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Pencil It In: Book Events Abound in Richmond This Fall



If you find yourself in a literary frame of mind this fall, Richmond has many book-related events, including readings by the Virginia Commonwealth University Cabell First Novelist Award winner Jade Chang, an interview with “Hidden Figures” author Margot Lee Shetterly and lunch with the biographer of philanthropist Bunny Mellon.


Annalee Newitz, co-founder of science fiction blog io9 and former editor of Gizmodo, has published her first sci-fi novel, “Autonomous,” coming out this month. She’ll pay a visit to Fountain Books to read from her book and answer questions Sept. 21, 6:30 p.m.

Blue Bee Cider has invited Richmond’s independent bookstores to the Summit Stables cidery for a new book fair and jazz brunch on Sept. 24, noon to 4 p.m. Black Swan Books, Book People, Chop Suey Books and Fountain Books will be on hand, selling publications and answering questions and the James River Writers also will have a table. Music and food are on the menu, as well as cider.

Occupy Wall Street organizer, historian and author Mark Bray speaks about his new book, “Antifa: the Anti-Fascist Handbook,” a timely subject. His research goes back to the movement’s early days in 1920s and ’30s in Germany and Italy and up to current-day anti-fascist protesters. The reading is Sept. 25, 6-7 p.m., at Chop Suey Books.

A Sept. 28 panel discussion at the Library of Virginia addresses film censorship and prohibition of drugs and alcohol in Virginia. Featuring four researchers — Kevin Kosar (“Moonshine: a Global History”), Melissa Ooten (“Race, Gender, and Film Censorship in Virginia, 1922-1965”), Max Watman (“Chasing the White Dog”) and Adam Rathge, a drug-history researcher, the event, from 5:30-7 p.m., is part of the library’s exhibit on Prohibition and illegal moonshine.


If you swooned at the Jean Schlumberger jewelry and accessories exhibit this spring at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, you may find the new biography of his late patron, Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, of interest. At the Berkeley Hotel on Oct. 13, “Bunny Mellon” author Meryl Gordon will discuss the authorized biography of the woman who designed the White House rose garden and whose art collection with husband Paul Mellon was bequeathed to the museum.

The 15th annual James River Writers Conference returns to the Greater Richmond Convention Center on Oct. 13-15 for would-be authors to pitch their manuscripts to agents and pick up tips from nonfiction writers and novelists. Among this year’s highlights are interviews with Richmond’s David Baldacci, the conference’s lifetime achievement winner, and entertainment lawyer Kirk Schroder’s conversation with “Hidden Figures” author Margot Lee Shetterly. Breakout sessions help attendees finesse their book pitches, write through a block and navigate self-publishing, among other topics.

The location is not yet set, but business journalist and NPR podcaster Roben Farzad’s Miami-themed book release party for “Hotel Scarface” is scheduled Oct. 17 at 6:30 p.m.

The Friends of VCU Libraries Book Sale is set for Oct. 26-30, with the public welcome at noon on the first day. On sale will be fiction, nonfiction, poetry, cookbooks, CDs, and DVDs.


Fountain Flavor events combine the written word with food and drink. On Nov. 9 at 6:30 p.m., cartoonist and beer reviewer Em Sauter ( will hold a beer-themed dinner at Camden’s Dogtown Market, with tickets including the book and author talk. The dinner is separate.

With her debut novel, “The Wangs vs. the World,” Jade Chang has won the prestigious VCU Cabell First Novelist Award for 2017. A Sundance Fellowship-winning reporter and editor in the field of arts and culture, Chang will read from her novel Nov. 16, 7-9 p.m. at the Cabell Library lecture hall. No tickets are necessary, but organizers ask that attendees register.