CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - As the Virginia Festival of the Book wrapped up Sunday in Charlottesville, authors shared their perspectives on racism and diversity in our country. 

Dozens gathered at the Jefferson School African-American Heritage Center to hear from authors Esi Edugyan and John Edgar Wideman.

They discussed their books which tackle race, violence, and freedom; both authors received an Ansfield-Wolf Award for their work. The award recognizes writers who focus on racism and diversity.

During Sunday's talk, Edugyan and Wideman shared their perspectives on those issues, how they have personally impacted their lives, and how that contributed to their writing.

“Those voices are really important for us to understand the world that we're all living in together. If it's all just a certain kind of person that's speaking, and that's the only perspective that we hear we lose I think a lot in understanding that larger narrative,” said Matthew Gibson, executive director of Virginia Humanities.

Festival organizers said it was important for them to diversify the authors presenting in the festival so that attendees get to hear a variety of perspectives.

The event capped off the 2019 Virginia Festival of the Book. Racism and diversity were common themes at several of the events.

Organizers said they are already preparing for 2020’s festival.