Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah | Chain Gang All-Stars with Daniel Torday | The 12th Commandment
With characters situated in surreal, Twilight Zone-esque, yet all-too-familiar positions of oppression within our most venerable institutions, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s 2018 debut fiction collection, Friday Black, was praised as a "vivid, original” portrait of “America in all its racism, weirdness and abject consumerism” (People). The winner of the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and the Saroyan Prize and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Award for Best First Book, Adjei-Brenyah has contributed work to some of the country’s most prestigious publications, including Guernica, Esquire, The New York Times Book Review, and The Paris Review. In Chain Gang All-Stars, his debut novel, he follows the gladiatorial fortunes of two women inmates who compete for their freedom in highly profitable and popular officially sanctioned prison death matches.
Praised by George Saunders as “a prodigiously talented writer, with a huge heart,” Daniel Torday won the National Jewish Book Award for both his debut novel The Sensualist and his follow-up, The Last Flight of Poxl West. His other work includes the novel Boomer1 as well as articles and essays published in Esquire, n+1, Tin House, and The New York Times, among other publications. A professor of creative writing at Bryn Mawr College, Torday is also the winner of the Sami Rohr Choice Prize. The 12th Commandment delves into the sins, redemptions, and secrets of an Ohio-based Jewish-Islamic religious sect grappling with the murder of its prophet’s son.