Your Week in Virtual Book Events, Oct. 19th to 25th
Featuring Raven Leilani, Namwali Serpell, Zadie Smith, and More
First Books: Destiny O. Birdsong with Tarfia Faizullah
Monday, October 19, 7pm EDT
Poets Destiny O. Birdsong (Negotiations) and Tarfia Faizullah (Seam) convene to discuss their respective first books. Presented by Cave Canem in partnership with Bowery Poetry. Broadcasted on Facebook Live. Free.
Rebecca Roanhorse: Black Sun
Monday, October 19, 7pm EDT
Hosted by Brookline Booksmith, bestselling author Rebecca Roanhorse discusses her newest novel, Black Sun, with author Ken Liu. Tickets begin at $28 and include a signed copy of the book for shipment. Purchase tickets for the Zoom event here.
The Root Slam: Working People’s Section
Monday, October 19, 8pm EDT
The 2020 Litquake festival rages on with Litquake Out Loud and Oakland’s The Root Slam. This edition of The Working People’s Section features local writers / farmers / dancers / healers / educators / activists / festival planners / and twerk influencers performing new, urgent work on the digital screen. Featuring work from Isabella Borgeson, Tianna Bratcher, Gabriel Cortez, Ciera-Jevae Gordon, Natasha Huey, Will Smith, and Sandy Vazquez. Free, with suggested $5-10 donation. Register here for the Zoom link or watch it live on Facebook Live.
Namwali Serpell with Carmen Maria Machado
Monday, October 19, 9pm EDT
In celebration of her newest book, Stranger Faces, Namwali Serpell discusses how society assigns too much meaning to one’s face and the “ideal” face with fellow author Carmen Maria Machado (
Noir at the (Virtual) Bar: Mystery Writers of America
Monday, October 19, 10pm EDT
The Mystery Writers of America Norcal Chapter will bring 9 bestselling mystery and crime authors to present their work for the Litquake Festival. Cara Black, Robin Burcell, Rae James, S.A. Lelchuk, Camille Minichino, Jason Ridler, Faye Snowdon, and Jacqueline Winspear will read, moderated by author Laurie R. King. Free, with a $5-10 suggested donation. Via Zoom or Facebook Live.
Jenna Wortham & Naima Green in Conversation
Tuesday, October 20, 12pm EDT
Author and journalist Jenna Wortham (Black Futures) hosts a conversation with photographer Naima Green at the Hawthorne Barn. Presented by Twenty Summers. Register to receive an emai of the full event in your inbox or watch it as it airs on Youtube.
Writing White Fragility
Tuesday, October 20, 6pm EDT
Presented by Penguin Random House and hosted by Electric Lit, Brandon Taylor (Real Life) talks to Ross Feeler about his short story “Parisian Honeymoon” and how to write anti-racist stories with racist characters without being morally didactic. Reserve your spot for $10 via Crowdcast.
Zadie Smith: Intimations
Tuesday, October 20, 6pm EDT
Zadie Smith will speak on Intimations, her new book of essays reflecting on the early days of the shutdown, in a conversation with author and podcast host, Ashley C. Ford. Tickets begin at $15 and can be purchased here.
Creative Conversations: Legacy Russell with André Brock Jr.
Tuesday, October 20, 7pm EDT
Curator and writer Legacy Russel discusses their recently published book, Glitch Feminism: A Manifesto, with cultural critic André Brock Jr. for a conversation on the intersections of race, gender, identity, and contemporary digital technoculture. Hosted by FotoFest. A live Q&A will follow the event. Register to attend the Zoom webinar here. Free
And Then We Grew Up: Book Launch with Rachel Friedman
Tuesday, October 20, 7:30pm EDT
Author Rachel Friedman launches her book And Then We Grew Up: On Creativity, Potential, and the Imperfect Art of Adulthood in a discussion with her father, Lester D. Friedman, Ph.D. Presented by Writers & Books. Free, via Zoom.
