Professor of English Rita Dove’s conversation with Anisfield-Wolf Book Award-winning authors Peter Ho Davies (The Fortunes), Tyehimba Jess (Olio) and Margo Lee Shetterly (Hidden Figures) is included below:

Wednesday, March 21

Domesticity & Democracy: Matters of Race, Gender, Sexuality
2–3:30 p.m., UVA Bookstore

Authors Susan Fraiman (English, Extreme Domesticity), Johann Neem (Senior Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, Democracy’s Schools), and Rachel Wahl (Curry SchoolJust Violence) discuss essential aspects of culture and human rights, how these norms came to be, how they are viewed and used in the United States and other countries, and how this affects us all.

Moderated by Corinne Field (Women, Gender & Sexuality)

The Civil War: Personal Stories, Stunning Tales
2-3:30 p.m., City Council Chambers (605 E. Main St.)

Sponsored by the John L. Nau III Center for the Study of the American Civil War, authors Barbara Bellows (Two Charlestonians at War), John Bicknell (Lincoln’s Pathfinder), and Cate Lineberry (Be Free or Die) discuss their recent books that provide insights into the counterpoint of two soldiers from Charleston, resounding impacts of political campaigns, and Robert Smalls’ triumphant choice to free himself and his family from slavery.

Moderated by William B. Kurtz (John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History).

The Lost Book of the Grail
4–5:30 p.m., New Dominion Bookshop

Author Charlie Lovett (The Lost Book of the Grail) discusses his newest book and its tale of bibliophiles, ancient manuscripts, an English Cathedral, and a competition between preserving ancient manuscripts versus digitizing them. Perfect for booklovers on either side of that argument.

Moderated by Barbara Heritage (Rare Book School).

Engaging with History through Fiction
4-5:30 p.m., Barnes & Noble, Barracks Road Shopping Center

Camille Di Maio (Before the Rain Falls), co-authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie (My Dear Hamilton), and Shelly Sackier (The Freemason’s Daughter) discuss their historical fiction.

Moderated by Lisa Grimes (Center for Undergraduate Excellence).

Growing Hemp in Virginia: Then & Now
6-7:30 p.m., City Council Chambers

Emily Dufton (Grass Roots: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Marijuana in America) and Doug Fine (Hemp Bound: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Next Agricultural Revolution) discuss the history, legality, and finer aspects of growing hemp, a crop farmed by Thomas Jefferson.

Moderated by Michael Timko (Biology).

Thursday, March 22

New Orleans: Unflinching Fiction
10-11:30 a.m., Central JMRL Library (201 E. Market St.)

John Gregory Brown (A Thousand Miles from Home), Nathaniel Rich (King Zeno), and Margaret Wilkerson Sexton (A Kind of Freedom), discuss their novels, each offering converging stories of lives haunted by despair, cowardice, or Jim Crow.
Moderated by Paul Reyes (VQR).

Words Coming Alive: On Reading and Writing
10 a.m. to noon, UVA Harrison Institute/Special Collections

Maud Casey (The Art of Mystery), Mark Edmundson (English/Why Write?), and Gregory Orr (English/A Primer for Poets and Readers of Poetry) discuss their work, which encourages both writers and readers to delve into the intricate and deeply rewarding process of reading and creating poetry and prose.
Moderated by Bruce Holsinger (English).

Facts on the Ground: A Poetry Reading
Noon-1:30 p.m., UVA Harrison Institute/Small Special Collections

Explore the specific gravity of David Rigsbee (This Much I Can Tell You), Hayden Saunier (How to Wear This Body), and Ron Smith (The Humility of the Brutes).

Moderated by John T. Casteen, IV (English).

Economic Inequality: What’s in Your Wallet?
Noon–1:30 p.m., City Council Chambers (605 E. Main St.)

Mehrsa Baradaran (The Color of Money), Keith Payne (The Broken Ladder), and Richard V. Reeves (Dream Hoarders) discuss political, societal, and economic forces behind economic inequality, why the damage of inequality is widespread, and how it affects us all.

Moderated by Andrew Kahrl (History/Carter G. Woodson).

Weather: An Illustrated History, From Cloud Atlases to Climate Change
12:30 p.m.–1:45 p.m., Clark Hall 108

A discussion with author Andrew Revkin (Weather: An Illustrated History).

