Acclaimed authors to hold book talk

Three renowned authors will be visiting Huntsville this week for the National Book Awards Festival at Sam Houston State University. 

The main event, scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, will feature 2017 NBA Finalist for Young People’s Literature Erika L. Sánchez (“I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter”), 2010 Poetry Finalist Monica Youn (“Ignatz”), and 2016 Fiction Finalist Karan Mahajan (“The Association of Small Bombs”).

Now in its sixth year, the event will include a reading and discussion with the authors. After the presentation, the authors will sign copies of their books, which can be purchased on site.

“We’re incredibly privileged to host the National Book Awards Festival at SHSU. The opportunity to share such remarkable literary talent with the community is why we do this each year,” said Amanda Nowlin-O’Banion, clinical assistant professor of creative writing in the Department of English.

Considered in literary circles as the “Academy Awards of Books,” the National Book Award is one of the highest and most respected honors given to an American writer. As a joint endeavor of SHSU, the National Book Foundation, the City of Huntsville, and Huntsville ISD this unique community event gives students and the public access to literary superstars.

“Reading is its own sort of magic. By hosting the NBAF at SHSU, we hope to share that magic with those who might not have access otherwise,” Stephanie Savell, NBAF graduate student assistant.

As a poet, novelist and essayist Sánchez’s poetry collection, “Lessons on Expulsion”, explores what it means to live on both sides of the border—the border between countries, languages, despair and possibility, and the living and the dead. Sánchez has won a “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Prize and a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation.

Mahajan grew up in India. His first novel, “Family Planning” was a finalist for the International Dylan Thomas Prize. His novel, “The Association of Small Bombs” was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Awards and named one of the "10 Best Books of 2016" by The New York Times.

A native Houstonian, Youn is the author of “Blackacre,” which was longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award in poetry; “Ignatz,” a finalist for the 2010 National Book Award in poetry; and “Barter.” Youn has received poetry fellowships from the Library of Congress, the Rockefeller Foundation and Stanford University.

The National Book Awards Festival at SHSU is sponsored by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the MFA Program in Creative Writing, Editing, and Publishing.