Reader, Meet Writer: Black Voices, a Celebration of Black Joy
In partnership with the Southern Independent Bookseller Alliance, Page 158 Books is excited to present Reader, Meet Writer, a virtual event series featuring Southern authors hosted by national bestselling author Wiley Cash. Space is limited, so RSVP is required. Check out the rest of the tour on our website. Sign up here.
Ingram presents #BlackVoices a celebration of #BlackJoy Sponsored by HarperCollins
THE GONE DEAD
An electrifying first novel from "a riveting new voice in American fiction" (George Saunders): A young woman returns to her childhood home in the American South and uncovers secrets about her father's life and death
Billie James' inheritance isn't much: a little money and a shack in the Mississippi Delta. The house once belonged to her father, a renowned black poet who died unexpectedly when Billie was four years old. Though Billie was there when the accident happened, she has no memory of that day—and she hasn't been back to the South since.
Thirty years later, Billie returns but her father's home is unnervingly secluded: her only neighbors are the McGees, the family whose history has been entangled with hers since the days of slavery. As Billie encounters the locals, she hears a strange rumor: that she herself went missing on the day her father died. As the mystery intensifies, she finds out that this forgotten piece of her past could put her in danger.
Inventive, gritty, and openhearted, The Gone Dead is an astonishing debut novel about race, justice, and memory that lays bare the long-concealed wounds of a family and a country.
About the Author
Chanelle Benz has published work in Guernica, Granta.com, The New York Times, Electric Literature, The American Reader, Fence and others, and is the recipient of an O. Henry Prize. Her story collection The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead was published in 2017 by Ecco/HarperCollins. It was named a Best Book of 2017 by The San Francisco Chronicle and one of Electric Literature’s 15 Best Short Story Collections of 2017. It was also shortlisted for the 2018 Saroyan Prize and longlisted for the 2018 PEN/Robert Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and the 2017 Story Prize. Her novel The Gone Dead was published by Ecco/HarperCollins in June 2019 and was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice and a Tonight Show Summer Reads Finalist. It was named a best new book of the summer by O, The Oprah Magazine, Time, Southern Living, and Nylon. She currently lives in Memphis where she teaches at Rhodes College.
RECLAIMING HER TIME
In the tradition of Notorious RBG, a lively, beautifully designed, full-color illustrated celebration of the life, wisdom, wit, legacy, and fearless style of iconic American Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
“Let me just say this: I’m a strong black woman, and I cannot be intimidated. I cannot be undermined. I cannot be thought to be afraid of Bill O’Reilly or anyone.”—Maxine Waters
To millions nationwide, Congresswoman Maxine Waters is a hero of the resistance and an icon, serving eye rolls, withering looks, and sharp retorts to any who dare waste her time on nonsense. But behind the Auntie Maxine meme is a seasoned public servant and she’s not here to play. Throughout her forty years in public service and eighty years on earth, U.S. Representative for California’s 43rd district has been a role model, a crusader for justice, a game-changer, a trailblazer, and an advocate for the marginalized who has long defied her critics, including her most vocal detractor, Donald J. Trump. And she’s just getting started.
From her anti-apartheid work and support of affirmative action to her passionate opposition to the Iraq War and calls to hold Trump to account, you can count on Auntie Maxine to speak truth to power and do it with grace and, sometimes, sass. As ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee and one of the most powerful black women in America, she is the strong, ethical voice the country has always needed, especially right now.
Reclaiming Her Time pays tribute to all things Maxine Waters, from growing up in St. Louis “too skinny” and “too black,” to taking on Wall Street during the financial crisis and coming out on top in her legendary showdowns with Trump and his cronies. Featuring inspiring highlights from her personal life and political career, beloved memes, and testimonies from her many friends and fans, Reclaiming Her Time is a funny, warm, and admiring portrait of a champion who refuses to stay silent in the face of corruption and injustice; a powerful woman who is an inspiration to us all.
About the Authors
Helena Andrews-Dyer is a features reporter for the Washington Post and the author of the memoir-in-essays Bitch Is the New Black. R. Eric Thomas is a senior staff writer for Elle.com and the author of the memoir Here for It.
BETTER THAN THIS
Known for his poise, intellect, and influence until his death in October 2019, Elijah Cummings was one of the most respected figures in contemporary politics, a politician who held fast to his beliefs but was not afraid to reach across the aisle in the name of friendship and progress. Since his earliest days in government through his time as a representative and chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, he proved his abilities as a politician who could operate at the highest levels of democracy, serving the people of Baltimore and illustrating the importance of working with—and for—the underdog.
Yet in his final years of life, Cummings recognized that democracy was the underdog. We’re Better Than This draws from Cummings’s own life to show the formative moments that prepared him for the disturbing first years of the Trump presidency and spurred him to hold the administration accountable for their actions. Weaving together the urgent drama of modern-day politics and character-defining stories from his past, Cummings offers a never-before-told perspective on how his personal history, coming of age in South Baltimore, laid the foundation of a life spent fighting for justice. He goes behind the scenes with the House Democratic leadership, offering an eye-opening chronicle of the grim realities of holding the Trump administration to account. Detailing this moment of unprecedented obstructionism by both the president and Republicans, Cummings presents a vital defense of how government oversight defines our collective trust, examining the dangerous precedent for both parties that exists if the executive branch remains above public scrutiny.
Part memoir, part call to action, We’re Better Than This is the story of our modern-day democracy and the threats that we all must face together, as well as a retrospective on the life and career of one of our country’s most inspirational politicians. As we approach another test of our democracy, the next race for the White House, We’re Better Than This reminds people that in this country we don’t elect kings, and we cannot afford four more years of this false one.
About the Author
Congressman Elijah E. Cummings was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland and died there on October 17, 2019. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Howard University, serving as Student Government President and graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and then graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law. Congressman Cummings dedicated his life of service to uplifting and empowering the people he represented. He began his career of public service in the Maryland House of Delegates, where he served sixteen years and became the first African American in Maryland history to be named Speaker Pro Tem. First sworn in as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996, Congressman Cummings proudly represented Maryland's 7th District since 1996. He became Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in 2011 and was appointed as Chairman of the Committee in 2019.
THE KINDEST LIE
A masterful, eye-opening novel about the profound racial injustices and class inequalities roiling society in America.
A promise could betray you.
It’s 2008, and the inauguration of President Barack Obama ushers in a new kind of hope. In Chicago, Ruth Tuttle, an Ivy-League educated Black engineer, is married to a kind and successful man. He’s eager to start a family, but Ruth is uncertain. She has never gotten over the baby she gave birth to—and was forced to leave behind—when she was a teenager. She had promised her family she’d never look back, but Ruth knows that to move forward, she must make peace with the past.
Returning home, Ruth discovers the Indiana factory town of her youth is plagued by unemployment, racism, and despair. As she begins digging into the past, she unexpectedly befriends Midnight, a young white boy who is also adrift and looking for connection. Just as Ruth is about to uncover a burning secret her family desperately wants to keep hidden, a traumatic incident strains the town’s already searing racial tensions, sending Ruth and Midnight on a collision course that could upend both their lives.
Powerful and revealing, The Kindest Lie captures the heartbreaking divide between Black and white communities and offers an unflinching view of Black motherhood in contemporary America and the never-ending quest to achieve the American Dream.
Our event provides a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), or technology choices. We do not tolerate harassment in any form. Sexual language and imagery are not appropriate. Anyone violating these rules may be expelled from the event without a refund at the discretion of the organizers.