Lewes, DE

2022 History Book Festival Addresses Topics Ranging from Freedom to Fitness

Janine Paris

Freedom, fitness, and faith are among the topics authors will discuss during the 6th Annual History Book Festival in Lewes, DE on Saturday, September 24.

The authors are among roughly twenty who will speak about their latest works of historical nonfiction and fiction during the festival, which is the first and only event of its kind in the United States devoted solely to history.

"Joan" coverRandom House

Hailed by The New York Times as “elegant and timely,” Joan: A Novel of Joan of Arc is the newest of thousands of books written about Joan of Arc, viewed variously as a warrior, heretic, or saint. Based on meticulous research, author Katherine J. Chen presents Joan as a flesh-and-blood young woman – reckless, steel-willed, and brilliant – shaped by a childhood of both joy and violence, who went on to become an unlikely hero as she led the French army to victory and left an indelible mark on history.

Chen is the author of the novel Mary B, a retelling of Pride and Prejudice that was published in 2018. Her work has appeared in The New York Times and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among others. She earned her master’s degree at Boston University and received the Florence Engel Randall Fiction Prize.

“We Refuse to Forget: A True Story of Black Creeks, American Identity, and Power” coverRiverhead

We Refuse to Forget: A True Story of Black Creeks, American Identity, and Power tells the extraordinary story of the Creek Nation, a Native tribe that two centuries ago both owned slaves and accepted Black people as full citizens. Thanks to the efforts of Creek leaders, the U.S. government recognized Creek citizenship in 1866 for its Black members. Yet this equality was shredded in the 1970s when tribal leaders revoked the citizenship of Black Creeks. In a book described by Kirkus as “a pointed investigation of a controversial, unsettled matter of both law and ethnic identity,” author Caleb Gayle explores the complicated racial and economic factors that led to the decision. He highlights the Black Creeks’ campaign to regain their citizenship.

Gayle is an award-winning journalist who writes about race and identity. A professor at Northeastern University, he is a fellow at New America, PEN America, Harvard's Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Studies, and is a visiting scholar at New York University. His writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and other publications. The son of Jamaican immigrants, Gayle is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, the University of Oxford, and has both an MBA and a master’s in public policy from Harvard University.

“Sweat: A History of Exercise” coverBloomsbury

In Sweat: A History of Exercise, author Bill Hayes employs what The New York Times calls his “unusual set of skills: part science writer, part memoirist, part culture explainer” to examine a chapter in human history that’s largely overlooked. In what The Guardian describes as “an all-encompassing book about bodies and exercise through the ages that leaves you hungry for more,” Hayes explores the cultural and scientific history of why and how we exercise, and how the human body works.

Hayes is the author of How We Live Now, Insomniac City, and The Anatomist, among other books. He is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in nonfiction and is a frequent contributor to The New York Times. Hayes has completed the screenplay for a film adaptation of Insomniac City, currently in the works from Brouhaha Entertainment.

“The Divorce Colony: How Women Revolutionized Marriage and Found Freedom on the American Frontier” coverHachette

Described by Goodreads as “entertaining, enlightening, and utterly feminist,” The Divorce Colony: How Women Revolutionized Marriage and Found Freedom on the American Frontier provides a colorful history of divorce in the late 19th Century. Author April White focuses on four prominent women, including a descendent of the Astors and a presidential hopeful daughter-in-law who traveled to Sioux Falls, SD to end their marriages. Requiring only a three-month stay to establish residency, Sioux Falls became the center of a national debate that reshaped the country’s attitudes about marriage and divorce.

White, a senior writer and editor at Atlas Obscura, previously worked as an editor at Smithsonian Magazine. Her work also has appeared in The Washington Post and The Atavist Magazine, among others. White has collaborated with nonfiction authors on more than a dozen book projects, and has authored or coauthored eight cookbooks and several other books on food and drink. She holds a master’s degree in history.

Attending the Festival:

The 2022 History Book Festival begins on September 23rd with a keynote presentation by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Buzz Bissinger and concludes on September 25th with a closing address by Ada Ferrer, winner of the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in History.

Throughout the day on September 24th, authors will discuss their books at venues in historic Lewes, DE. All events except for the keynote and closing speakers are free; seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets for the keynote or closing events can be purchased online.

Summaries of each book and additional information about the festival are available online at www.historybookfestival.org. Books and authors are subject to change.

Books may be purchased after each presentation, when authors will be available to sign them. Books may be purchased in advance at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach and at biblion in Lewes. In addition, History Book Festival titles may be borrowed through the Delaware Public Library system as they are published.

Presenting sponsors of the Festival are Delaware Humanities and The Lee Ann Wilkinson Group of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Gallo Realty.

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