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Award-Winning Readings: National Book Award Nominees and Finalists in Fiction
Saturday, November 17, 2018 @ 11:00 am
Room 3314 (Building 3, 3rd Floor)
300 NE Second Ave., Miami, Fl 33132 United States
- Saturday, November 17, 2018
- 11:00 am
Brandon Hobson is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation tribe. He is a recipient of a 2016 Pushcart Prize, and his writing has appeared in such places as Conjunctions, NOON, The Paris Review Daily, the Believer, and elsewhere. His books include Desolation of Avenues Untold, Deep Ellum, and The Levitationist. Where the Dead Sit Talking (Soho Press), his latest novel, is a startling, authentically voiced and lyrically written Native American coming-of-age story. With his single mother in jail, Sequoyah, a fifteen-year-old Cherokee boy, is placed in foster care with the Troutt family. Literally and figuratively scarred by his mother’s years of substance abuse, Sequoyah keeps mostly to himself, living with his emotions pressed deep below the surface. At least until he meets seventeen-year-old Rosemary, another youth staying with the Troutts. Sequoyah and Rosemary bond over their shared Native American background and tumultuous paths through the foster care system, but as Sequoyah’s feelings toward Rosemary deepen, the precariousness of their lives and the scars of their pasts threaten to undo them both.
Daniel Gumbiner was born and raised in Northern California. He graduated from UC Berkeley in 2011 and now lives in Southern Nevada. The Boatbuilder (McSweeney’s) is his first novel. At 28 years old, Eli "Berg" Koenigsberg has never encountered a challenge he couldn't push through, until a head injury leaves him with lingering headaches and a weakness for opiates. Berg moves to a remote Northern California town, seeking space and time to recover, but soon finds himself breaking into homes in search of pills. Addled by addiction and chronic pain, Berg meets Alejandro, a reclusive, master boatbuilder, and begins to see a path forward. Alejandro offers Berg honest labor, but more than this, he offers him a new approach to his suffering, a template for survival amid intense pain. Nurtured by his friendship with Alejandro and aided, too, by the comradeship of many in Talinas, Berg begins to return to himself. Written in gleaming prose, this is a story about resilience, community, and what it takes to win back your soul.
Jamel Brinkley is a graduate of Columbia University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He has received fellowships from Kimbilio Fiction, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and Stanford University. A Lucky Man (Graywolf Press) is his first book. Garth Greenwell writes, “This is the rare debut that introduces not a promising talent but a major writer, fully formed.” In the nine expansive, searching stories of A Lucky Man, fathers and sons attempt to salvage relationships with friends and family members and confront mistakes made in the past. Jamel Brinkley’s stories, in a debut that announces the arrival of a significant new voice, reflect the tenderness and vulnerability of black men and boys whose hopes sometimes betray them, especially in a world shaped by race, gender, and class―where luck may be the greatest fiction of all.
Jennifer Clement is the President of PEN International, the first woman to be elected since PEN was founded in 1921. Clement is the author four novels: Prayers for the Stolen, A True Story Based on Lies, The Poison That Fascinates and Gun Love. She has also published of four books of poetry including The Next Stranger (with an introduction by W.S. Merwin). Clement’s books have been translated into 30 languages. Gun Love (Hogarth) is the searing, unforgettable story of a young girl's resilience. Pearl's mother took her away from her family just weeks after she was born and drove off to central Florida determined to begin a new life for herself and her daughter--in the parking lot next to a trailer park. Pearl grew up in the front seat of their '94 Mercury, while her mother lived in the back. Despite their hardships, mother and daughter both adjusted to life, making friends with the residents of the trailers and creating a deep connection to each other. All around them, Florida is populated with gun owners--those hunting alligators for sport, those who want to protect their families, and those who create a sense of danger.
Nafissa Thompson-Spires earned a doctorate in English from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Illinois. Her work has appeared in Story Quarterly, Lunch Ticket, and The Feminist Wire, among other publications. She was a 2016 fellow of the Callaloo Writer’s Workshop.
Rebecca Makkai is the author of The Borrower, The Hundred-Year House, which won the Novel of the Year Award from the Chicago Writers Association, and Music for Wartime. Her work has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, Harper's, and Tin House, among others. The Great Believers (Viking) is her dazzling new novel of friendship and redemption in the face of tragedy and loss set in 1980s Chicago and contemporary Paris. In 1985, Yale Tishman, the development director for an art gallery in Chicago, is about to pull off an amazing coup, bringing in an extraordinary collection of 1920s paintings as a gift to the gallery. Yet as his career begins to flourish, the carnage of the AIDS epidemic grows around him. One by one, his friends are dying and after his friend Nico's funeral, the virus circles closer and closer to Yale himself. Soon the only person he has left is Fiona, Nico's little sister. Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris tracking down her estranged daughter who disappeared into a cult. While staying with an old friend, a famous photographer who documented the Chicago crisis, she finds herself finally grappling with the devastating ways AIDS affected her life and her relationship with her daughter. The two intertwining stories take us through the heartbreak of the eighties and the chaos of the modern world, as both Yale and Fiona struggle to find goodness in the midst of disaster.
Tommy Orange is faculty at the Institute of American Indian Arts MFA program. He is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. He is the author of There There (Knopf). As we learn the reasons that each person is attending the Big Oakland Powwow, momentum builds toward a shocking yet inevitable conclusion that changes everything. Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame. Dene Oxendene is pulling his life back together after his uncle’s death and has come to work at the powwow to honor his uncle’s memory. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield has come to watch her nephew Orvil, who has taught himself traditional Indian dance through YouTube videos and will to perform in public for the very first time. There will be glorious communion, and a spectacle of sacred tradition and pageantry. And there will be sacrifice, and heroism, and loss. There There is a wondrous and shattering portrait of an America few of us have ever seen. It’s “masterful . . . white-hot . . . devastating” (The Washington Post) at the same time as it is fierce, funny, suspenseful, thoroughly modern, and impossible to put down. This is the book that everyone is talking about right now, and it’s destined to be a classic.