Virtual Paperback Launch: Make It Scream, Make It Burn
Tuesday, October 20, 8pm EDT
Leslie Jamison presents her newest novel, Make It Scream, Make It Burn, in a virtual panel on essays and obsession. Writers Esmé Weijun Wang (The Collected Schizophrenias), Andre Perry (Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now), Lynn Steger Strong (WANT), and Gregory Pardlo (Digest) will serve as panelists for the event. Presented by Powerhouse Arena, register here.
Funeral Diva Book Launch: Pamela Sneed with Porsha Olayiwola
Tuesday, October 20, 8pm EDT
Brookline Booksmith hosts the launch of Pamela Sneed’s newest essay-and-poetry memoir, Funeral Diva, with poet and educator Porsha Olayiwola (i shimmer sometimes, too). The book will chart the impact of AIDS on Black Queer Life and document the author’s coming of age in Boston and NYC in the late 1980s. Register for the Zoom event here. Tickets are free, with donations and book purchases welcome.
Magical Language, Magical Plants, and the Magical in Between
Tuesday, October 20, 10pm EDT
Writers E.J. Koh (The Magical Language of Others), Kathryne Nuernberger (The Witch of Eye), and Mita Mahato (In Between: The Poetry Comics of Mita Mahato) chat on the element of magic and secret worlds in their interdisciplinary works. Presented by Hugo House. Free, via
Amplifying Our Voices: Empowerment through Poetry & Community
Wednesday, October 21, 7pm EDT
Women in Transition (WIT) hosts their 4th Annual Amplifying Our Voices event to celebrate empowerment and joy while safely speaking out on violence, trauma, and truth for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Poets Beth Feldman Brandt, Kai Davis, M. Nzadi Keita, Rodrick Minor, Sham-e-Ali Nayeem, and Philadelphia’s 2020-21 Poet Laureate Trapeta B. Mayson will read their work. Tickets are Pay-What-You-Can ($0-$20), but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Via Zoom.
Raven Leilani presents Luster, with Adam Dalva
Wednesday, October 21, 7:30pm EDT
Raven Leilani discusses her debut novel, Luster, with writer Adam Dalva (Olivia Twist) for Community Bookstore. Free, with a suggested donation and/or book purchase. Via Zoom.
Welcome Home: A Kundiman Virtual Fundraiser
Wednesday, October 21, 8pm EDT
Asian American Actors from the stage and screen will share their favorite selections of Asian American literature for Kundiman’s Virtual Fundraiser, hosted by journalist, medical analyst, doctor, and Kundiman fellow, Seema Yasmin. Special guests include Vinny Chhibber, Ali Ewoldt, Daniel K. Isaac, Ken Leung, Aparna Nancherla, Courtney Reed, and more. Buy tickets, bid on auction items, or contribute in place of attending
Memorial Drive: Natasha Trethewey with Tonya M. Foster
Wednesday, October 21, 8pm EDT
Co-presented by Museum of the African Diaspora and supported in part by Poets & Writers, Natasha Trethewey talks about her new memoir, Memorial Drive. In conversation with poet and professor, Tonya M. Foster. Free, with a suggested donation, via
Shayla Lawson & Elise Peterson
Thursday, October 22, 12pm EDT
Visual artist and podcaster Elise Peterson talks with author Shayla Lawson about her most recent book, This is Major: Notes on Diana Ross, Dark Girls & Being Dope. Presented by Twenty Summers. Register here to be sent a link to the video as it debuts or watch it on Youtube.
YA: Friendship and Its End
Thursday, October 22, 3pm EDT
YA-fiction authors Amy Spalding (We Used to Be Friends), Justin A. Reynolds (Early Departures), and Ashley Woodfolk (When You Were Everything) discuss the devastating nature of the friend breakup hosted by Cathryn Mercier of Simmons University. For the Boston Book Festival. Free via Crowdcast.
