Virginia’s Center for the Book names new director Richmond Free Press

Writer, educator and arts collaborator Kalela Williams is returning to Virginia as the new director of the Virginia Center for the Book.

Ms. Williams most recently was director of writing for the Philadelphia organization, Mighty Writers, a nonprofit that teaches children to think clearly and to write with clarity. Over the past decade, she played a key role in implementing special program initiatives such as Philadelphia’s Free Library of Philadelphia, Opera Philadelphia, the Museum of the American Revolution and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

Prior to her work in Philadelphia, Ms. Williams was the assistant director of the Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University, and worked as an outreach admission counselor with the University of Virginia.

“I am thrilled to return to Virginia, and to be a part of the transformative conversations that books open up for us all,” Ms. Williams said. “It will be exciting to engage with fellow Virginians from every corner of this state through our upcoming Festival of the Book, and our center’s many other amazing offerings.”

The Virginia Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, works across the Commonwealth to unite communities of readers, writers, artists and book lovers through year-round programs.

and partnership initiatives such as the Virginia Festival of the Book, which occurs every year in March, as well as the year-round Shelf Life virtual event series and book arts studio located in Charlottesville’s Jefferson School City Center.

“We’re happy to welcome Kalela back to Virginia,” said Matthew Gibson, executive director of Virginia Humanities. “The Center for the Book is home to some of Virginia Humanities’ most cherished and successful programs. We look forward to seeing the direction those programs take under her leadership.”

In addition to her new role, Ms. Williams’ young adult novel, “The Tangleroot Papers,” is scheduled for publication in 2024.

To learn more about the Virginia Center for the Book, visit

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