Spring 2020 Author Events Preview

By Author Events RSS Wed, January 8, 2020

As we head into the roaring '20s, let’s look forward to the Spring 2020 Free Library Author Events schedule, highlight a few of our guests, and offer up some other important details...

Tickets go on sale to the public today, Wednesday, January 8 at 10:00 a.m.

As per our usual M.O., our schedule is replete with a vast variety of topics, authors, genres, and interests. Fiction, politics, poetry, local authors, food writing, humor, nonfiction, celebrity memoir, and much more.

Let’s start right here in Philly with Liz Moore, an MFA creative writing professor at Temple and a recipient of University of Pennsylvania’s ArtsEdge residency, and Philadelphia’s Athenaeum Literary Award. She’ll be here on Tuesday, January 14 with her new novel Long Bright River, a noir-ish tale of two sisters on opposite sides of our city’s—and nation’s—opioid epidemic. 

If you feel like you’ve heard some very recent buzz on Long Bright River, it’s because you probably have. On January 3, it was named Good Morning America’s very first GMA Book Club pick for 2020.

Next up, we welcome back Nicolas D Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, the first married team to win the Pulitzer Prize. Here in 2014 for an uplifting look at people who are making the world a better place, on Tuesday, January 21 they’ll discuss Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope, a call-to-action and guidebook for solutions to the plight of working-class Americans. Forbes magazine calls it "required reading for social entrepreneurs." And for the rest of us, as well.

Please note that this event will be held off-site and that if you plan on attending multiple events this season, you should probably take note of the few that will not take place in our usual Parkway Central Library auditorium.

How well do you know Joseph Simmons? Not very well, you say? Perhaps you know him better by his nom de hip hop. Here’s a hint—it’s tricky! Okay, here’s a better hint.

Simmons is better known as the "Run" in the seminal Run-DMC, and later as "Rev Run" in the popular reality show Run’s House, in which he co-starred with his wife Justine and their children. In case you somehow missed it:

Rev and Justine will appear on our stage on Wednesday, February 12 with Old School Love: And Why It Works, a look at the practical secrets and principles that have served them during their 25 years of marriage. So walk this way and join us, Philly!



One of our favorite book titles of the season has to be Deacon King Kong, the story of a polarizing shooting in a 1960s Brooklyn housing project.. Its author, James McBride, will be discussing this new novel here on Wednesday, March 11, which will mark his fifth (!) appearance on our stage (a particular favorite is his 2016 biography of the Godfather of Soul, James Brown).

It’s featured here on the New York Times’ list of 20 books to watch for in 2020. While you’re reading, try to spot the other spring 2020 Free Library authors (not to mention past guests) featured. Clue: there are several.

On Thursday, March 12 we welcome Rebecca Solnit and her fraught, tender memoir, Recollections of My Nonexistence. In it, the feminist icon paints a portrait of her life as a young artist against the tableau of a San Francisco rife with trauma and uncertainty.

As enthusiastic as we are for Solnit’s new book, we also very much encourage you to check out the one-of-a-kind atlas trilogy she coauthored with Rebecca Snedeker and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro that seek to radically change how we see place, specifically San Francisco, New Orleans, and New York. It’s hard to explain. You just have to see them for yourself...

She’ll be in conversation with New Yorker staff writer Jia Tolentino, author of Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion.

Hilary Mantel (one of the authors featured on the aforementioned New York Times’ list), will join us on Tuesday, March 17 with The Mirror and the Light, the conclusion to her acclaimed trilogy of novels about King Henry VIII’s Lord Great Chamberlain and all-around powerbroker Thomas Cromwell. Think Succession but with executions and pantaloons. Not familiar? Here’s a brief primer that discusses Cromwell’s downfall, a large focus of the new book, though you should obviously be warned that there are spoilers.


Then again, he died almost 480 years ago, so maybe spoilers are a bit moot now. Here’s one of the most famous paintings of this handsome, ruthless devil.

And check out this brief but gorgeous trailer from The Mirror and the Light’s publisher:

And lastly, on Wednesday, April 22 we’re hosting world-renowned dancer, choreographer, and stage director Mark Morris, founder of the famous dance company that bears his name, as well as the former director of dance at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, and, with Mikhail Baryshnikov, founder of the White Oak Dance Project. You could go down a total Youtube rabbit hole of videos of his company’s beautiful productions. Here’s one to start you off:






He’ll be here on our stage to discuss his new memoir Out Loud, which details his life as a young dancer and emergence as a major artist. 

His co-author on the book and interlocutor at his talk is Wes Stace, a longtime Free Library author events favorite. In addition to presenting his own work for us, he’s interviewed everyone from Salman Rushdie to Moby with us. Here’s a funny bit from Morris on their collaboration:

Please note that this is but a sampling of our Spring 2020 fare. Check out the rest of this eclectic season at freelibrary.org/authorevents and be sure to get your tickets starting today, January 8. Some events are guaranteed to move quickly and we don’t want you to miss out.

Happy 2020, happy reading, and we can’t wait to see you here! Join us, won’t you, Philly?

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