In honor of Black History Month and recognizing the importance of uplifting diverse voices and stories now and throughout the year, we are presenting our Annual Race in America event. Although in years past it has been as a one night panel event, for 2022, we will host a mini series of sort. This will include three consecutive nights (February 22- 24 @ 5:30pm PST) of provocative discussions around timely issues impacting Black communities and featuring BIPOC authors, with particular expertise.
Additionally, we have other special presentations that are part of our “Conversations with Authors” program as tribute to Black History Month. This includes former Stockton mayor, Michael Tubbs who is is currently serving as a special adviser for economic mobility and opportunity for Governor Gavin Newsom, and Elizabeth Nyamayaro. Elizabeth is author of I am a Girl From Africa, and an award-winning humanitarian and Special Advisor for United Nations World Food Program. Check the Book Passage calendar for event details.
An exploration of NYC and America in the burgeoning moments before the start of the Civil War through the eyes of a young, biracial girl—the highly anticipated new novel from the winner of the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize.
In Moon and the Mars, set in the impoverished Five Points district of New York City in the years 1857-1863, we experience neighborhood life through the eyes of Theo from childhood to adolescence, an orphan living between the homes of her Black and Irish grandmothers. Throughout her formative years, Theo witnesses everything from the creation of tap dance to P.T. Barnum's sensationalist museum to the draft riots that tear NYC asunder, amidst the daily maelstrom of Five Points work, hardship, and camaraderie. Meanwhile, white America's attitudes towards people of color and slavery are shifting—painfully, transformationally—as the nation divides and marches to war.
As with her first novel, The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter, which was praised by Viet Thanh Nguyen, Robin D.G. Kelley, and Angela Y. Davis, among many others, Corthron's use of dialogue brings her characters to life in a way that only an award-winning playwright and scriptwriter can do. As Theo grows and attends school, her language and grammar change, as does her own vocabulary when she's with her Black or Irish families. It's an extraordinary feat and a revelation for the reader.
Kia Corthron's debut fiction, The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter, was the winner of the 2016 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice. She was the 2017 Bread Loaf Shane Stevens Fellow in the Novel. She is also a nationally and internationally produced playwright. For her body of work for the stage, she has garnered the Windham Campbell Prize for Drama, the Horton Foote Prize, the United States Artists Jane Addams Fellowship, the Flora Roberts Award, and others. She was born and raised in Cumberland, Maryland, and lives in Harlem, New York City.
Kia Corthron photo Sophie Kandaouroff