Zeyn Joukhadar on The Thirty Names of Night

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“To me, it was really important to do justice to the complexity of the lives of queer and trans people in my community, and the lives of queer and trans people of color more broadly.” In this Simon & Schuster video, Zeyn Joukhadar speaks about the journey of the protagonist in his second novel, The Thirty Names of Night (Atria Books, 2020). For more Joukhadar, read his installment of Ten Questions.

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Ocean Vuong on War, Sexuality, and Asian American Identity

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“I would sneak out of recess, stay in the library to listen to tapes of famous speeches, and one of them was Martin Luther King,” recounts Ocean Vuong about his childhood in this interview with Michel Martin for Amanpour and Company. “You could hear the static when he was giving the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, and I thought...who is this man talking about dreams in a snowstorm?” Vuong was awarded the 2020 Brooklyn Public Library Fiction & Poetry Prize for his novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (Penguin Press, 2019).

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AAWW at Home: Yu Miri

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“I come from a place of not belonging and perhaps I started writing in order to make a place where I belonged in the world of novels or plays.” In this AAWW video, Yu Miri answers questions about her life and writing process, and reads from her novel Tokyo Ueno Station (Riverhead Books, 2020), translated from the Japanese by Morgan Giles, which won the 2020 National Book Award in translated literature.

Douglas Stuart Reads From Shuggie Bain

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“She’s seen by those around her as being too much, but in fact, it’s not that she is too much, it’s that the world around her isn’t enough.” In this video for Perthshire Pride, Douglas Stuart introduces the characters from his debut novel, Shuggie Bain (Grove Press, 2020), for which he won the 2020 Booker Prize, and reads a short excerpt.

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National Book Foundation’s Literarian Award to Carolyn Reidy

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“You knew that she was motivated by the basic concept that we’re here for a short while, and we have to make sure we make it about something larger than just ourselves.” In this video from the 2020 National Book Awards Ceremony, authors and colleagues speak about the influence of Carolyn Reidy, the late president and CEO of Simon & Schuster, who was honored with the National Book Foundation’s 2020 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. Reidy died on May 12, 2020 at the age of seventy-one.

Jacqueline Woodson on BookTube

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“I had a teacher who said, ‘Instead of lying, write it down. Cause it’s fiction. It’s not a lie anymore,’” says Jacqueline Woodson. “I feel like that’s one of the things I go back to, is that moment where my stories became legitimized.” In this episode of BookTube, Woodson sits down with CeCe Ewing, Ebony and Denice Nuñez, and Elaine Welteroth to discuss writing and reading, as well as gender and queer identity.

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The Good Lord Bird

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National Book Award–winning novel The Good Lord Bird (Riverhead Books, 2013) by James McBride has been adapted into a seven-episode series starring Rafael Casal as Cook, Daveed Diggs as Frederick Douglass, Ethan Hawke as John Brown, and Joshua Caleb Johnson as Onion. The series finale airs this Sunday on Showtime.

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Valzhyna Mort Reads Belarusian 1

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During National Poetry Month last April, Words Without Borders asked its contributors to read their favorite poems from their archive. In this video, Valzhyna Mort reads her poem “Belarusian 1,” translated from the Belarusian by Franz Wright. Mort talks about her new poetry collection, Music for the Dead and Resurrected (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2020), in a recent installment of Ten Questions.

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Barnes & Noble Book Club With Brit Bennett

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In this Barnes & Noble Book Club virtual event, Brit Bennett speaks about the themes and writing inspiration behind her latest novel, The Vanishing Half (Riverhead Books, 2020), with Kiley Reid, and answers questions from readers. The novel was longlisted for the 2020 National Book Award in fiction.

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