HOW’S THIS FOR A PLOT TWIST? After a successful first year, the Santa Fe International Literary Festival returns—but with a new name and broader reach. With the addition of “international” to its moniker, the festival hopes to emphasize the universal nature of storytelling. Critically acclaimed writers from around the world join American novelists John Irving, Jennifer Egan, and Gillian Flynn for readings and author conversations, an open mic, culinary and cocktail events, and walking tours May 19–21. “SFILF is about bringing readers and authors together—from around the world and close to home—to celebrate our shared humanity,” says festival co-founder Clare Hertel. Here are six storytellers you don’t want to miss.

Colum McCann

Dublin-born Colum McCann won the 2009 National Book Award for Let the Whole World Spin. His deeply empathetic 2020 novel Apeirogon tells the story of two fathers who come together through the loss of their daughters in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. “Apeirogon may be his most transcendent novel yet,” says Mark Bryant, the festival’s chief curator. “It speaks to love, loss, compassion, and friendship anywhere. It’s utterly wondrous.” Friday, 6:30 p.m.

Sally Denton and Michael McGarrity

Santa Fe investigative reporter and historian Sally Denton joins Michael McGarrity, New Mexico author of the best-selling Kevin Kerney crime series, in a conversation on crime, punishment, cops, and journalists. Denton’s The Colony: Faith and Blood in a Promised Land (2022) looks at the 2019 killings of nine women and children in a fundamentalist Mormon sect in northern Mexico. “Sally is such a bold and exacting reporter,” says Bryant. “She sure knows how to tell a story.” Saturday, 2 p.m.

David Treuer

Barack Obama named David Treuer’s The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present one of the best books of 2019. From the Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota, Treuer (Ojibwe) has written seven novels and has written for Travel + Leisure, Esquire, and the New York Times. “The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee blends history with deep reporting and memoir in an essential portrait of a resilient people in brutal, trying times,” Bryant says. Saturday, 2 p.m.

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s debut short-story collection, Friday Black, was a bestseller in 2018, the same year he was chosen as one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35.” His first novel, Chain-Gang All-Stars, is an Afro-surrealist take on the future of incarceration. “It’s satire at its bruising best,” Bryant says. “His book is just so original, so brutal, tender, clear-eyed, and full of voice.” Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

Ingrid Rojas Contreras

Colombia-born Ingrid Rojas Contreras followed her debut novel, Fruit of the Drunken Tree (2018), with the luminous family history and National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist The Man Who Could Move Clouds (2022). “Ingrid is a blazingly good writer,” Bryant says. “I’m keen to read whatever comes next.” Sunday, 2 p.m.

Read more: The town known as the “Soul of the Southwest” holds a trove of literary treasures. Open a map and find your muse.


May 19–21
Santa Fe Community Convention Center, 201 W. Marcy St., Santa Fe