Several topical threads will wind through the Tucson Festival of Books, set Saturday and Sunday, March 11-12 on the University of Arizona campus.

Pearl Harbor

The book festival is proximate to the USS Arizona Mall Memorial, which was dedicated Dec. 4 and honors those who died on the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked Dec. 7, 1941. There are several Pearl Harbor and World War II panels and discussions woven into the festival.

A cadre of authors will discuss the actual attack and the effects of it, including the U.S. relationship to the Allied and Axis powers, and the racism and mistreatment of Japanese immigrants and Japanese-American citizens, according to the festival’s website.

These authors and their books include:

Richard Cahan, “Un-American: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II”; Peter Hayes, “Why? Explaining the Holocaust”; Craig Nelson, “Pearl Harbor: From Infamy to Greatness”; Richard Reeves, “Infamy: The Shocking Story of the Japanese American Internment in World War II”; Pamela Sakamoto, “Midnight in Broad Daylight: A Japanese American Family Caught Between Two Worlds”; Steve Twomey, “Countdown to Pearl Harbor: The Twelve Days to the Attack”; and Marc Wortman, “1941: Fighting the Shadow War.”

National Book Award honorees

Two 2016 award winners will attend the festival and there will be a salute to the awards hosted by Lisa Lucas, executive director of the National Book Foundation, which oversees the annual awards, says Helene Woodhams, head of the festival’s literary committee and literary arts librarian for the Pima County Public Library at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library.

The festival’s lineup includes the 2016 winners for fiction, Colson Whitehead, who won the award for his novel “The Underground Railroad” and nonfiction, Ibram X. Kendi, who received the honor in nonfiction for “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.”

Also, several authors who were award finalists or on longlists who will be at the festival include, from fiction, Paulette Jiles and Elizabeth McKenzie; from nonfiction Andre Resendez and Adam Cohen; and from the children’s area, Grace Lin, says Woodhams.

LGBTQ issues

Panels and presentations on LGBTQ — lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (and/or questioning) — issues, both in the real world and in fiction, says Woodhams. Among the lineup:

Lillian Faderman, internationally known scholar on LGBT and ethnic history and literature, is the author of “The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle,” her authoritative work on the LGBT civil rights movement. Southern Arizona Senior Pride is bringing her to the festival.

Jim Obergefell, co-author with Debbie Cenziper of “The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality,” was the lead plaintiff in Obergefell v Hodges, the case in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that same-sex marriage is a right guaranteed by the Constitution.

Amy Ellis Nutt, a Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer for The Washington Post, whose newest book is “Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family.”

Ken Corbett, author of “A Murder Over a Girl: Justice, Gender, Junior High.”

The University of Arizona College of Social and Behavioral Sciences is a partial sponsor of these participants and the festival’s thread on LGBTQ issues, says Woodhams.

In addition, panels and discussions of books with underlying LGBTQ themes, experiences and stories for children and young adults, and how those experiences can shape young people will be offered at the festival, according to the website.

Southwest Books of the Year

Many of the authors whose books have been selected as “best reading” by the Pima County Public Library panel of specialists, with a Southwestern setting or subject will be at the festival, says Marcy Euler, the festival’s executive director. She says the festival is planning a more permanent presence for these authors.

The book festival’s website,, has presenting author profiles, schedules and information about the festival.