Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, founder of The 1619 Project, speaks at Baltimore's CityLit Festival in 2022. Photo courtesy of CityLit Festival.

Baltimore’s 20th CityLit Festival will feature Andrew Carnegie Medal-winning poet and essayist Hanif Abdurraqib, former U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, and many others during the multi-day event starting March 25 at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

The festival, which returns to an in-person event this year, is cosponsored by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The festival also features appearances by poet Fatimah Asghar, author Megan Milks, and author Carmen Maria Machado.

“There’s no better opportunity than this longstanding, significant community festival to remind everyone that performance and literary arts go hand in hand,” said Mark C. Hanson, the BSO’s CEO and president, in a statement.

Known for his writting about music Abdurraqib published “A Little Devil In America” in 2021. The book was a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Abdurraqib will be joined by NYT best-selling author and former One Book Baltimore’s Jason Reynolds.

Joy Harjo, the 23rd U.S. Poet Laureate and the first Native American in the role, will discuss her time as the country’s poet-in-residence on March 28.

The festival offers emerging writers a chance to collaborate with established authors with panels, readings, informational sessions, and craft intensives.

The festival continues with additional events on March 28 and March 31.

The CityLit Festival will mark one of Baltimore’s first major literary events of 2023. The first-ever Waverly Book Festival is expected in April 2023, and the Greedy Reads bookstore in Remington will again host their Lost Weekend community literary festival later this year from Oct 20-22. Meanwhile, Baltimore Book Festival, last held in 2019, is not expected to return until 2024.

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