• Home

[VIRTUAL] Adoptee Literary Festival

headshot of Nicole Chung, book cover of All You Can Ever Know; headshot of Matthew Salesses, bookcover of Craft in the Real World; at the bottom"Adoptee Literary Festival Keynote Address with Nicole Chung and Matthew Salesses"

The Adoptee Literary Festival brought together writers who self-identify as having been adopted, fostered, or otherwise displaced to share their stories, make their voices heard, and reshape the narrative of adoption, which has for too long been dominated by adoptive parents and the adoption industry.

Covering all genres, the festival highlights writing that makes adoptees the subject, rather than the object, of their own stories. Respectful of diverse opinions, this festival recognizes that every adoption story is different, and celebrates all genuine voices that seek to educate, engage, and nurture.

Full Schedule of Events |  Saturday, April 9

11 a.m. – 12 p.m. EDT | Journalism / Creative Nonfiction
Join us for a conversation featuring journalists Seth Berkman, author of A Team of Their Own: How an International Sisterhood Made Olympic History; Stephanie Drenka, an adoptee rights activist, journalist, and founding editor-in-chief of VISIBLE Magazine; and Melissa Guida-Richards, author of What White Parents Should Know about Transracial Adoption: An Adoptee’s Perspective on Its History, Nuances, and Practices. Moderated by JS Lee, journalist, and author of Everyone was Falling.

12:45 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. EDT | Middle-Grade & Young Adult Literature
Join us for a reading and conversation featuring young adult authors Meredith Ireland, author of The Jasmine Project; Kosoko Jackson, author of Survive the Dome; and middle-grade author Mariama J. Lockington, author of In the Key of Us and For Black Girls Like Me. Moderated by Sun Yung Shin, author of Cooper’s Lesson and The Wet Hex.

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. EDT | Poetry
Join us for a reading and conversation featuring poets Mary-Kim Arnold, author of Litany for the Long Moment; LM Brimmer, co-editor of Queer Voices: Poetry, Prose and Pride; Lee Herrick, author of Scar and Flower; and Bo Schwabacher, author of Omma, Sea of Joy and Other Astrological Signs. Moderated by Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello, author of Hour of the Ox.

4:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. EDT | Fiction
Join us for a reading and conversation featuring fiction writers Lisa Bird-Wilson, author of Probably Ruby; Matthew Salesses, author of Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear; and Lauren J. Sharkey, author of Inconvenient Daughter. Moderated by Alice Stephens, author of Famous Adopted People.

6 p.m. – 7 p.m. EDT | Memoir
Join us for a reading and conversation featuring memoirists Jan Beatty, author of American Bastard; Megan Culhane Galbraith, author of The Guild of the Infant Saviour: An Adopted Child’s Memory Book; and Jenny Heijun Wills, author of Older Sister. Not Necessarily Related. Moderated by Susan Devan Harness, author of Bitterroot: A Salish Memoir of Transracial Adoption.

7 p.m. – 8 p.m. EDT | Sizzle Reel: Adoptee Storytellers
Tara Pretends Eagle Weber, Mary Anna King, Greg Santos, Lucia Blackwell, matthew charles, Jean Strauss, Sara Easterly, Rebecca Cheek, Ridghaus, Shae Lee, Julian Washio-Collette, Erin Jin Mei O’Malley, Anita Garber. Videographer: Ridghaus. Music: Hanil Lee.

8 p.m. – 9 p.m. EDT | Keynote: Nicole Chung in conversation with Matthew Salesses
Nicole Chung is the author of the national bestseller All You Can Ever Know. Named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post, NPR, The Boston Globe, Library Journal, and many other outlets, All You Can Ever Know was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, a semifinalist for the PEN Open Book Award, an Indies Choice Honor Book, and an official Junior Library Guild selection. In 2021, Chung was named to the Good Morning America AAPI Inspiration List honoring those “making Asian American history right now.” She is currently a contributing writer and editor at The Atlantic, where she writes a weekly newsletter, and her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, GQ, Time, Vulture, and The Guardian, among many others. Her next two books are forthcoming from Ecco Books/HarperCollins and HarperTeen.
Moderator: Matthew Salesses is the author of The Hundred-Year Flood, Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear, Craft in the Real World, and other books.

This keynote is sponsored by PEN America Miami/South Florida Chapter.


SponsorS and partners

PEN America Miami/South Florida Chapter logo logo for Loyalty Bookstore
Adoptee Voices Logo

Adoptees On logo

Also Known As logo Washington Independent Review of Books logo

Get the Free Speech News You Need

protesters in face masks carrying old Belarusian national flags

PEN America has a new weekly newsletter, PEN Points, bringing you a digest of the biggest free expression news of the week, plus the analysis and insights you trust from PEN America experts.