Spring has sprung, and so has the Free Library’s Author Events calendar!
Our events are, of course, still virtual, so you can enjoy our diverse array of authors from the comfort of wherever you’re social distancing. Most are also free, so there’s nothing stopping you from kicking back at home and learning more about the worlds of literary fiction, politics, history, social justice, cooking, and much more. We’ve recently added many new events to our line-up, so let’s preview a few April highlights!
Quiara Alegría Hudes, author of My Broken Language, will be joining us on Wednesday, April 7. The Pulitzer Prize winner’s lyrical new memoir is about her Philly barrio upbringing, the muse-like relationship her extended Puerto Rican family has had on her work, and her art. Hudes will be in conversation with fellow Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel. Don’t miss this one!
Oh, if you’re not familiar with Hudes, we know you’re familiar with Lin Manuel Miranda. Hudes co-wrote the acclaimed musical In the Heights with the famed Hamilton star and scribe. In the Heights will shortly be coming to the big screen as a movie musical.
On Tuesday, April 13, we’re deeply honored and excited to welcome Sonia Sanchez back to the Free Library. Referred to by Maya Angelou as "a lion in literature’s forest," this international living legend and Philadelphian will present a book of her collected poems. Black Arts Movement mainstay, former Philadelphia Poet Laureate, and winner of some of poetry’s biggest awards. What more need we say? An influence on American culture for the past five decades, Sanchez was featured in a recent episode of HBO’s Lovecraft Country.
And here she is at a TEDxPhiladelphia event, titled "What Does It Mean to Be Human?"
Natalie Diaz and Denice Frohman will join us Wednesday, April 21 to discuss Diaz’s new book of verse, Postcolonial Love Poem. This National Book Award-nominated collection seeks to transcend the horrors committed by America upon Indigenous people to find sublimity amongst vistas of words, the reversal of erasure, and the choice to love. It is, according to the New York Times, "No doubt one of the most important poetry releases in years, one to applaud for its considerable demonstration of skill, its resistance to dominant perspectives and its light wrought of desire." Below is a video of Diaz reading her poem, "They Don't Love You Like I Love You".
Also an acclaimed poet, Frohman has published and performed her work in a wide array of venues, and she is a former director at the Philly Youth Poetry Movement.
On Monday, April 26, Senator Mazie K. Hirono will discuss hert book, Heart of Fire: An Immigrant Daughter’s Story, with 6ABC's Tamala Edwards. The only immigrant and the first Asian American woman in the United States Senate, Hirono emigrated to Hawaii with her mother and brother when she was only seven years old. Now the Aloha State’s Junior Senator, she has long been considered a hero to the left because of her support for progressive causes and for speaking truth to power. Her memoir is about her journey from a single room in a Honolulu boarding house to Washington, D.C.’s halls of power. Sen. Hirono discusses her remarkable rise in the following video.
And lastly, on Wednesday, April 28, we’re excited to welcome Yusef Komunyakaa, author of Everyday Mojo Songs of Earth: New and Selected Poems, 2001–2021. He won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Neon Vernacular, a collection of poems that spoke about the realities of the Vietnam War, of which he was a veteran. Komunyakaa is the Distinguished Senior Poet in New York University’s creative writing program and the winner of just about every poetry award out there. Everyday Mojo Songs of Earth includes both new work and selected poems from the last two decades.
From PEN's 2013 World Voices Festival, here’s Komunyakaa discussing the need for bravery in poetry.
Remember, this is just a partial list of everything we have coming up in April!
Visit freelibrary.org/authorevents for a complete list, along with links to event registrations and where to purchase the books. All Author Events begin at 7:30 p.m., unless otherwise stated.
We’ll (virtually) see you at a future Author Event, Philly!