What do authors see as the role of literature and books in our democracy? Through their writing, do authors actively work to influence the way we think? Do they see their work contributing to our civic education? Come hear National Book Award–honored authors discuss the role of books in exploring the themes and issues that are critical to protecting democracy. Featuring 2016 National Book Award Poetry Finalist Solmaz Sharif (Look) and 2017 National Book Award Young People’s Literature Finalist Erika L. Sanchez (I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter)

This event is a part of the National Book Foundation’s NBF Presents program which brings National Book Award–honored authors and nationally recognized moderators to libraries, colleges, book festivals, and performance venues for public readings, discussions, and presentations. The Foundation aims to leave no reader or community overlooked, and to be a catalyst for conversations through great books. 

NBF Presents is made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This event takes place in the Digital Commons, 101 Cooper Street, Camden, NJ. 

RSVP for this program

Erika L. Sánchez is the daughter of Mexican immigrants. A poet, essayist, and fiction writer, she is the author of a young adult novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter (Knopf Books for Young Readers), a 2017 finalist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, and instant New York Times Bestseller; and the poetry collection, Lessons on Expulsion (Graywolf), a finalist for the PEN America Open Book Award. She is the recipient of Fulbright Fellowship, a “Discovery”/Boston Review Prize and a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from The Poetry Foundation. She is a currently a Princeton Arts Fellow.




Born in Istanbul to Iranian parents, Solmaz Sharif holds degrees from U.C. Berkeley, where she studied and taught with June Jordan’s Poetry for the People, and New York University. Her debut collection LOOK (Graywolf Press) was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award and 2017 PEN Open Book Award. In 2017, Sharif was the recipient of the 27th annual PEN Center USA Literary award in Poetry for LOOK. Sharif has published poetry in the New Republic and Poetry, and has received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is currently a Jones Lecturer at Stanford University.

Kevin Nguyen (moderator) is the features editor of The Verge. Previously he was a senior editor at GQ. Spiegel and Grau will publish his first novel, ‘New Waves’, if he ever turns in his revisions.


Date & Time
December 5, 2018
7:00 pm-8:30 pm

Admission Information
Free; RSVP encouraged.

Leah Falk

Event posted in fiction, NBA, poetry.