Upcoming Lectures

november

2019tue12nov7:30 pm9:00 pmTommy Orange7:30 pm - 9:00 pm EST John H. Mulroy Civic CenterEvent Type :25th Season 2019-2020

Event Details

Photograph © Elena Seibert

Tommy Orange is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel There There, a multi-generational, relentlessly paced story about a side of America few of us have ever seen: the lives of urban Native Americans.

Orange is a recent graduate from the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. He is a 2014 MacDowell Fellow, and a 2016 Writing by Writers Fellow. He is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. He was born and raised in Oakland, California, and currently lives in Angel’s Camp, California.

Time

(Tuesday) 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm EST

Location

John H. Mulroy Civic Center

march

2020tue31mar7:30 pm9:00 pmTayari Jones7:30 pm - 9:00 pm EST John H. Mulroy Civic CenterEvent Type :25th Season 2019-2020

Event Details

Photograph © Nina Subin

Tayari Jones’s An American Marriage has been a 2018 Oprah’s Book Club Selection, a instant New York Times bestseller, and a National Book Award finalist, with TK copies in print. This story of a marriage torn apart by a wrongful conviction has been called “haunting . . . beautifully written” (the New York Times Book Review) and “brilliant and heartbreaking . . . unforgettable” (USA Today). It was included on dozens of best-of-the-year lists, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time magazine, USA Today, and more.

“It’s among Tayari’s many gifts that she can touch us soul to soul with her words,” says Oprah Winfrey. The novel has been called “exquisite, timely and powerful” (Edwidge Danticat), and Jones has garnered praise for her “compassionate observation, her clear-eyed insight and her beautifully written and complex characters” (Amy Bloom) and her “heartbreaking and genuinely suspenseful love story” (Tom Perrotta). Michael Chabon says that Jones’s “vision . . . strength, and . . . truth-telling voice have found a new level of artistry and power.” Former president Barack Obama included it on his 2018 list of favorite reads, and former first lady Michelle Obama told the NYT that An American Marriage is on her nightstand.

Her previous novel, SILVER SPARROW, a story of a man’s deception, a family’s complicity, and the two teenage girls caught in the middle, was chosen for the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Library of contemporary classics. Her first novel, LEAVING ATLANTA, a coming-of-age story set against the city’s infamous African American child murders of 1979–81, won the Hurston/Wright Award for debut fiction. Her second novel, THE UNTELLING, about a family struggling to overcome the aftermath of a fatal car accident, received the Lillian Smith Book Award from the Southern Regional Council and the University of Georgia Libraries. The Village Voice wrote, “Tayari Jones is fast defining black middle-class Atlanta the way that Cheever did for Westchester.”

Jones has returned her hometown of Atlanta, where she is Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University. She holds degrees from Spelman College (BA), the University of Iowa (MA), and Arizona State University (MFA). She has received fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, United States Artist Foundation, and Black Mountain Institute. An accomplished and witty speaker, she has spoken at hundreds of colleges and universities, libraries, writers’ conferences, and literary series all over the country.

For more information on Tayari Jones, please visit tayarijones.com.

Time

(Tuesday) 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm EST

Location

John H. Mulroy Civic Center

april

2020tue14apr7:30 pm9:00 pmPaula McLain7:30 pm - 9:00 pm EST John H. Mulroy Civic CenterEvent Type :25th Season 2019-2020

Event Details

Photograph © Melanie Acevedo

Paula McLain’s critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling novel The Paris Wife has been a publishing phenomenon, with over 1.5 million copies in print. Painting a more complex portrait of Ernest Hemingway than many of us have come to expect, it transports us through his first wife Hadley’s eyes into the sumptuous, bohemian world of 1920s Paris and into the heart of a marriage that played a pivotal role in Hemingway’s budding literary career. The immediacy and intimacy of Hadley’s voice is irresistible; and as a woman coming into her own amid such literary legends as Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and her own husband, Hadley emerges as an unforgettable heroine.

