Library hosts month of programming focused on race and isolation with ‘Heads of the Colored People’ Author

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Library hosts month of programming focused on race and isolation with ‘Heads of the Colored People’ Author

Nafissa Thompson-Spires’ short-story collection focus of 2019 DC Reads

In 2019, America still celebrates the first African-American who achieves a milestone. But how does that person deal with the pressure and the loneliness that can come with being the first or the only African-American? This May, the Library will explore those themes with programs centering on Nafissa Thompson-Spires's "Heads of the Colored People” as part of the 2019 DC Reads celebration.
 
In the book, 2019 Whiting Award-winning writer Nafissa Thompson-Spires captures the voices of African-Americans who are isolated in spaces that were historically white. Stories include mothers who argue with each other through notes in their children’s backpacks, a new mother and funeral singer who is driven mad with grief for victims of gun violence, and an upper middle-class teen who desires to connect with her culture. Included in Best Books of 2018 Lists from Refinery29, NPR, The Root, HuffPost, Vanity Fair, Bustle, Chicago Tribune, PopSugar and The Undefeated, the book explores the lives and identities of a diverse set of African-American characters with wit and sensitivity. The title is a reference to “Heads of the Colored People, Done With a Whitewash Brush” by the 19th-Century physician and abolitionist James McCune Smith.
 
DC Reads programs for "Heads of the Colored People” include a kickoff discussion at Howard University Bookstore led by Dana Williams, chair of Howard University's Department of African-American Literature; a Blerdcon at the Dorothy I. Height/Benning Library; and book clubs and discussion groups around the city. People can also take part in a May 15 Twitter chat at 5 p.m. using the hashtag #ShortStoryDC.
 
On May 31, Nafissa Thompson-Spires will visit, discuss and sign copies of her book at THEARC: Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus. Books will be available for purchase following the discussion. To RSVP for the discussion, click here.  
 
DC Reads is a DC Public Library program that promotes reading for pleasure by having citywide discussions and events over a month focusing on one book. In the past, DC Reads has focused on books like “The Refugees" by Viet Thanh Nguyen; ”The Other Wes Moore” by Wes Moore; “Reading Lolita in Tehran“ by Azar Nafisi and “A Lesson Before Dying“ by Ernest J. Gaines.
 
To learn more about DC Reads, including the schedule of events and downloadable discussion guides for "Heads of the Colored People," click here.