My New Book!

My New Book!
My New Book!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

March 22-23, 2014: The Virginia Festival of the Book

[Following up the week’s Cville series, a special post on the reason I’m headed down there this weekend.]

On three reasons I’m very excited to be giving a talk at the Virginia Festival of the Book.
1)      My Panel: The Festival organizers have put me on a panel entitled “Hot Button Issues Facing the USA,” and I’m extremely excited to have to find new ways to frame my books (both the Chinese Exclusion Act one and the prior one on Redefining American Identity) in relationship to that kind of contemporary, controversial frame. I’ve said many times in this space that public AmericanStudies scholars have to be willing and able to make such links, but this will be one of the first chances I have to do so in a public setting, and I can’t wait.

2)      The Audience: I’ve given book talks in many different settings, but never at a book festival like this, to an audience who are assured to be broad and diverse, interested and well-read, and, I would imagine, more than willing to push back if something doesn’t seem worth their time and attention and potential investment. If I can’t make the case for my books and ideas in a setting like that, I shouldn’t be trying to make them more public; so it’s time for the rubber to hit the road, I’d say.

3)      The Home Cookin’: Along with all of that, I get to sleep in my childhood bedroom, see my childhood (and still) best friend, and hang with the folks. What more do I need to say?
Next series starts Monday,
PS. One more time, any hometown stories or histories you’d share?


  1. Post-Panel Update: And it exceeded my expectations! The moderator, former Cville Mayor Blake Carravati, did a wonderful job. My co-panelists, Sarah Erdreich and Leona Wen, had really interesting and important things to say about their books, ideas about stories and empathy that intersected with mine in provocative ways. And the audience was amazing--sizeable, engaged, with great questions and thoughts and responses. Just a pitch-perfect event all the way around, and I'm so proud to have been part of it!

  2. Dear Ben,

    It looks like my weekend is going to be pretty boring here in Fitchburg, but I hope your festival goes well.

    Roland A. Gibson, Jr.
    FSU IDIS Major