In Pursuit of Truth: An Evening with the National Book Awards

Sat. March 24, 8:00 PM - 9:30 PM

Paramount Theater

215 E Main Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Sponsored by: UVA Arts through a Faculty Research Grant for the Arts

Hosted by: National Book Foundation, Encyclopedia Virginia, and the Virginia Indian Program at Virginia Foundation for the Humanities


2017 National Book Awards finalists Erica Armstrong Dunbar (Never Caught) and David Grann (Killers of the Flower Moon) join 2017 National Book Awards longlisted author Kevin Young (Bunk) in a discussion of the stories and facts their books bring to light, the hidden impacts of racism and social inequality in America that their work speaks to, and ultimately, the pursuit of truth in their award-winning nonfiction. National Book Foundation executive director Lisa Lucas moderates. Book sales and signing will follow.


Why should you attend?

  • “[Never Caught is] …a fascinating and moving account of a courageous and resourceful woman. Beautifully written and utilizing previously untapped sources it sheds new light both on the father of our country and on the intersections of slavery and freedom.”—Eric Foner, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Fiery Trial and Gateway to Freedom
  • The director of the program in African American history at the Library Company of Philadelphia, Dunbar is also the Charles and Mary Beard Professor of History at Rutgers University.
  • “Exhuming the massive amount of detail is no mean feat, and it’s even harder to make it entertaining. But journalist David Grann knows what he’s doing. With the same obsessive attention to fact—in service to storytelling—as The Lost City of Z, Killers of the Flower Moon reads like narrative-nonfiction as written by James M. Cain (there are, after all, insurance policies involved): smart, taut, and pacey. Most sobering, though, is how the tale is at once unsurprising and unbelievable, full of the arrogance, audacity, and inhumanity that continues to reverberate through today’s headlines.”—Jon Foro, The Amazon Book Review
  • Staff writer for The New Yorker, Grann’s latest was selected as the Amazon Editors’ Pick for the Best Book of 2017.
  • “[Bunk is] …a wild, incisive, exhilarating tour through Western culture’s sideshows and dark corners. Like a sideshow barker, Young writes with unbridled enthusiasm, a showman’s conviction, and a carny’s canny, telling a story that at times defies belief. And every word of it is true.”—Los Angeles Times
  • The director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and poetry editor of The New Yorker, Young is also an award-winning author of eleven books of poetry and prose and has been longlisted for the National Book Awards twice (2016 and 2017) and selected as a finalist in 2003.

About the National Book Foundation: The mission of the National Book Foundation and the National Book Awards is to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America. More than sixty years since its creation, the National Book Awards continues to recognize the best of American literature, raise the cultural appreciation of great writing, promote the enduring value of reading, and advance the careers of established and emerging writers. To learn more, visit

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