Moderated by Stephen Macko (Environmental Sciences.)

Pot, Fast Horses, and Cocaine Cowboys: Drugs in America
2–3:30 p.m., City Council Chambers (605 E. Main St.)

Emily Dufton (Grassroots: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Marijuana in America), Roben Farzad (Hotel Scarface: Where Cocaine Cowboys Partied and Plotted to Control Miami), and Joe Tone (Bones: Brothers, Horses, Cartels, and the Borderland Dream) discuss the complex and morally dubious role drugs play in America, following the path to marijuana’s legalization, a look at the seedy underbelly of the 1970s Miami cocaine trade, and the cross-border relationship of brothers stuck between morality and greed.

Moderated by Kisha Lashley (McIntire School of Commerce.)

Fiercely Original Fiction: Marriages
2-3:30 p.m., Central JMRL Library (201 E. Market St.)

Thomas Pierce (Creative Writing alumnus/The Afterlives) and Jamie Quatro (Fire Sermon) discuss their novels and the fascinating paths their characters follow through marriage, desire, faith, and, perhaps, the afterlife.

Moderated by Sierra Bellows (Creative Writing alumna).

Strange Gates: A Poetry Reading
2-3:30 p.m., New Dominion Bookshop (404 E. Main St.)

Cross bewildering boundaries with Christina Pugh (Perception), Tom Sleigh (House of Fact, House of Ruin: Poems), and Mary-Sherman Willis (Jean Cocteau’s Grace Notes / Appogiatures).

Moderated by Molly Minturn (English ’02/A&S Dean’s Office).

The Wizard and the Prophet
3:30-4:30 p.m., Clark Hall 108

Author Charles Mann (The Wizard and the Prophet) speaks in a UVA Environmental Sciences departmental seminar moderated by Stephen Macko (Environmental Sciences).

WriterHouse Workshop: How to Get Started as a Writer
4–5:30 p.m., Central JMRL Library FILLED

Mark Edmundson (English) leads a vibrant discussion of how to jump start your writing and sustain your writing practices so that you can begin telling the stories you want to tell. This free workshop is limited to 25 participants. To participate, register by emailing

Both Sides Now: Taking Diplomacy Seriously
4–5:30 p.m., City Council Chambers (605 E. Main St.)

Marcus Holmes (Face-to-Face Diplomacy: Social Neuroscience and International Relations), Trita Parsi (Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran, and the Triumph of Diplomacy), and Todd S. Sechser (Politics/Nuclear Weapons and Coercive Diplomacy) discuss the intricacies of diplomacy in our challenging world, using research, case studies, and the experience of being in the room.

Criminal Injustice: Bias, Incompetence & Excess
4 – 5:30 p.m., Jefferson School African American Heritage Center (233 4th St. NW)

Authors Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington (The Cadaver King and The Country Dentist), Brandon L. Garrett (UVA School of Law/End of Its Rope), and Bill Sizemore (A Far, Far Better Thing) discuss their work, exposing critical fractures in our American criminal justice system.

Moderated by novelist John Grisham.

Printing Abolition: How the Fight to Abolish the Slave Trade in Britain Was Won
4–5:30 p.m., UVA Harrison Institute/Small Special Collections

Michael Suarez (Rare Book School) discusses how a targeted publishing program enlivened the British public to the horrors of the slave trade, leading to its abolition in 1808.

Friday, March 23

Hidden Lives: Exploring Our Relationship with Animals
10–11:30 a.m., Barnes & Noble (Barracks Road Shopping Center)

Barbara King, (Personalities on the Plate), Abbie Gascho Landis (Immersion), and Maryn McKenna (Big Chicken) discuss our surprising connections to animals through the food we eat, water we drink, and medications we need.

Moderated by Tanya Denckla Cobb (UVA Institute for Environmental Negotiation).

The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir
10-11:30 a.m., Jefferson School African American Heritage Center (233 4th St. NW)

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir) discusses her remarkable story, a mixture of true crime and her own life story, both involving violence, abuse, secrets, and silence.

In conversation with Anne Coughlin (UVA School of Law).

