UPDATE: The Des Moines Public Library has made the decision to postpone the 2020 AViD speaker series. We are working on rescheduling as many of these events as possible. Read about our decision HERE.
The 20th anniversary of Authors Visiting in Des Moines has arrived! The Des Moines Public Library's AViD series, sponsored by the Des Moines Public Library Foundation and its generous donors, brings prominent national and international authors to central Iowa for free speaking engagements each spring. Past speakers include Susan Orlean (2019), Amor Towles (2018), Rebecca Skloot (2015), Amy Tan (2013), Rainbow Rowell (2011), Janet Evanovich (2006), and dozens more since 2001.
Our 2020 lineup features a slate of bestselling authors ranging from a Women's Prize for Fiction Winner, to a former National Book Award winner and multiple NBA finalist, to a 2019 National Book Award finalist, to the author of a New York Times "Best Book of the Year" pick and Carnegie Medal finalist, to one of the world's most popular storytellers. Meet the authors of some the most recent revered and acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction in recent years.
Tayari Jones at the DSM Book Festival
Saturday, March 28, 3:00 PM, Capital Square
Tayari Jones is the author of four novels, including her most recent book, the mega-bestseller An American Marriage. Proclaimed by several outlets as one of the best books of 2018, the novel was awarded the Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Aspen Words Prize and an NAACP Image Award. It has been published in more than two dozen countries and sold hundreds of thousands of copies. Jones earned a Master's Degree in English from the University of Iowa.
Thursday, April 9, 7:00 PM, Central Library
Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. He released two books in 2019. The first, Go Ahead in the Rain, chronicles A Tribe Called Quest, the seminal 1990s rap group. It was named one of the best books of 2019 by publications such as GQ, Library Journal, the Chicago Tribune, and others, was longlisted for the National Book Award and a finalist for the Kirkus Prize, and was named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Awards for criticism. His 2019 poetry book, A Fortune For Your Disaster, was a Goodreads Best Poetry book finalist.
Wednesday, April 22, 7:00 PM, Franklin Jr. High Auditorium
David Baldacci is a global #1 best-selling author and one of the world's most famous storytellers. His books have been published in more than 80 countires and have sold more than 150 million copies worldwide. In 2008, Baldacci won the International Thriller Writers first ever Silver Bullet Award, which recognizes outstanding and meritorious achievement in philanthropic endeavors. His family’s Wish You Well Foundation supports family and adult literacy programs in the United States. He also received the Literary Lifetime Achievement Award from the Library of Virginia in 2017. His newest thriller, Walk the Wire, will be released on April 21
Thursday, April 23, 7:00 PM, Central Library
Kate Quinn is a New York Times bestselling historical fiction author. She’s written several novels, including The Huntress, which was published in 2019, and The Empress of Rome series. Her 2017 novel, The Alice Network, was a runaway bestseller, and one of the first Reese Witherspoon Hello Sunshine book club selections. The Alice Network the third-most requested novel at the Des Moines Public Library in 2019.
Wednesday, May 6, 7:00 PM, Central Library
Adam Higginbotham is a journalist and author whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, Wired, GQ, and The New York Times Magazine, among other publications. His critically acclaimed book, Midnight in Chernobyl, examines the Chernobyl nuclear path disaster in 1986 and its aftermath. The book earned Higginbotham the 2020 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction.
Thursday, May 14, 7:00 PM, Central Library
Brad Meltzer is a New York Times #1 bestselling author and television host. In 2019, he published, along with Josh Mensch, The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington, a nonfiction book about an assassination plot against George Washington. His new book (again with Josh Mensch), The Lincoln Conspiracy: The Plot to Kill America's 16th President - And Why It Failed, details the true story of a foiled assassination attempt against President Lincoln in 1861. It will be released on May 5.
Wednesday, May 27, 7:00 PM, Sheslow Auditorium (Drake University)
Jacqueline Woodson is the bestselling author of more than two dozen books, and the recipient of many of the most prestigious literary awards and honors, including: a four-time National Book Award finalist, a two-time NAACP Image Award winner, four-time Newbery Award winner, and served as the Young People’s Poet Laureate from 2015-2017 and the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress in 2018 and 2019.
Her newest novel, Red at the Bone, was an instant bestseller and named one of the best books of 2019 by Oprah Magazine.
2020 AViD Author Reads
- A Fortune for Your Disaster: Poems (2019)
- Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest (2019)
- They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us (2017)
- Amos Decker Series
- Atlee Pine Series
- Aloysius Archer Series
- One Good Deed (2019)
- Will Robie Series
- John Puller Series
- Shaw Series
- The Camel Club Series
- Sean King and Michelle Maxwell Series
- Stand-alone novels
- For Young Readers
- The Huntress (2019)
- Ribbons of Scarlet (2019)
- The Alice Network (2017)
- The Empress of Rome Saga
- The Borgia Chronicles
- Midnight in Chernobyl (2019)
- The Lincoln Conspiracy (2020)
- The First Conspiracy (2019)
- The Escape Artist (2018)
- The House of Secrets (2016)
- The President's Shadow (2015)
- The Fifth Assassin (2013)
- The Inner Circle (2011)
- The Book of Lies (2008)
- The Book of Fate (2006)
- The Zero Game (2005)
- The Millionaires (2002)
- The First Counsel (2001)
- Dead Even (1998)
- The Tenth Justice (1997)
- The "I Am..." Series (children's books)
- Adult Novels
- Young Adult Books
- Picture Books