As we dash into 2024, the Free Library is looking forward to another season of its venerable Author Events series. Brave the cold and warm up with a red-hot slate of talks by some of today’s leading novelists, memoirists, poets, scientists, journalists, politicians, historians, futurists, and thought leaders of many stripes.
We kicked off the season on Thursday, January 18 with acclaimed novelist Annie Liontas and her new memoir Sex with a Brain Injury: On Concussion and Recovery. Listen to her interview on NPR’s Fresh Air.
Here are ten other events we’re excited about, but this is by no means an exhaustive list. For information on all events and ticketing, check out the Author Events page, as well as our Instagram, X (formerly known as Twitter), and Facebook pages.
Kiley Reid | Come and Get It — In conversation with Niela Orr
Wednesday, January 31, 2024: 7:30 p.m. → Ticket Required
The author of the acclaimed novel Such a Fun Age, a “hilarious, uncomfortable and compulsively readable story about race and class” (TIME), returns with a new work of fiction. In it, an ambitious University of Arkansas resident assistant grapples with her relationships with a professor and three boisterous students.
Watch Reid discuss some of the unhealthy and unfair expectations society places upon Black writers.
Grace Lin | Chinese Menu: The History, Myths, and Legends Behind Your Favorite American Chinese Foods — In conversation with Ellen Yin
Monday, February 12, 2024: 7:30 p.m. → Pay What You Wish
The New York Times bestselling children’s author and illustrator, Grace Lin earned the Newbery Honor for Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, the Theodor Geisel Honor for Ling and Ting, and the Caldecott Honor for A Big Mooncake for Little Star. Her novel When the Sea Turned to Silver was a National Book Award Finalist. In Chinese Menu, she serves up insights on the history, legends, and myths behind favorite American Chinese dishes.
Before you join us for the event, check out Lin’s YouTube channel to catch some of her “One-Minute Myth” videos about such Chinese culinary topics as rice, oolong tea, and fortune cookies.
Calvin Trillin | The Lede: Dispatches from a Life in the Press
Thursday, February 15, 2024: 7:30 p.m. → Ticket Required
“Perhaps the finest reporter in America” (The Miami Herald), Calvin Trillin has written more than 400 nonfiction and comic articles for The New Yorker since 1963. His books include U.S. Journal and Killings, collections of his columns from between 1967 and 1982. Replete with his signature empathy and wit, The Lede is a portrait of journalists and their craft constructed through curated articles from his six-decade career.
Check out Trillin’s 2007 and 2011 appearances at the Free Library. Check out a clip of Trillin’s classic 1984 appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
Tommy Orange | Wandering Stars: A Novel
Thursday, March 7, 2024: 7:30 p.m. → Pay What You Wish
The author of the novel There There, a national bestseller and Pulitzer Prize finalist lauded by scores of publications as one of the best books of 2018. In Wandering Stars, he revisits some of the characters from There There and paints new protagonists in America’s past as he examines the tragic legacies of the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, and the country’s contemporary war on its indigenous peoples.
There There was also the 2020 One Book One Philadelphia selection. See one of his previous talks with us on the Free Library Podcast. And check out his quick explanation of the unlikely career path that led him to write on YouTube.
Kara Swisher | Burn Book: A Tech Love Story — In conversation with Tamala Edwards, anchor, 6abc Action News morning edition
Tuesday, March 12, 2024: 7:30 p.m. → Ticket Required
The award-winning journalist who has covered the business of the Internet since 1994, the host of the podcast On with Kara Swisher offers a scathing but balanced account of the tech industry and its founders, based on her many decades of experience with Silicon Valley’s most important figures, failures, and innovations.
Watch her “brief but spectacular” take on Big Tech power on YouTube.
Fareed Zakaria | Age of Revolutions: Progress and Backlash from 1600 to the Present
Thursday, March 28, 2024: 7:30 p.m. → Ticket Required
The host of CNN’s flagship domestic and international affairs program Fareed Zakaria GPS, a weekly columnist for the Washington Post, and the author of four New York Times bestsellers presents a new book in which he melds historical study with contemporary analysis to map how societal upheavals and political paradigm shifts define our current culture of polarization.
Watch Zakaria’s take on what the world sees and America does not.
Stacey Abrams | Rogue Justice: A Thriller
Friday, April 5, 2024: 7:30 p.m. → Ticket Required
The Ronald W. Walters Endowed Chair for Race and Black Politics at Howard University, former minority leader in the Georgia House of Representatives, Democratic nominee for governor of Georgia, and New York Times bestselling author presents her latest thriller, Rogue Justice, which follows the continuing intrigues of While Justice Sleeps’ protagonist, Supreme Court law clerk Avery Keene, as she unravels a conspiracy involving a slew of federal judges.
Watch Abrams describe three things she learned writing this book. And don’t forget to check out her 2020 virtual appearance with us.
Amy Tan | The Backyard Bird Chronicles
Monday, April 29, 2024: 7:30 p.m. → Ticket Required
The author of the beloved novel The Joy Luck Club, a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, pecks out a thoughtful ode to birding and the hidden beauty that lives around us, nested together with her own soaring illustrations.
Watch a quick explanation of just why it is that Tan loves birds on YouTube.
Erik Larson | The Demon of Unrest: A Saga of Hubris, Heartbreak, and Heroism at the Dawn of the Civil War
Sunday, May 5, 2024: 7:30 p.m. → Ticket Required
Erik Larson is the bestselling author of eight critically acclaimed popular history books, including The Splendid and the Vile, In the Garden of Beasts, The Devil in the White City, and Dead Wake. In The Demon of Unrest, Larson delves into the five pivotal months preceding the Civil War to expose the controversies, crises, and personalities that led America into its bloodiest war.
So where do his unique book subject ideas come from? Wonder no longer!
Colm Tóibín | Long Island: A Novel
Monday, May 13, 2024: 7:30 p.m. → Ticket Required
Colm Tóibín is the author of an impressive list of novels, short stories, essays, plays, poetry, and criticism. His novels The Master, The Testament of Mary, and Brooklyn were shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and the last was adapted into a popular BAFTA Award-winning film of the same name. Set 20 years after the events of Brooklyn, Long Island finds the enigmatic émigré protagonist of that book alone in her marriage and facing the travails of middle age and unfulfilled dreams.
In this YouTube clip, he offers some incredible advice about approaching, beginning, and building novels.