Surveillance vs. Privacy: NSA, DARPA, and More
10-11:30 a.m., UVA Harrison Institute/Small Special Collections

Russell Miller (Privacy and Power: A Transatlantic Dialogue in the Shadow of the NSA-Affair) and Sharon Weinberger (The Imagineers of War: The Untold Story of DARPA, the Pentagon Agency That Changed the World) dive into the deep recesses of government to examine the work of the intelligence community and who it serves, from the beginning of DARPA, through Snowden’s disclosures, and the “deep state” of today.

Moderated by Aditya Bamzai (UVA School of Law).

Queering the Narrative
Noon–1:30 p.m., CitySpace (100 5th St. NE)

Jim Downs (Stand By Me: The Forgotten History of Gay Liberation) and Dan Kois (The World Only Spins Forward: The Ascent of Angels in America) discuss their new books and the role of pop culture and mainstream media in often overlooked LGBTQ histories.

Moderated by Doug Meyer (Women, Gender & Sexuality).

Polyvocal Poetry: PEAL–Sound and Resound
Noon-1 p.m., Congregation Beth Israel (301 E. Jefferson St.)

Randall Couch (PEAL) and performers from Charlottesville-based Orchestral Maneuvers present an inter-genre work, combining aspects of text art, algorithmic composition, and conceptualist poetry. The presentation will include an introduction with background on change-ringing and the book’s genesis, followed by a reading and polyvocal performance.

Moderated by Sandra Bain Cushman (Music/Contemplative Sciences Center).

UVA Creative Writing Alumni Reading
Noon-1:30 p.m., UVA Bookstore

Adam Giannelli (Tremulous Hinge), Brendan Mathews (World of Tomorrow), Brittany Perham (Double Portrait) and Brian Sneeden (Last City), read from their newest works.

Moderated by Jeb Livingood (Creative Writing).

China’s Rise: International Relations
Noon-1:30 p.m., UVA Harrison Institute/Small Special Collections

Amitai Etzioni (Avoiding War with China) and Howard French (Everything Under the Heavens) take on U.S.-China relations, sorting through contexts of history, strategy, and current events.

Moderated by Brantly Womack (Politics).

Eat Me: Cookbooks for All Tastes and Moods
Noon-1:30 p.m., Barnes & Noble (Barracks Road Shopping Center)

Jamie DeMent (The Farmhouse Chef), Ken Haedrich (The Harvest Baker), Barbara Pleasant (Homegrown Pantry), and Lindsey Smith (Eat Your Feelings) share stories about their time in the kitchen and garden, and discuss their cookbooks, which represent a wide variety of ingredients, techniques, and cooking traditions.

Moderated by Tanya Denckla Cobb (UVA Institute for Environmental Negotiation).

Racist Ideas in America: From Slavery to Black Lives Matter
2-3:30 p.m., University Baptist Church (1223 W. Main St.)

Ibram X. Kendi (Stamped from the Beginning), one of the nation’s most prolific and accomplished young professors of race, writing and speaking to both scholarly and general audiences, delivers a keynote lecture.

Moderated by Derrick Alridge (Curry School of Education) and Tony Tian-Ren Lin (Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture).

Fiction: International Stories, Shared Humanities
2-3:30 p.m., Central JMRL Library (201 E. Market St.)

Adrienne Benson (The Brightest Sun), Annabelle Kim (Tiger Pelt), and Katia D. Ulysse (Mouths Don’t Speak) discuss international disasters, resilience, and the heartbreaking impact on interwoven lives.

Moderated by Marlene Daut (Carter G. Woodson).

Exploring Life’s Landscapes: Essays
2-3:30 p.m., New Dominion Bookshop (404 E. Main St.)

Thomas Mira Y Lopez (The Book of Resting Places) and Jessie van Eerden (The Long Weeping) discuss their essays drawing on personal experience, history, mythology, religious tradition, and the landscapes of love and loss.

Moderated by Allison Wright (VQR).

American Studies: Dick, Ike & DARPA
2-3:30 p.m., City Council Chambers (605 E. Main St.)

John Farrell (Richard Nixon: The Life), Will Hitchcock (History/The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s), and Sharon Weinberger (The Imagineers of War: The Untold Story of DARPA, the Pentagon Agency that Changed the World) discuss their masterful portraits of the Presidents and the secret work of DARPA and where their stories collide.