Close Readings in a Virtual Space: Rosamond S. King
Thursday, October 22, 4pm EDT
Poet Rosamond S. King (Rock | Salt | Stone) will lead through an intimate, group read-through of Natalie Diaz’s poem “My Brother at 3 A.M.” for The Flow Chart Foundation. Following the guided reading through the poem, King will briefly read their own work. Free, via
Irresistible Revolution: A Conversation on Poetry and Community
Thursday, October 22, 4:30pm EDT
Moderated by poet Janae Johnson, Boston poet laureate Porsha Olayiwola (i shimmer sometimes, too), and Boston’s inaugural youth poet laureate, Alondra Bobadilla will read from their forthcoming manuscripts and discuss the relationship and role of the poet in community work and civic engagement. Sponsored by Mass Poetry and the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture for the Boston Book Festival. Free, via Crowdcast.
The Writer’s Hotel 2020 Virtual Poetry Weekend Faculty Reading Series
Thursday, October 22, 5pm EDT
The Writer’s Hotel will host an evening reading with poets Jenny Xie (Eye Level: Poems), Deborah Landau (Soft Targets), Alexandra Oliver (On the Oven Sits a Maiden), Tim Seibles (One Turn Around the Sun), and Terrance Hayes (American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin). Free, via Zoom. Register here.
Chapbook Contest Reading: Raquel Salas Rivera & Katerina I. Ramos-Jordán
Thursday, October 22, 6:30pm EDT
Winner of the 2020 Center for Book Arts chapbook contest, Katerina I. Ramos-Jordán, will read work alongside runner-ups Emily Bludworth de Barrios, Rushi Vyas, and contest judge Raquel Salas Rivera [while they sleep (under the bed is another country)]. The event will also hear from the artists who designed, printed, and assembled the 2020 chapbooks and broadsides. Free, via
Dodge Poetry Festival Opening Celebration
Thursday, October 22, 7pm EDT
Deepen your connection to poetry with the 2020 Dodge Poetry Festival, now virtual until November 1st! The opening celebration will include presenters like Cornelius Eady, Vievee Francis, Nikky Finney, Kwame Dawes, Ada Limón, Dorianne Laux, Tyehimba Jess, Charles Simic, and Terrance Hayes, among others. Register for a free live streaming pass here.
Storytime: Julián at the Wedding
Friday, October 23, 3pm EDT
Jessica Love, author of the award-winning book Julián Is a Mermaid, will read live from her latest book, Julián at the Wedding, in this family-friendly reading from the Boston Book Festival. A Q&A will follow the reading. Hosted by Rebecca Fox. Free, via Crowdcast.
Books Noted Live: with Yona Harvey and Taylor Johnson
Friday, October 23, 7pm EDT
Poets Yona Harvey (You Don’t Have to Go to Mars for Love) and Taylor Johnson (Inheritance) will read in this event from Academy of American Poets. Free, via Crowdcast. Register here.
Poetry Society of New Hampshire presents Hanif Abdurraqib
Friday, October 23, 7pm EDT
Poet, essayist, and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib (A Fortune For Your Disaster) will read for an evening of poetry sponsored by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire and Gibson’s Bookstore. Tickets are free, with suggested donations up to $20 to be split between the two organizations. Register
Plain Bad Heroines: emily m. danforth in conversation with Andrea Lawlor
Friday, October 23, 7:30pm EDT
emily m. danforth (The Miseducation of Cameron Post) celebrates her adult novel debut with Plain Bad Heroines, a lesbian horror-comedy. She will be joined in conversation with writer and professor Andrea Lawlor (Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl) for this event hosted by Charis Books. Free, via Crowdcast.
Tayari Jones & Brit Bennett in conversation with Ellah P. Wakatama
Saturday, October 24, 11am EDT
Hosted by the Manchester Literature Festival, authors Tayari Jones (Silver Sparrow) and Brit Bennett (The Vanishing Half) talk with Ellah P. Wakatama on their latest books. Tickets are available on a Pay-What-You-Can basis, from £0-£20. Register here.
