National Book Foundation Presents: Democracy & Literature, A Conversation about Civic Education and Why Books Matter with National Book Award Authors

First Baptist Decatur Sanctuary presented by AJC

Sunday, 5:00-5:45

National Book Award winners/finalists, sponsored by the National Book Foundation.


Daniel Borzutsky

The first-generation son of Chilean immigrants, writer and translator Daniel Borzutzky grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is the winner of the 2016 National Book Award for Poetry for his collection The Performance of Becoming Human which confronts head-on many of difficult questions currently facing our society today. His other books of poetry are Lake Michigan (2018), a series of 19 lyric poems set at an imaginary prison on the real and symbolic border of Chicago; In the Murmurs of the Rotten Carcass Economy (2015); The Book of Interfering Bodies (2011); The Ecstasy of Capitulation (2007); and the chapbook Failure in the Imagination (2007). He has also published one collection of fiction, Arbitrary Tales. Borzutzky’s books of translation include Song for his Disappeared Love by Raul Zurita and Port Trakl by Jaime Luis Huenun, among others.

Nancy MacLean

Nancy MacLean is the award-winning author of Behind the Mask of Chivalry (a New York Times "noteworthy" book of the year) and Freedom is Not Enough, which was called by the Chicago Tribune "contemporary history at its best." The William Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University, she lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds is a New York Times bestselling author, a Newbery Award Honoree, a Printz Award Honoree, National Book Award Honoree, a Kirkus Award winner, a two-time Walter Dean Myers Award winner, an NAACP Image Award Winner, and the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King honors. The American Booksellers Association’s 2017 spokesperson for Indies First, his many books include Miles Morales, When I Was the Greatest, Boy in the Black Suit, All American Boys (cowritten with Brendan Kiely), As Brave as You, For Every One, the Track series (Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu), and Long Way Down, which received both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor.

Reynolds is a graduate of The University of Maryland, College Park. He has been reviewed and profiled in The Washington Post, NPR books, Kirkus, Hornbook, School Library Journal, WNYC, Publisher’s Weekly, Poets & Writers, Gawker, mentioned as a standout in the Wall Street Journal, AM New York, Ebony Magazine, was awarded as a top book of the year by the New York Public Library system, and was the recipient of 2015 Coretta Scott King - John Steptoe Award for New Talent.

Reynolds is on faculty at Lesley University, for the Writing For Young People MFA Program, and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.


Pellom McDaniels III

Pellom McDaniels III is the curator of African American collections in the Stuart A. Rose Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Books Library at Emory University. He is the author of The Prince of Jockeys: The Life of Isaac Burns Murphy (2013) and has contributed essays to anthologies such as Before Jackie Robinson: The Transcendent Role of Black Sports Pioneers (2017), The Olympics and Philosophy (2012), and The Transcendent Role of Black Sporting Pioneers (2017), The Olympics and Philosophy (2012), and All Stars and Movie Stars: Sports in Film History (2010). His first screenplay titled The Prince of Jockeys has been optioned and is in pre-production.