Festival Days


Product Details

$27.00  $25.11
Little Brown and Company
Publish Date
5.7 X 8.3 X 1.1 inches | 0.8 pounds

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About the Author

Jo Ann Beard is the author of the groundbreaking collection of autobiographical essays, The Boys of My Youth, and the novel, In Zanesville. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Best American Essays, and other magazines and anthologies. She has received a Whiting Foundation Award and nonfiction fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts. In 2022, she received an American Academy of Arts and Letters 2022 Award in Literature. She teaches writing at Sarah Lawrence College.


"Charged with fine detail... Beard is so good at what she does... In Beard's book, writing works like compound interest, each experience building on the last, which built on the one before."--Ellen Akins, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"An impressive return... [Beard's] topics range from the quotidian to the fantastic, but all are anchored by observant, beautifully written prose that's sure to rank among the year's best."--Town & Country (Must-Read Books of Winter 2021)
"Festival Days is profoundly observed and impeccably phrased. No surprises there, then, given Jo Ann Beard's formidable talents. But it's actually full of audacious narrative surprises, is darkly moving and, at times, unexpectedly--almost unbearably--suspenseful."--Geoff Dyer, author of Otherwise Known as the Human Condition and White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World
"'I love how you love things, ' someone who loves her tells Jo Ann Beard. That love is one reason Festival Days is such a great book. Another is her flair for describing those things in vibrant and felicitous prose. Beard honors the beautiful, the sacred, and the comic in life, and for life's inescapable cruelties and woes she offers the wisdom of a sage."--Sigrid Nunez, author of What Are You Going Through and National Book Award-winning The Friend
"Festival Days is an artistic triumph--vividly peopled, elegantly written, and full of surprises. Each essay and story is an electrically-charged tale of loss and partial redemption. Reading Jo Ann Beard is like setting out on a walk with a curious and intelligent friend who is determined to show you how seemingly unrelated things share a secret kinship."--Adrienne Brodeur, author of Wild Game
"Beard is known as a nonfiction essayist, but her work often reads like suspenseful fiction... this collection of nine essays... continues that formidable track record."--Bookpage
"Imaginative and precise... These sharp essays cement Beard's reputation as a master of the form... [she] can evoke many emotions in a single stroke."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Festival Days shimmers with emotional intensity... evoking the flashes of memory that come to those pausing on the threshold between life and death... Allowing her work to exist beyond the labels of fiction or nonfiction, Beard's metaphorical patterns evince the imaginative truths that underlie her writing"--Catherine Hollis, Bookpage (starred review)
"Beard shows her dazzling skill at finding universal truths in singular situations. Beard is not just a master of the short form--she's a master of phrase and sentence, too."--Bethanne Patrick, Washington Post
"A new collection from the masterful storyteller Jo Ann Beard is always reason to celebrate, and Festival Days marks her long-anticipated return to the essay. Written with clear-eyed empathy, these nine pieces have the luminous glow of fireflies caught in a child's hand."--Chicago Review of Books
"Beautiful... Beard's power comes from phrasings and insights that aren't just screaming for likes. Few writers are so wise and self-effacing and emotionally honest all in one breath... Over the course of nine beguiling pieces--which seamlessly meld observation and imagination--she effects an intimacy that makes us want to sit on the rug and listen."--Sara Lippmann, Washington Post
"Beard's syntax is immortalizing... An acute quality in Beard's work makes the stories feel lived, even alive, as if they are still happening. Sometimes, as writers, we see things for real only once we are writing them, and Beard's title essay distills this fact beautifully."--Rachel DeWoskin, Los Angeles Review of Books
"Beard's keen eye for novelistic detail subtly transforms pure fact into art... Vital and diverse, Jo Ann Beard's second collection is an intriguing blend of fact and fiction."--Harvey Freedenberg, Shelf Awareness