We are thrilled to host one of this year’s festival’s headlining events—a reading to celebrate the highly-acclaimed fiction writers Lesley Nneka Arimah and Brandon Hobson. Arimah’s stories have been honored with a National Magazine Award, a Commonwealth Short Story Prize and an O. Henry Award. Her debut collection What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky won multiple awards and earned her a spot on the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35. The collection focuses on the lives and experiences of Nigerian women and how to deal with the heavy burden of grief. Her writing expertly weaves in speculative elements to everyday scenarios. Arimah allows the reader a different lens on important topics like gender norms, colonialism, and immigration. Hobson is the author of The Removed, as well as the novel Where the Dead Sit Talking, which was a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award, winner of the Reading the West Award, and longlisted for the Dublin International Literary Award. His novels highlight the remnants of ancestral trauma through societal justice systems and norms, connection between the natural and spiritual, and familial loss and grief. The authors will be reading their work and engaging in conversation with Spokane writer Alexis M. Smith.