National Book Awards Festival Brings Literary Excellence to SHSU

The National Book Awards Festival is coming to Sam Houston State University April 9-16. The events begin with a Memoir Workshop called “How to Tell Your Story” at the Wynne Home Arts Center, which is followed by a Book-Up Bash at the Huntsville Public Library celebrating children’s books. The events are free and open to the public.
The marquee event brings three National Book Awards Finalist authors to the stage at the Gaertner Performing Arts Center to read selected portions of their books and have on-stage talk-show-style discussions with event host Dr. Amanda Nowlin-O’Banion. A book signing with the authors will immediately follow the discussions.
Nowlin-O’Banion is a Clinical Professor of Creative Writing at SHSU. As the organizer of the National Book Awards Festival, Nowlin-O’Banion shared what the festival means to her.
“I grew up here, so for me it means making the community a better place,” Nowlin-O’Banion said. “I think we each have an obligation to improve the community where we live. It is really about giving kids and adults the opportunity to read different books that they might not normally come into contact with.”
Nowlin-O’Banion also believes the event is important for the SHSU campus.
“We are one of only four campuses in the country to host this event,” Nowlin-O’Banion said. “We represent the southwest and it is an honor. It is a huge boon to the campus and the community because Huntsville is typically not a spot on anybody’s book tour.”
The three National Book Awards Finalists coming to SHSU are “The Association of Small Bombs” by Karan Mahajan, “I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter” by Erika Sanchez and two books of poetry titled “Ignatz” and “Blackacre” by Monica Youn.
This program is a joint endeavor of SHSU and the National Book Foundation sponsored by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the MFA Program in Creative Writing, Editing and Publishing.
The National Book Awards Festival concludes with two workshops conducted by the authors in the Evans Building— Fiction Craft Talk with Mahajan and Poetry Craft Talk with Youn.

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