Fiction: Don’t Look Behind You
Saturday, October 24, 11:45am EDT
Host Marcella Haddad and the Boston Book Festival presents a literary evening with writers Stephen Chbosky (Imaginary Friend), Jen Waite (Survival Instincts), Joe Hill (Full Throttle), and Paul Tremblay (Survival Song) as they bring in the Halloween season right. Free, with suggested donations, via Crowdcast.
Kae Tempest in conversation with Max Porter
Saturday, October 24, 3pm EDT
Kae Tempest discusses the role personal and interpersonal connection bears on creativity in their recently published book, On Connection, with author Max Porter (Lanny) for the Manchester Literature Festival. Tickets are on a Pay-What-You-Can basis. Register or join for free here.
Poems & Pints
Saturday, October 24, 5:30pm EDT
Poets George Abraham (Birthright), Diannely Antigua (Ugly Music), Kay Ulanday Barrett (More Than Organs) and Franny Choi (Soft Science) will read from their latest collections and participate in an audience Q&A for the Boston Book Festival. Co-sponsored with Mass Poetry and emceed by poet Krysten Hill (
New Daughters of Africa Reading
Sunday, October 25, 12pm EDT
Celebrate the newly published anthology, New Daughters of Africa, from editor Margaret Busby with this event from the Manchester Literary Festival. Writers will perform work from the collection including Botswanan poet Tjawangwa Dema, British-Ghanaian poet Bridget Minamore (Titanic), US poet of Cuban-Jamaican descent Aja Monet (My Mother Was A Freedom Fighter) and Nigerian poet and novelist Lola Shoneyin (The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives). Margaret Busby will also be in conversation with writer Sarah Ladipo Manyika (Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun) for the event. Tickets are available on a Pay-What-You-Can scale. Reserve them here.
Fiction: Witches and Other Bad Heroines
Sunday, October 25, 1pm EDT
Four feminist fiction authors will discuss their ambitious, desirous, and deeply personal heroines from their latest novels. Alix E. Harrow (The Once and Future Witches), Quan Barry (We Ride Upon Sticks), emily m. danforth (Plain Bad Heroines), and Layne Fargo (They Never Learn) will discuss their work as hosted by Bridget Marshall from UMass-Lowell. Free, via Crowdcast.
Book Launch: Women in the Waiting Room by Kirun Kapur
Sunday, October 25, 2pm EDT
5×15 hosts a conversation between poet Kirun Kapur and author/critic Erica Wagner to launch Kapur’s latest book, Women in the Waiting Room. Free. Register here.
Boston Book Festival: Homeland Elegies
Sunday, October 25, 3:45pm EDT
Ayad Akhtar discusses his newest work of autofiction, Homeland Elegies, to consider who what it means to be Muslim in America today. He will be interviewed for the Boston Book Festival by PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel (
Jericho Brown, Rachel Long, Raymond Antrobus, & Safiya Sinclair
Sunday, October 25, 4pm EDT
Manchester Literary Festival and Picador Books present readings from four poets whose work contextualizes the current moment in poignant ways. Poets Jericho Brown (The Testament), Rachel Long (My Darling from the Lions), Safiya Sinclair (Cannibal), and Raymond Antrobus (The Perserverance) will read from recently published or forthcoming material. Hosted by Scottish Makar and Manchester Literary Festival patron, Jackie Kay. Pay-What-You-Can tickets. Reserve here.
The Purpose of Power – An Evening with Alicia Garza
Sunday, October 25, 4:30pm EDT
Charis Books welcomes organizer, political strategist and writer Alicia Garza in celebration of her forthcoming “liberatory offering,” The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart. The event is co-sponsored by the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History. Reserve a spot
Poets in Pajamas: Meryl Natchez
Sunday, October 25, 7pm EDT
Sundress Publications hosts their weekly Poets in Pajamas Reading Series, online with Facebook Live. Meryl Natchez will read to celebrate her forthcoming book, Catwalk. Watch the reading here. Free.