Author News and Book Reports

Natasha Trethewey takes on tough subjects in tender poems
With an introduction by Librarian of Congress James Billington, two-time U.S. Poet Laureate (2012-2014), Mississippi Poet Laureate, and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey took the stage at the 2013 National Book Festival on the National Mall not far from the Lincoln Memorial to read poems exploring myths of history, romance, race, and inter-racial families. Trethewey began with reflections on books, history and the mythology of romance and power before reading Illumination and Mythology, an exploration of mythology and the father-daughter relationship through books, both of which were published in her most recent collection titled Thrall (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; August, 2012). Next, Trethewey read five poems from her Pulitzer Prize-winning book Native Guard (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; November, 2007) beginning with Myth, an analogy between the mythology of Orpheus and Euridice and her dreams of her mother as she was dying; Pilgrimage about her travel to research the violent, troubled past of Vicksburg, Mississippi; Scenes From A Documentary History Of Mississippi; an autobiographical poem about her parents 'illegal' inter-racial marriage called Miscegenation; and a poem about her trip to Thomas Jefferson's Monticello home and his inter-racial family called Enlightment. Trethewey wrapped her reading with a poem from Beyond Katrina (University of Georgia Press; September, 2010) called Benediction. Trethewey then took questions from the audience on the human need for poetry, invoking a quote from Josephine Baker; her inspiration for Thrall based on Age of Reason paintings; and Thomas Jefferson's relationship with Sally Hemings and his slaves.

Book and Author Headlines

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Joyce Carol Oates celebrates the 40th novel in her 50-year writing career at the National Book Fest: One of America's most prolific and widely acclaimed, award-winning authors, Joyce Carol Oates takes the stage at the 2013 National Book Festival to review her long-running career of 50 years and 40 novels at the 2013 National Book Festival.

Sofi Oksanen measures the effects of war and fascism with stockings and a 'lipstick index': Finland's global literary rock star Sofi Oksanen, award-winning author of 'Purge,' takes the stage at the 2013 Goteborg Book Fair to review her writing career and newest bestseller 'When the Doves Disappeared' with Iranian-born Swedish author and book critic Athena Farrokhzad.

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