T184. NBF Presents: Crafting Coming-of-Age

Grand Ballroom A, Kansas City Convention Center, Level 2
Thursday, February 8, 2024
12:10 pm to 1:25 pm


Join 2019 National Book Award winner Susan Choi (Trust Exercise) and 2022 National Book Award finalist Sarah Thankam Mathews (All This Could Be Different) for a conversation on the impact of contemporary bildungsroman and what it means to grow up in adult fiction. Choi and Mathews read from their novels and discuss how and why coming-of-age stories capture writers and readers alike. Moderated by Ruth Dickey, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. Presented in partnership with the National Book Foundation.

This event will take place in person in the Kansas City Convention Center and will be livestreamed for virtual audiences. All livestreamed events include open captions and ASL interpretation.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: NBF_Presents-_Crafting_Coming_of_Age_AWP_Event_Outline.pdf



Ruth Dickey has spent over twenty-five years working at the intersection of community building, writing, and art, now as executive director of the National Book Foundation. Ruth previously had the pleasure of leading organizations in Washington, D.C.; New Orleans, Los Angeles; Cincinnati, Ohio; and, most recently, in Seattle, Washington as executive director of Seattle Arts & Lectures. An ardent fan of dogs and coffee, she served as a fiction judge for the 2019 National Book Awards and holds an MFA in poetry from UNC-Greensboro, a BS in Foreign Service, and an MA in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University.

Susan Choi is the author of five novels, including Trust Exercise, which received the 2019 National Book Award for fiction. She has also been recipient of the Asian-American Literary Award for fiction, the PEN/W.G. Sebald Award, a Lambda Literary award, the 2021 Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. She serves as a trustee of PEN America and teaches in The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University.

Sarah Thankam Mathews is the author of All This Could Be Different, which was shortlisted for the 2022 National Book Award in Fiction. It was also a New York Times Editor's Choice and named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Vogue, Vulture, Los Angeles Times, TIME, Slate, and Buzzfeed. Mathews grew up between Oman and India, immigrating to the United States at seventeen.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center