McLain’s Circling the Sun, the remarkable story of pioneering horse trainer, adventurer, and aviator Beryl Markham, from her childhood in British East Africa to her relationship with hunter Denys Finch Hatton and her rivalry with Out of Africa author Karen Blixen—a notorious love triangle that changed the course of Markham’s life. Markham was the first woman to earn her license as a professional racehorse trainer, one of the first people in Africa—and the world—to have a commercial pilot’s license, the first bush pilot to successfully scout game from the air for safari hunters under impossibly dangerous circumstances, and the first woman to fly the Atlantic solo, east to west, the “hard way.”

McLain returns to the timeless subject of Ernest Hemingway, this time through the prism of his stormy relationship with the incomparable Martha Gellhorn, a force of nature who carved her own way in a man’s world in her novel Love and Ruin, New York Times bestseller and the first book about Gellhorn’s life. In McLain’s words, “Gellhorn was incandescent, a true original with brass and vivacity and courage to spare. I was instantly under her spell.” McLain’s beautifully rendered portraits of unsung women throughout history has made her popular with audiences of all varieties, and she speaks across the country, about her research, the compelling characters have that inspired her fiction, and insights into the writing process.

She received an MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan and has been awarded fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is also the author of two collections of poetry, a memoir, Like Family: Growing Up in Other People’s Houses, the debut novel, A Ticket to Ride. She currently lives in Cleveland with her family.

For more information on Paula McLain, please visit paulamclain.com.

Time

(Tuesday) 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm EST

Location

John H. Mulroy Civic Center

may

2020tue05may7:30 pm9:00 pmMarlon James7:30 pm - 9:00 pm EST John H. Mulroy Civic CenterEvent Type :25th Season 2019-2020

Event Details

Photograph © Mark Seliger

Marlon James won the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for A Brief History of Seven Killings, making him the first Jamaican author to take home the U.K.’s most prestigious literary award. In the work, James combines masterful storytelling with brilliant skill at characterization and an eye for detail to forge a bold novel of dazzling ambition and scope. He explores Jamaican history through the perspectives of multiple narrators and genres: the political thriller, the oral biography, and the classic whodunit confront the untold history of Jamaica in the 1970’s, with excursions to the assassination attempt on reggae musician Bob Marley, as well as the country’s own clandestine battles during the cold war. James cites influences as diverse as Greek tragedy, William Faulkner, the LA crime novelist James Ellroy, Shakespeare, Batman and the X-Men. Writing for The New York Times, Michiko Kakutani said of A Brief History of Seven Killings, “It’s epic in every sense of that word: sweeping, mythic, over-the-top, colossal and dizzyingly complex. It’s also raw, dense, violent, scalding, darkly comic, exhilarating and exhausting—a testament to Mr. James’s vaulting ambition and prodigious talent.” In addition to the Man Booker Prize, A Brief History of Seven Killings won the American Book Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Prize, the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, the Minnesota Book Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. James is in the process of adapting the work into an HBO television series.

Marlon James’ first novel, John Crow’s Devil, tells the story of a biblical struggle in a remote Jamaican village in the 1950s. Though rejected 70 times before being accepted for publication, John Crow’s Devil went on to become a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize, as well as a New York Times Editor’s Choice. His second novel, The Book of Night Women, is about a slave women’s revolt on a Jamaican plantation in the early 19th century. The work won the 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Minnesota Book Award, and was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award in fiction, as well as an NAACP Image Award. James’ short fiction and nonfiction have been anthologized in Bronx Noir, The Book of Men: Eighty Writers on How to Be a Man and elsewhere, and have appeared in Esquire, Granta, Harper’s, The Caribbean Review of Books and other publications. His widely read essay, “From Jamaica to Minnesota to Myself,” appeared in the New York Times Magazine. In early 2016 his viral video Are you racist? ‘No’ isn’t a good enough answer received millions of hits. He is currently working on the Dark Star Trilogy, a fantasy series set in African legend. The first book in the series will be Black Leopard, Red Wolf (Riverhead Books, February 5, 2019).

Marlon James was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1970. He graduated from the University of the West Indies in 1991 with a degree in Language and Literature, and from Wilkes University in Pennsylvania in 2006 with a Masters in creative writing. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota and teaches English and creative writing at Macalester College. In 2018 Marlon James received an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature.

Time

(Tuesday) 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm EST

Location

John H. Mulroy Civic Center

X