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National Book Awards Hosts OCB Panel For Third Year

For the third year in a row, the National Book Foundation hosts National Book Awards nominees in one of the most highly anticipated panels at the Oxford Conference for the Book. This year, you won’t want to miss José Olivarez (Promises of Gold, NBA Longlist) and Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Chain-Gang All-Stars, NBA Finalist) in a conversation with moderator and 2023 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters award-winner Melissa Ginsberg at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, April 4 in Archives and Special Collections of the J. D. Williams Library on the University of Mississippi Campus. A lunch is sponsored by Friends of the Library preceding the NBF panel at 11 a.m. and is free by registering here.

Besides the Book Conference, for the third year running, the National Book Foundation will partner with Coahoma Community College and Coahoma County Higher Education Center (CCHEC) on programming in Clarksdale.

Both events feature National Book Award-honored authors Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah and José Olivarez. Adjei-Brenyah, a past National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree, is the author of the novel Chain-Gang All-Stars, a Finalist for the 2023 National Book Award for Fiction that draws inspiration from ancient gladiator-style fighting and modern professional supports to shine a light on the way mass incarceration functions in the United States. Olivarez is the author of Promises of Gold, a Longlister for the 2023 National Book Award for Poetry that includes a complete translation from Olivarez’s English into Spanish by poet David Ruano González. In the collection, Olivarez reflects on the many kinds of love, and his experience as the son of Mexican immigrants in the US.

NBF Presents: Imagining New Worlds on Wednesday, April 3 at 11:15 a.m. at Whiteside Hall at Coahoma Community College, moderated by January Gill O’Neil, author of, most recently, Glitter Road.

The authors will read from and discuss their most recent work, across genres; how to build new worlds through writing; and the myth of the American dream inside and outside of contemporary literature. The events will include audience question-and-answer sessions and are followed by book signings. Both events are free and open to the public, but attendees are encouraged to RSVP on the National Book Foundation website.

“We are thrilled that the National Book Foundation is returning to the Delta for a third year of partner programming, connecting National Book Award–honored authors and their work with the next generation of writers and readers,” said Jen Waller, Director of the Coahoma County Higher Education Center. “Clarksdale is a vibrant community of book lovers eager to engage with such high-caliber programming.”

The events are part of NBF Presents, the Foundation’s public programming, which brings honored authors around the country to reach readers everywhere. The spring season of NBF Presents features more than 20 authors in 12 cities from February through May 2024.

“This spring season, we look forward to collaborating with our inspiring programming partners in Mississippi to ensure that writers and readers alike are able to immerse themselves in the country’s vibrant book culture, in the South and beyond,” said Ruth Dickey, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation.

The mission of the National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards, is to celebrate the best literature published in the United States, expand its audience, and ensure that books have a prominent place in our culture.