Winter Institute Keynotes to Spotlight a Range of Industry Voices

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Winter Institute 15 logoThe American Booksellers Association’s 15th annual Winter Institute in Baltimore will feature four keynote presentations throughout the January 21–24, 2020, event in addition to a special program on the final day of the institute.

Keynote events will feature:

  • Ryan Raffaelli, an assistant professor in the organizational behavior unit at Harvard Business School who examines how innovations transform industries. His research introduces the concept of “technology reemergence,” a process whereby mature organizations and industries faced with technological change reinvent themselves.
  • Rebecca Solnit, the author of more than 20 books, including A Field Guide to Getting LostThe Faraway Nearby, A Paradise Built in HellRiver of Shadows, and Wanderlust: A History of Walking. She is also the author of Men Explain Things to Me and many essays on feminism, activism and social change, hope, and the climate crisis. Viking will publish Recollections of My Nonexistence: A Memoir in March.
  • Jennifer Finney Boylan in conversation with Parul Sehgal:

    • Boylan, author of 15 books, is the inaugural Anna Quindlen Writer in Residence at Barnard College of Columbia University. Her column appears on the op-ed page of the New York Times, and she serves on the board of trustees for PEN America and previously served on the board of directors for GLAAD. Her 2003 memoir, She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders, was the first bestselling work by a transgender American.
    • Sehgal is a book critic at the New York Times and was previously a columnist and senior editor at The New York Times Book Review. Her work has appeared in many publications, and she was awarded the Nona Balakian Award from the National Book Critics Circle for her criticism. She has been a featured speaker for TED and teaches at New York University and the Center for the Humanities at CUNY.
  • W. Paul Coates, Joshua Davis, Shirikiana Gerima, Nati Kamau-Natak, and Judy Richardson in a panel conversation keynote:

    • Coates is the founder and director of the Black Classic Press, which specializes in republishing obscure and significant works by and about people of African descent. Coates formerly served as an African American Studies reference and acquisition librarian at Howard University’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. He was the Maryland state coordinator of the Black Panther Party, and was instrumental in the establishment of the Black Panther Party Archives at Howard University.
    • Davis is an assistant professor of U.S. history at the University of Baltimore focusing on social movements, policing, capitalism, and African American history. He is the author of From Head Shops to Whole Foods: The Rise and Fall of Activist Entrepreneurs, and in a 2018 article for The Atlantic, “The FBI’s War on Black Bookstores,” Davis uncovered J. Edgar Hoover’s 1968 order for the FBI to investigate and spy on black-owned bookstores.
    • Gerima is an independent filmmaker and owner of Washington, D.C.’s Sankofa Video Books and Cafe. A graduate of Howard University and UCLA, Gerima has written, produced, and directed several award-winning and critically acclaimed independent films on topics ranging from the pan African experiment of the Nkrumah years to political prisoners in the U.S. to ’70s gentrification and displacement of people of color.
    • Kamau-Nataki is the owner of Everyone’s Place African Book Store and Cultural Center in Baltimore.
    • Richardson is a documentary filmmaker, educator, and lifelong civil rights activist. She has authored numerous academic articles and conducts professional development workshops for teachers on the Civil Rights Movement using selections from her award-winning PBS series, Eyes on the Prize. She helped open Drum & Spear Bookstore in Washington, D.C.; a publishing house followed, where she became its children’s editor.

In addition, the final day of Winter Institute will feature the special program “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You,” which will feature bestselling and award-winning authors Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds in a conversation on the history of racist ideas in America and how to better navigate these complex realities. Reynolds and Kendi’s Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, March 2020) delivers a timely YA reimagining of Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped From the Beginning.

Through his work, Kendi has explored how racist ideas were developed by some of the most brilliant minds in history to justify and rationalize the nation’s deeply entrenched discriminatory policies. But while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You offers the tools needed to combat these ideas.

With Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, Kendi and Reynolds have come together to deliver an energizing narrative that speaks to young people and shines a light on the many insidious forms of racism — and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.

Visit to see the full Winter Institute program. Questions about Winter Institute can be directed to

Registration for the Winter Institute is full, but booksellers can visit to be added to the waitlist or to register for the new $75 Day Pass option, which grants access to the institute on Friday, January 24, plus the Author Reception on Thursday, January 23, at 5:15 p.m.

Registered booksellers who are no longer planning to attend Winter Institute are asked to notify ABA as soon as possible so waiting booksellers can be offered a chance to attend. Booksellers on the waitlist will be notified on a first-come, first-served basis if cancellations are received. Refunds will be given for event cancellation requests received by 9:00 p.m. ET on November 22, 2019. Thereafter, there will be no refunds except if ABA cancels the event for any reason. All cancellation requests should be e-mailed to