RI Center for the Book

National Book Festival: Adult Selection

Congratulations to Elizabeth Rush and Christopher Denise! The Quickening and Knight Owl are the 2023 Rhode Island Great Reads books and our submissions for the National Book Festival in Washington, DC on August 12th, 2023.  The Quickening is our adult selection and Knight Owl is our kids selection.

About The Quickening: An astonishing, vital book about Antarctica, climate change, and motherhood from the author of Rising, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction

“An immersive journey through both exterior and interior landscapes, deftly crossing the boundaries between the frigid Antarctic and the warm heart.”—ROBIN WALL KIMMERER

In 2019, Rush joined fifty-seven scientists and crew onboard a research icebreaker for months. The destination: Thwaites Glacier. The goal: to learn as much as possible about this mysterious place, never before visited by humans, and believed to be both rapidly deteriorating and capable of making a catastrophic impact on global sea-level rise this century. In The Quickening, Rush documents their voyage, offering the sublime—seeing an iceberg for the first time; the staggering waves of the Drake Passage, the torqued, unfamiliar contours of Thwaites—alongside the workaday moments of this groundbreaking expedition. A ping-pong tournament at sea. Long hours in the lab. All the effort that goes into caring for and protecting human life in a place that is inhospitable to it. Along the way, she takes readers on a personal journey around a more intimate question: What does it mean to bring a child into the world at this time of radical change?

Register for An Evening with Elizabeth Rush on August 1!

About the Author: Elizabeth Rush is the author of The Quickening: Creation and Community at the Ends of the Earth and Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Rush’s work has appeared in a wide range of publications from the New York Times to Orion and Guernica. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Science Foundation, National Geographic, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Howard Foundation, the Andrew Mellon Foundation and the Metcalf Institute. She lives with her husband and son in Providence, Rhode Island, where she teaches creative nonfiction at Brown University.

Elizabeth Rush


The Library of Congress National Book Festival is an annual literary event that brings together best-selling authors and thousands of book fans for author talks, panel discussions, book signings and other activities. The 22nd Library of Congress National Book Festival will celebrate “Books Bring Us Together” in 2022, featuring the creativity and inspiration of some of the nation’s most gifted authors on September 3rd. The event showcases the importance of books and reading. Every year, the Library of Congress asks each state Center for the Book to select a title that represents the state’s literary landscape to highlight at the National Book Festival, these titles are part of the Great Reads From Great Places Initiative. The Rhode Island Center for the Book has chosen The Quickening and Knight Owl as the Rhode Island Great Reads for 2023.

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