Start: 7:00 pm
Co-presented with the CENTRAL DISTRICT FORUM FOR ARTS & IDEAS. We are delighted to welcome back Jeffery Renard Allen, the author of an earlier novel (Rails Under My Back) and story collection (Holding Pattern) that won high praise, here tonight with a major, masterful new novel, Song of the Shank (Graywolf Press). Drawing from reading a story by Oliver Sacks in An Anthropologist on Mars, Jeffery Renard Allen further traced and developed, within the context of this novel, the story of the blind young pianist, Tom Wiggins, who would be the first African American to perform at the White House – before the age of ten. He had fame and a career over some years but soon faded from history, except as a footnote in savant account annals. Here is a brilliantly rendered life and times. “Both the conception and the underlying history behind this story will leave readers with a profound understanding of the inhumanity of slavery and 19th century racial attitudes … [An] admirable book that invites an important excavation of the past.” – Publishers Weekly. “The prodigiously talented Jeffery Renard Allen is without question one of our most important writers.” – Junot Díaz. For ticket information (TBA), please see www.cdforum.org. We will also have that information here on the website as it is available. The Northwest African American Museum (www.naamnw.org) is at 2300 South Massachusetts Street.
Start: 7:00 pm
A novelist who has won numerous awards and much praise for her work – with The Pleasing Hour, The English Teacher, and Father of the Rain, Lily King visits from her home in Maine to read from her beautiful, New Guinea-set novel, Euphoria (Atlantic Monthly Press). “With Euphoria, Lily King gives us a searing and absolutely mesmerizing glimpse into 1930s New Guinea, a world as savage and fascinating as Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, where obsessions ride to a feverish pitch, and three dangerously entangled anthropologists will never be the same again. I loved this book.” – Paula McLain.