Writers & Readers

Benjamin Percy

Benjamin Percy wraps action, adventure, danger, and darkness within compelling narratives in his novels The Dark Net, The Dead Lands, Red Moon, and The Wilding, several of which are being developed for film/TV, as well as in his acclaimed story collection Refresh, Refresh. His comics work includes DC Comics’ Nightwing, Green Arrow, Teen Titans, and a two-issue special as a guest writer for Batman Detective Comics #35 and #36. Percy visits Cleveland Public Library as part of the Writers & Readers Series and also headlines the Cleveland Inkubator, Literary Cleveland’s writing conference.

Fiction Craft Talk: Friday, Aug. 3 at 7pm in the Louis Stokes Wing Learning Commons
Inkubator Keynote: Saturday, Aug. 4 at 3pm in Louis Stokes Wing Auditorium


Paul Beatty

Beatty is the author of Tuff, The White Boy Shuffle, Slumberland, and two books of poetry as well as the editor of Hokum: An Anthology of African American Humor. His 2015 novel The Sellout made him the first American to win the Man Booker Prize in Fiction and earned the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction. The Sellout tells the story of a modern-day farmer who reinstates slavery in a scathing satire brimming with Beatty’s outrageous humor and rumbling across his self-proclaimed “Richter scale of racism.” Beatty, who set out to see if he could make himself flinch, certainly brings the reader to face to face with race, popular culture, racism, and language in America. “It is,” he says, “about embracing the profoundly profane, the absurd…because the stuff that’s most inappropriate is oftentimes the most necessary and the most beautiful.”
Saturday, Sept. 22 at 2pm in Louis Stokes Wing Auditorium


José Antonio Vargas

In 2011, Vargas revealed his life as an undocumented immigrant in an essay published in The New York Times Magazine, and he appeared a year later with other undocumented immigrants on the cover of Time Magazine in connection with a follow-up cover story that he wrote. As the political climate continues to fuel the storms around those in the United States without documentation, Vargas sparks conversation about both sides of this contentious issue. He produced and directed the feature film Documented as well as the MTV television special White People, which explored what it means to be young and white in an America of changing demographics. He is the founder and CEO of Define American, the nonprofit organization that uses the power of story to transcend politics and shifts the conversation about immigrants, identity, and citizenship in a changing America. His memoir, Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen (September 2018), promises to advance both his personal story and the larger conversation about American identity.
Saturday, Oct. 13 at 2pm in Louis Stokes Wing Auditorium


Susan Orlean

The author of Saturday Night, The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup, Rin Tin Tin: the Life and the Legend, and The Orchid Thief (which became an Academy Award-winning film), describes her Cleveland childhood as “happy and uneventful…back when the Indians were still a lousy team.” Studying literature and history, she dreamt of writing long stories about interesting things but had no idea how to become a writer. There was no guidebook. So, she set off on a path to law school and a career, landing by chance in an interim gig at a now-defunct magazine, then a weekly alternative paper, and, eventually, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, and The Boston Globe, before moving to New York, publishing her first book, and becoming a staff writer for The New Yorker. Her experience is, perhaps, the best proof of the truism: to be a writer, one must write. Orlean’s newest title, The Library Book (October 2018), reopens the unsolved mystery of America’s most catastrophic library fire, underscoring and exploring the treasured place that libraries hold in our culture and in our hearts.
Saturday, Nov. 10 at 2pm in Louis Stokes Wing Auditorium