The National Book Critics Circle Presents Honorée Fanonne Jeffers and Namwali Serpell, Moderated by Jane Ciabattari

Ballroom 2 & 3, Summit Building, Seattle Convention Center, Level 5
Friday, March 10, 2023
3:20 pm to 4:35 pm


A literary partner featured event focused on two National Book Critics Circle's honorees who work in multiple genres, moderated by NBCC VP/Events Jane Ciabattari, featuring NBCC Fiction Award winner Honorée Fanonne Jeffers and NBCC Criticism finalist Namwali Serpell. They’ll focus on writing in multiple genres (both write innovative fiction and cultural criticism; Jeffers also is a poet), inspiration and research for their work (both write novels with history, justice, surreal elements), the influence of NBCC and other awards, Afro futurism and other evolving forms, the unique challenges of writing in these times, and the imaginative process that shapes their work. Since 1974, the National Book Critics Circle awards have honored the best literature published in English. These are the only awards chosen by the critics themselves. This event will be livestreamed. ASL interpretation and live captioning will be provided.



Jane Ciabattari, author of the short story collection Stealing the Fire, is a former National Book Critics Circle president (and current NBCC vice president/events), and a member of the Writers Grotto. Her reviews, interviews and cultural criticism have appeared in NPR, BBC Culture, the New York Times Book Review, the Guardian, Bookforum, Paris Review, the Washington Post, Boston Globe, and the Los Angeles Times, among other publications.

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers is a fiction writer, poet, and essayist. Her first novel The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois, was awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and selected for Oprah’s Book Club. he is the author of five poetry collections, including The Age of Phillis, which won the 2020 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry. She was a contributor to The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race, edited by Jesmyn Ward, and has been published in the Kenyon Review, Iowa Review, and other literary publications. Jeffers was elected into the American Antiquarian Society, whose members include fourteen U.S. presidents, and is critic at large for Kenyon Review. She teaches creative writing and literature at University of Oklahoma.

Namwali Serpell was born in Lusaka. Her first novel, The Old Drift, won the Anisfield Wolf award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Grand Prix des Associations Litterarires Prize, and the L.A. Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. She is a co-recipient of a 2020 Windham Campbell Prize for fiction. She is author of Seven Modes of Uncertainty, a book of literary criticism, and Stranger Faces, a finalist for the NBCC award for criticism. She is a professor of English at Harvard University.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center