Set against a backdrop of sacred traditions, historical violence, and the metropolis of Oakland, California, Tommy Orange's debut novel is "a comic vision haunted by profound sadness" (Louise Erdrich). A finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize, There There is a multi-voiced epic of 12 Native characters whose contemporary lives intertwine across the urban landscape in ways they may not yet realize.

They're all headed to the Big Oakland Powwow, and toward a crescendo of sacrifice, unspeakable loss, and loving heroism. Hailed as an instant classic, There There is "funny and profane and conscious of the violence that runs like a scar through American culture" (The Seattle Times).

There There is accompanied by the One Book youth companion titles If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth (grades 5-8), and When We Were Alone by David A. Robertson and Julie Flett (K-3).

During an eight-week annual season, One Book, One Philadelphia offers free programming that includes book circles, panel discussions, film screenings, art workshops for all ages, cooking demonstrations, performances, and family and children's activities throughout all 54 locations of the Free Library of Philadelphia and at schools and partner organizations.

One Book programs from January to March 2020 explore Lenape history, Indigenous erasure, displacement, and the ongoing legacies of settler colonialism, as well as gentrification, pop culture, Native lifeways and self-representation. Guided by Tommy Orange's powerful voice, One Book events and book discussions center on Indigenous communities and the importance of supporting their continued existence. Programming is created in partnership with dozens of organizations, including Indigenous 215, We Are the Seeds, Counter Narrative Society, Natives at Penn and many others.

Hundreds of community partners contribute resources to help ensure a successful season of One Book, One Philadelphia. We are grateful to our sponsors and partners for their tremendous support of this beloved city tradition that engages thousands of readers.

The official reading period lasts from October to December 2019, with programming beginning on January 22, 2020 with the Kickoff Event at Parkway Central Library. Join us then for a conversation with Tommy Orange, and in the meantime, check out a copy of There There from your neighborhood library.

Primary Sponsors

  • The Field Foundation

  • The Lenfest Foundation

  • PECO. An Exelon Company.
Media Partners

For more information, please call 215-814-3514 or email

2020 One Book, One Philadelphia