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Virginia Festival of the Book announces keynote speaker, community read

Virginia Festival of the BookThe Virginia Festival of the Book announced two headlining speakers for the upcoming hybrid festival taking place March 16-20.

Traci Chee’s We Are Not Free, a National Book Award finalist book for young readers, is the 2022 Jefferson-Madison Regional Library Same Page Community Read selection. The 2022 Festival will feature Chee in two public events and one school event, discussing the Same Page title as well as her new release, A Thousand Steps Into Night, a Japanese-influenced fantasy brimming with demons, adventure, and plans gone awry.

Chee is a bestselling and award-winning author of books for young people. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, egg painting, bonsai gardening, and hosting game nights for family and friends. She lives in California with her fast dog.

Dr. Imani Perry will be the 2022 Carol Troxell Reader with her captivating and incisive new book, South to America: A Journey Below the Mason Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation. An Alabama native, Perry returns to the region of her upbringing in this book, crafting a narrative of the real people and places that make up what we abstractly consider the South, ultimately revealing the deep-seated truths and definitions they hold of America’s past and present.

As the 2022 Carol Troxell Reader, Dr. Perry will be featured in public programming at the 2022 Virginia Festival of the Book.

“We are thrilled to announce Dr. Imani Perry as our 2022 Carol Troxell Reader and to offer this additional honor in recognition of the breadth and importance of her work,” Virginia Festival of the Book Director Jane Kulow said. “As a scholar of law, literary and cultural studies, and an author of creative nonfiction her books have reached academic and public audiences and received numerous prestigious awards. We look forward to hearing her read from South to America in March. I think Carol would be excited by this choice!”

Perry, author of South to America, is the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University where she also teaches in Gender and Sexuality Studies, Law and Public Affairs and Jazz Studies. A native of Birmingham, Ala., she lives outside of Philadelphia with her sons.


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