National Book Award-Winning Author Speakers


The National Book Awards celebrate the best literature in America, expand its audience, and ensure that books have a prominent place in American culture. These National Book Award-winning author speakers are true literary masters whose work has been recognized by the National Book Foundation.

National Book Awards

Jacqueline Woodson

National Book Award and four-time Newbery Honor Winner, MacArthur Fellow, and bestselling author of Red at the Bone

After winning the 2014 National Book Award for her New York Times-bestselling adolescent memoir Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson went on to publish the adult novel Another Brooklyn, which was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award in Fiction. Woodson is a four-time Newbury Honor winner, a recipient of the NAACP Image Award, was named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation and the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, and most recently received the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. She gives stirring lectures that delve into the inspiration behind her books and explore important issues of race, gender, and bullying.

Phil Klay

U.S. Marine Corps veteran and author of Redeployment, winner of 2014 National Book Award for Fiction

United States Marine Corps veteran Phil Klay wowed critics and readers alike with his short story collection  Redeployment, which was named “one of the best debuts of the year” (The Oregonian) and won the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction.

Ta-Nehisi Coates

#1 New York Times-bestselling author of Between the World and Me and We Were Eight Years in Power

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a distinguished writer in residence at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. He is the author of the bestselling books The Beautiful StruggleWe Were Eight Years in Power, and Between The World And Me, which won the National Book Award in 2015. Ta-Nehisi is a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. He is also the current author of the Marvel comics The Black Panther and Captain America.

Robin Coste Lewis

National Book Award-winning poet, author of Voyage of the Sable Venus

Robin Coste Lewis is an electrifying voice in poetry whose first collection, Voyage of the Sable Venus, won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2015. Both tender and arresting in her poetry, Lewis is also an astute cultural critic, alert to the complexities of race and the Black female voice. She is a personable and brilliant speaker with a fascinating background whose appeal reaches far beyond academic audiences.

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

National Book Award-winning historian and author of How to Be an Antiracist

Ibram X. Kendi is the National Book Award-winning author of Stamped From The Beginning: A Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America and How to Be an Antiracist. His relentless and passionate research puts into question the notion of a post-racial society and opens readers’ and audiences’ eyes to the reality of racism in America today. Kendi’s lectures are sharp, informative, and hopeful, serving as a strong platform for any institution’s discussions on racial discrimination

Sigrid Nunez

Author of the 2018 National Book Award winner and New York Times bestseller, The Friend

A literary sensation and a writer of uncommon talent, Sigrid Nunez is the author of many novels, including the National Book Award winner and New York Times bestseller, The Friend. Her writing spans over a wide range of genres and themes, but the constant is the level of familiarity she achieves with her readers through her intimate and confessional tone. With her quiet wit, poignant prose, and sharp powers of observation, Nunez speaks to audiences about her path to becoming a writer and the craft of writing.

Charles Yu

National Book Award-winning author of Interior Chinatown

Charles Yu is the author of the critically-acclaimed novel Interior Chinatown, a National Book Award winner and genre-bending masterpiece that explores the confining stereotypes of Asian Americans in Hollywood and in American culture more broadly. Yu is also a television screenwriter and the author of three other books, including How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, which was a New York Times Notable Book and named one of the best books of the year by Time magazine. In his entertaining and thought-provoking lectures, Yu speaks to audiences of all kinds about the Asian American experience, representation and stereotypes in film and television, and the unique power of science fiction to address the human condition.


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