Southern Food and Race: A Conversation
2-3:30 p.m., UVA Bookstore

Join Michael W. Twitty (The Cooking Gene) and A&S faculty members Gertrude Fraser (Anthropology/Carter G. Woodson) and Lisa Shutt(Carter G. Woodson) for a discussion on race, power, cultural appropriation, and cultural diffusion in the world of Southern food writing and culinary politics.

The Civil War: Reconstruction, Treason & Memory
2-3:30 p.m., UVA Harrison Institute/Small Special Collections

Former A&S Dean Ed Ayers (The Thin Light of Freedom), Barbara Gannon (Americans Remember Their Civil War), and Cynthia Nicoletti (UVA School of Law/Secession on Trial), discuss their recent Civil War histories, exploring the war through the perspectives of similar counties in Virginia and Pennsylvania, through the question of prosecution of Jefferson Davis for treason, and through our public efforts to commemorate and remember.

Moderated by George Gilliam (History).

Things Unseen: Race in America Today
4-5:30 p.m., UVA Ruth Caplin Theatre (109 Culbreth Road)

Garnette Cadogan (Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture fellow), Kima Jones, and Kevin Young discuss their contributions to The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race, exploring and reacting to race in America in a present-day response to James Baldwin’s 1963 examination, The Fire Next Time.

Moderated by Carmenita Higginbotham (Art). This program is free to attend, but tickets must be reserved through UVA Arts Box Office.

Exploring Land and History
4-5:30 p.m., CitySpace (100 5th St. NE)

S. Max Edelson (History/The New Map of Empire: How Britain Imagined America Before Independence), Lynn Rainville (Virginia and the Great War: Mobilization, Supply, and Combat, 1914-1919), and Camille Wells (Material Witness: Domestic Architecture and Plantation Landscapes in Early Virginia), discuss the inexorable ties of geography to history, conquest, and conflict.

Democracy: Good & Bad Government
4-5:30 p.m., City Council Chambers (605 E. Main St.)

David Goldfield (The Gifted Generation) and Nancy MacLean (Democracy in Chains) discuss their work, relating the history of the post-WWII American government support for the betterment of the entire nation and the six-decade effort by the radical right to alter the rules of governance, taking power from the majority to restrict democracy itself.

Moderated by Brian Balogh (History).

Bibliographical Society at UVA
4-5:30 p.m., UVA Harrison Institute/Small Special Collections

University of Virginia graduate students, performing research in various fields of bibliographical scholarship, present their work. The presenters and topics include:

Bridget Reilly: “Illustrations in The Atlantic Souvenir”
Victoria Tovig: “The Binding of the 1894 Century Edition of Kipling’s The Jungle Book”
Aubrey Geyer: “The Editing of American Women’s Magazines in 1945”
Neal David Curtis and Samuel Vincent Lemley: “Reconstructing the University of Virginia’s First Library”

Saturday, March 24

Civic Activism: 1960s Protests for Equal Access
10-11:30 a.m., Jefferson School African American Heritage Center (233 4th St. NW)

Andrew Kahrl (History/Free the Beaches: The Story of Ned Coll and the Battle for America’s Most Exclusive Shoreline) and Wayne Wiegand (The Desegregation of Public Libraries in the Jim Crow South: Civil Rights and Local Activism) discuss their work. Robert Williams, who protested at the Danville Public Library in 1960, will also participate.

Short Fiction with Long-Lasting Effects
Noon to 2 p.m., McGuffey Art Center (201 2nd St. NW)

Carmen Maria Machado (Her Body and Other Parties) and Eric Puchner (Last Day on Earth) discuss how their work blends domesticity, dystopia, and fantasy with questions of gender and sexuality.

Moderated by Allison Wright (VQR).

Social Structures, Political Struggles
Noon to 1:30 p.m., Jefferson School African American Heritage Center (233 4th St. NW)

Talitha LeFlouria (Carter G. Woodson) moderates a discussion with Angela Hattery and Earl Smith (Policing Black Bodies), and Keeanga-Yahmatta Taylor (How We Get Free) about how they explore systems of structural racism, as well as potential and radical strategies to work for change.

American Politics: Left, Right & Center
Noon to 1:30 p.m., City Council Chambers (605 E. Main St.)

