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A few covers of the many books that dozens of authors of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry will discuss remotely this year during the Brattleboro Literary Festival’s 20th anniversary.

The Arts

Brattleboro Literary Festival turns 20 with a virtual celebration

60 authors of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry will participate in 40 online events over four days

For details and a full list of authors, events and registration links, visit or

BRATTLEBORO—From Thursday, Oct. 14 to Sunday, Oct. 17, the 20th annual Brattleboro Literary Festival will host more than 60 authors featured in 40 events and discussions — all online and free.

Books presented at the 2021 festival will cover a range of topics: rebellious women and feminist cowboys, homelessness, former presidents, immigration, New York, New Orleans, political upheaval, Banksy, aging, writers and lovers, fake accounts, hurricanes, and pandemics.

Scheduled events include:

• Pulitzer Prize–winning author Louis Menand will present The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War, a follow-up to The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America. He will converse with Michael Gorra, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award.

• Pulitzer Prize finalist Russell Banks, author of 13 novels, will discuss his new book Foregone, as part of an event with award-winning novelist Scott Spencer, also author of 13 novels, including Endless Love.

• Biographer and journalist Jonathan Alter will discuss his book His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, a Life, with Vermont author and journalist Megan Mayhew Bergman.

• Jean Hanff Korelitz — whose book You Should Have Known was adapted for a 2020 HBO mini-series, The Undoing, starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant — will share her new book, The Plot, in an event with New York Times bestselling and New England Book Award winner Lily King, whose latest book is Writers & Lovers.

New York Times bestselling and award-winning novelist Francine Prose with her new book, The Vixen, and New York Times bestselling author Miranda Beverly-Whittemore with her fifth novel, Fierce Little Thing.

• Prize-winning Cameroonian-American writer Imbolo Mbue, author of Behold the Dreamers, will speak with Windham World Affairs Council’s Clare Morgana Gillis about Mbue’s new novel, How Beautiful We Were.

• Award-winning science writer and New York Times columnist Carl Zimmer with his new book Life’s Edge: The Search for What it Means to be Alive.

• Simon & Schuster’s inaugural AuthorFest will feature internationally bestselling author Bob Woodward and acclaimed reporter Robert Costa as they discuss their new book, Peril.

This year’s fest features what organizers call “the most astonishing list of debut novelists ever”: Jakob Guanzon (Abundance), Eric Nguyen (Things We Lost to the Water), Lauren Oyler (Fake Accounts), Mateo Askaripour (Black Buck), Kirstin Valdez Quade (The Five Wounds), and Sanjena Sathian (Gold Diggers).

Poetry will be well-represented this year, including Pulitzer Prize–winner Vijay Seshadri, Deborah Paredez, Edward Hirsch, Jane Hirshfield, Tomás Q. Morín, and Dan Chiasson. Also scheduled is a panel discussion, “Poetry and the Pandemic.”

Other panel events include “Why Black Books Matter,” featuring the author of Well-Read Black Girl, Glory Edim; author and speaker W. Ralph Eubanks; and acclaimed author Farah Jasmine Griffin. It will be led by Jason Broughton, director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled at the Library of Congress.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #634 (Wednesday, October 13, 2021). This story appeared on page B1.

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