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Old Dominion University Hosts 42nd Annual Literary Festival, “Crossing Thresholds”

Old Dominion University will bring 15 internationally known writers and artists to Norfolk from Oct. 6 to 10 to present their work during its 42nd annual Literary Festival.

The President's Lecture Series speaker for the festival, which has a theme of "Crossing Thresholds, is bestselling author Tayari Jones. For more about her, go to this link.

Other writers headlining the festival will include:

  • Ilya Kaminisky, whose collection, "Deaf Republic," was recently nominated for a National Book Award and was a finalist for the 2019 Forward Prize.
  • José Olivarez, whose collection, "Citizen Illegal," was a finalist for the PEN/Jean Stein Award, winner of the 2018 Chicago Review of Books Poetry Prize and was named a top book of 2018 by NPR and the New York Public Library.
  • Elaine Castillo, whose debut novel, "America Is Not the Heart," was named one of the best books of 2018 by The Boston Globe, New York Post and others as well as was nominated for the Elle Award, the Center for Fiction Prize, the Aspen Words Prize and the California Book Award.

Of the many readers at the festival, several serve as faculty at ODU's Creative Writing MFA Program.

Kent Wascom's first novel, "The Blood of Heaven," was named a best book of the year by the Washington Post and NPR. It was a semifinalist for the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award and longlisted for the Flaherty-Dunnan Award for First Fiction. Wascom was awarded the 2012 Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Prize for Fiction.

Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley, Affrilachian author, belongs to the Onondaga Nation of Indigenous Americans in New York. His first collection, "Not Your Mama's Melting Pot," was selected by Bob Hicok; his second collection, "Colonize Me," was published by Saturnalia Books in 2019; and another forthcoming collection, "Dēmos," will be out with Milkweed Editions in 2020.

Additionally, the ODU MFA Creative Writing Program's Fall 2019 Writer-in-Residence, Xuan Juliana Wang, will read from her widely praised, debut short story collection "Home Remedies." Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Ploughshares and The Best American Nonrequired Reading anthologies. Wang was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford and teaches at UCLA.

Festival events are free and open to the public. Free parking is available in Garage D, 1070 W. 45th St., excluding spaces marked "Reserved." A full schedule of events is available at odu.edu/litfest.

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