Carah Ong Whaley (Politics) moderates a discussion with Jason Altmire (Dead Center), Nicole Hemmer (Messengers of the Right), and Caitriona Perry (In America: Tales from Trump Country) about the deep polarization in our politics, American media, and our country.

Living in a Mindful Universe
Noon to 1:30 p.m., Meade Hall, Christ Episcopal Church (120 West High St.)

Edward Kelly (UVA Division of Perceptual Studies) moderates a discussion with Eben Alexander and Karen Newell (Living in a Mindful Universe) on their newest work, including insights on consciousness and the mindful universe, offering opportunities to deepen the connection to your soul’s journey and how it interrelates with all of evolving consciousness.

Wandering Women, Big City: Fiction
Noon to 1:30 p.m., New Dominion Bookshop (404 E. Main St.)

Garnette Cadogan (Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture fellow) moderates a discussion with Hermione Hoby (Neon in Daylight) and Kathleen Rooney (Lillian Boxfish Talks a Walk) about their characters, deeply-observed women walking and living in gritty and glorious New York City, a character in itself.

Marriage Beyond Borders: Fact & Fiction
2-3:30 p.m., City Council Chambers (605 E. Main St.)

Shilpa Davé (A&S assistant dean, Media Studies) moderates a discussion with Elizabeth Flock (The Heart is a Shifting Sea: Love and Marriage in Mumbai) and SJ Sindu (Marriage of a Thousand Lies: A Novel) about the intimate perspectives they provide on marriages: arranged, loving, truthful, and otherwise.

Crime Wave: Edge-of-Your-Seat Thrillers
2-3:30 p.m., Omni Hotel, Ballroom B (212 Ridge McIntire Road)

Elizabeth Ellcessor (Media Studies) moderates a discussion with novelists Karen Cleveland (Need to Know), Thomas Enger (Cursed), Mark Henshaw (The Last Man in Tehran), and Tom Rosenstiel (Shining City).

Digging Science: Brilliant, Sloppy, or Mangled
4-5:30 p.m., City Council Chambers (605 E. Main St.)

Dayna Matthew (UVA School of Law) moderates a discussion with Richard Harris (Rigor Mortis), Dave Levitan (Not A Scientist), and Meredith Wadman (The Vaccine Race) about their important work related to science literacy, policy, ethics, and politics.

Life’s Essential Questions: A Conversation with Jim Ryan
4-5:30 p.m., Paramount Theater (SOLD OUT)

The incoming president of UVA discusses his book (Wait, What? And Life’s Other Essential Questions) with his friend and marathon running coach, Mark Lorenzoni.

America Ablaze: Fires & Cheap Lives
4-5:30 p.m. (Central JMRL Library, 201 E. Market St.)

Grace Hale (American Studies, History) moderates a discussion with Monica Hesse (American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land) and Bryant Simon (The Hamlet Fire: A Tragic Story of Cheap Food, Cheap Government, and Cheap Lives) about their stories of poverty, desperation, and tragedy in rural America.

The Fight for Women’s Right to Vote
4-5:30 p.m., Jefferson School African American Heritage Center (233 4th St. NW)

Corinne Field (Women, Gender & Sexuality) moderates a discussion with Johanna Neuman (Gilded Suffragists) and Elaine Weiss (The Woman’s Hour) about the efforts of suffragists and the down-to-the-wire campaign to achieve women’s right to vote, an almost 100-hundred-year-old story that continues to resonate today with its aspects of civil rights, tactics, race, and class.

Sunday, March 25

Transformative Steps & Lives
1-2:30 p.m., UVA Bookstore

Matt Hedstrom (Religious Studies, American Studies) moderates a discussion with Diana Butler Bass (Grateful), Karen Wright Marsh (Vintage Saints & Sinners), and Adrian Shirk (And Your Daughters Shall Prophesy) as they explore the transformative powers of gratitude, faith, and shared stories.

Writing the American Story: Diverse Voices in Distinguished Books
3-4:30 p.m., Jefferson School African American Heritage Center (233 4th St. NW)

Rita Dove (English) moderates a discussion with 2017 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award recipients Peter Ho Davies (The Fortunes), Tyehimba Jess (Olio), and Margot Lee Shetterly (Hidden Figures) about their writing and insights about race and culture, with a particular focus on the events of last August in Charlottesville.

Lorenzo Perez
Original Publication: College of Arts and Sciences