University of Arizona Campus  •  March 10 - 11, 2018  •  9:30am to 5:30pm
Show sidebar contents

Save the date for 2017!

March 11-12, 2017 (9:30am - 5:30pm)

Save the date for 2018!

March 10-11, 2018 (9:30am - 5:30pm)

Colson Whitehead

Madeline Whitehead

Mr. Whitehead is sponsored by Tucson Medical Center

Colson Whitehead's latest novel is The Underground Railroad, it is a #1 New York Times Bestseller, Oprah's Book Club Pick, and won the National Book Award. Previous novels include Zone One; Sag Harbor; The Intuitionist, a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway award; and John Henry Days, which won the Young Lions Fiction Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He has also written a book of essays about his home town, The Colossus of New York, and a non-fiction account of the 2011 World Series of Poker called The Noble Hustle. He is a recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a MacArthur Fellowship. He currently lives in New York City.

Some of the praise he received for, "The Underground Railroad": "With this novel, Colson Whitehead proves that he belongs on any short list of America's greatest authors--his talent and range are beyond impressive and impossible to ignore. The Underground Railroad is an American masterpiece, as much a searing document of a cruel history as a uniquely brilliant work of fiction."
--Michael Schaub, NPRand:
It possesses the chilling matter-of-fact power of the slave narratives collected by the Federal Writers Project in the 1930's, with echoes of Toni Morrison's Beloved, Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, and brush strokes borrowed from Jorge Luis Borges, Franz Kafka and Jonathan Swift. He has told a story essential to our understanding of the American past and the American present.
--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Visit website

Scheduled events:
National Book Award Salute
The National Book Award exists to "celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of good writing in America. "Seven of the 2016 honorees, including the winners for fiction and nonfiction, are welcomed to the Festival by Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation.

Student Union North Ballroom (Seats 567)  View this venue on the Festival map
Sat, Mar 11, 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Signing area: Sales & Signing Area - Student Union North Ballroom Foyer (following presentation)  View this venue on the Festival map

Panelists: Adam Cohen, Paulette Jiles, Ibram X. Kendi, Grace Lin, Elizabeth McKenzie, Andrés Reséndez, Colson Whitehead
Moderator: Lisa Lucas
Incredible Journeys
Twenty-six years separate their National Book Awards (Johnson won his in 1990 for “The Middle Passage” and Whitehead’s was awarded in 2016 for "The Underground Railroad”), but the authors find common ground in the narrative of slavery and the upheavals and renewals that mark these symbolic journeys towards the elusive goal of a just society.

Modern Languages Room 350 (Seats 318, Wheelchair accessible)  View this venue on the Festival map
Sat, Mar 11, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Fiction / Literature
Signing area: Sales & Signing Area - Central Mall (following presentation)  View this venue on the Festival map

Panelists: Charles Johnson, Colson Whitehead
Moderator: Eve Cran
Colson Whitehead - A Conversation with the National Book Award Winner
The winner of the 2016 National Book Award for fiction talks about books and writing with National Book Award honoree Elizabeth McKenzie.

Integrated Learning Center Room 120 (Seats 300, Wheelchair accessible)  View this venue on the Festival map
Sun, Mar 12, 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Fiction / Literature
Signing area: Sales & Signing Area - Integrated Learning Center (following presentation)  View this venue on the Festival map

Panelist: Colson Whitehead
Moderator: Elizabeth McKenzie

The Underground Railway
Fiction / Literature
August 2016
ISBN 9780385542364
Hardcover, 320 pages
$26.95, INSTORE
Buy now

"Oprah's Book Club 2016 selection"--Sticker on jacket.

Zone One
Fiction / Literature
Anchor Books
July 2012
ISBN 9780307455178
Paperback, 322 pages
$15.00, INSTORE
Buy now

In a post-apocalyptic world decimated by zombies, survivor efforts to rebuild are focused on Manhattan, where civilian team member Mark Spitz works to eliminate remaining infected stragglers and remembers his horrifying experiences at the height of the zombie plague. More/less

Named Sponsors

Arizona Daily Star
University of Arizona

Presenting Sponsors

Tucson Medical Center

Major Sponsors

Friend of the Festival
Pima County Public Library
Stocker Foundation
University of Arizona BookStores
University of Arizona - Facilities Management

Key Sponsors

Brucker Trust
Marshall Foundation
Monark Premium Appliance Company
William & Mary Ross Foundation
Western National Parks Association

Show sponsors