Featured Authors

Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith’s body of work includes five acclaimed novels, White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty (which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the 2006 Orange Prize for fiction), NW, an excerpt from which, entitled “The Embassy of Cambodia,” won a 2014 ASME National Magazine award for fiction, and Swing Time. Smith is also the author of an essay collection, “Changing My Mind,” and a nonfiction book about writing, Fail Better, and edited an anthology of sex writing entitled “Piece of Flesh.” Her most recent book is Feel Free, a collection of essays.


Our event with Zadie Smith will take place at 7:30 pm on Saturday, May 18 in Cone Ballroom on the campus of UNCG. This event is co-sponsored by the UNCG University Libraries.

Get your tickets here.

Ani DiFranco in Conversation with Rhiannon Giddens

An extraordinary opportunity to hear two women in conversation who have forged their own independent careers in the music business.

One of the first artists to create her own label in 1990, Ani DiFranco has been recognized among the feminist pantheon for her entrepreneurship, social activism, and outspoken political lyrics. At a time of global chaos and confusion, DiFranco is kicking ass and taking names, with a set of songs offering a wide range of perspective and musical scope. Her new memoir, No Walls and the Recurring Dream is available in early May.

Recipient of numerous awards including a Grammy and a MacArthur Fellowship, Rhiannon Giddens was the lead singer, violinist, banjo player and a founding member of the Grammy-winning country, blues and old-time music band Carolina Chocolate Drops. In addition to her work with the Drops, Giddens has released two solo albums: Tomorrow Is My Turn and Freedom Highway. Her new album, There Is No Other with Francesco Turrisi will be released soon.

Get your tickets here.

Rebecca Makkai

Rebecca Makkai is the Chicago-based author of the novels The Great BelieversThe Hundred-Year House, and The Borrower, as well as the short story collection Music for Wartime. Her short fiction won a 2017 Pushcart Prize, and was chosen for The Best American Short Stories for four consecutive years (2008-2011). The recipient of a 2014 NEA fellowship, Makkai is on the MFA faculties of Sierra Nevada College and Northwestern University, and she is the Artistic Director of StoryStudio Chicago.

Rebecca Makkai will speak on Sunday at 1:15 pm in the Van Dyke Performance Space of the Greensboro Cultural Center.

Bill Konigsberg

Bill Konigsberg has published five books: Out of the Pocket, his 2008 debut, won the Lambda Literary Award. Openly Straight won the Sid Fleischman Award for Humor. The Porcupine of Truth won the PEN Center USA Literary Award and the Stonewall Book Award. Honestly Ben, the sequel to Openly Straight, was released in 2017 and received three starred reviews. The Music of What Happens was released in January 2019.

Bill Konigsberg will participate in a conversation on Writing about Sexuality and Identity, moderated by Coen Cauthen, with Brian Belovitch and Heidi Andrea Restrepo Rhodes at 2:00 pm in the Triad Stage UpStage Cabaret.

He’ll speak about his new novel, The Music of What Happens, at 3:15 pm in the Nussbaum Room of the Greensboro Central Library.

Ross Gay

Ross Gay is the author of three books of poetry: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Award. His collection of essays, The Book of Delights, was released in 2019. He is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call It Ballin‘, in addition to being an editor with the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press. Ross is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project.

Ross will participate in the poetry conversation, Whose I is It? with Heidi Andrea Restrepo Rhodes, Michael Gaspeny, and Tyree Daye at 11:15 am in the UpStage Cabaret at Triad Stage.

Ross Gay will speak on Saturday at 2 pm in the Van Dyke Performance Space of the Greensboro Cultural Center.

Astra Taylor

Astra Taylor is a writer, a documentary filmmaker, and an activist. Her films include Zizek!, a feature documentary about the world’s most outrageous philosopher that was broadcast on the Sundance Channel, and Examined Life, a series of excursions with contemporary thinkers. Taylor is the author of Examined Life, the companion book to the film, and The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age. Her writing has appeared in The Nation, the London Review of Books, n+1, The Baffler, and other publications. She lives in New York City.

Astra Taylor will screen her film, What Is Democracy?, and talk about her new book at 6:30 pm on Thursday at the Weatherspoon Art museum on the campus of UNCG.

The Lee Brothers

Whether they’re dashing through black-tie fundraisers, celebrity-spotting at a Hamptons cookout, or following a silverware crew at 3:00 a.m. in a warehouse in New Jersey, the Lee brothers guide you on a romp from the inner circle—the elite team of chefs using little more than their wits and Sterno to turn out lamb shanks for eight hundred—to the outer reaches of the industries that facilitate the most dazzling galas. You’ll never attend a party—or entertain on your own—in the same way after reading this book.

The Lee Brothers will talk about their new book, HOTBOX: Inside Catering, the Food World’s Riskiest Business, and all things cooking in the Van Dyke Performance Space of the Greensboro Cultural Center on Saturday at 3:15 pm.

Lamar Giles

Lamar Giles is a well published author and a founding member of We Need Diverse Books. He has two novels forthcoming in 2019: his debut middle grade fantasy The Last Last-Day-of-Summer  and his fourth YA thriller Spin. He is a two-time Edgar Award finalist in the YA category for his debut YA thriller Fake ID, and his second YA thriller, Endangered. His third YA thriller, Overturned was named a Kirkus Best Book of 2017. Lamar is a contributor to the YA anthology Three Sides of a Heart, the editor of the forthcoming We Need Diverse Books YA short story anthology Fresh Ink, a contributor to the forthcoming YA anthology Black Enough: Stories of Being Young and Black in America, and a contributor to a forthcoming We Need Diverse Books middle grade anthology. He has published several short stories for adults.

Lamar Giles will talk about the need for diversity in Children’s and Young Adult books with Miranda Paul and Amy Reed at 12:30 pm in the Tannenbaum Sternberger Room of the Greensboro Central Library on Saturday.

Also, on Saturday, he’ll join with Tommy Hays to lead an informal talk with kids on how they can begin writing at 4:30 pm in the Tannenbaum Sternberger Room of the Greensboro Central Library.

Wiley Cash

Wiley Cash is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels The Last Ballad, A Land More Kind than Home, and This Dark Road to Mercy. The founder of the Open Canon Book Club and co-founder of the Land More Kind Appalachian Artists Residency, he has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Weymouth Center. He serves as the writer-in-residence at the University of North Carolina-Asheville and teaches in the Mountainview Low-Residency MFA. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and their two young daughters.

Wiley Cash will appear in conversation with writer and producer Catherine Venable Moore.  They’ll be joined by musician-songwriter Laurelyn Dossett. This event is co-sponsored by PEN America  at 7 pm on Friday in the Van Dyke Performance Space of the Greensboro Cultural Center.