Monday, November 8, 2021

this week: Uwem Akpan, Tracey Baptiste, Lydia Kang and Nate Pedersen, Joshua Jay, Cecily Wong and Dylan Thuras

Here's what's happening this week at Boswell:

Monday, November 8, 7 pm
Uwem Akpan, author of New York, My Village
in Conversation with Elias Rodriques for a Virtual Event
Register for this event here.

Boswell hosts an evening with Uwem Akpan, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Say You’re One of Them, winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize (Africa Region), the PEN Open Book Prize, and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, for a conversation about his new novel, which melds humor, tenderness, and pain to explore the myriad ways that tribalism defines life everywhere, from the villages of Nigeria to the villages within New York City. Akpan will chat with Elias Rodriques, author of All the Water I’ve Seen Is Running.

From a suspiciously cheap Hell’s Kitchen walk-up, Nigerian editor and winner of a Toni Morrison Publishing Fellowship Ekong Udousoro is about to begin the opportunity of a lifetime: to learn the ins and outs of the publishing industry from its incandescent epicenter. While his sophisticated colleagues meet him with kindness and hospitality, he is soon exposed to a colder, ruthlessly commercial underbelly. Reckoning with the recent history of the devastating Biafran War, in which Ekong’s people were a minority of a minority caught up in the mutual slaughter of majority tribes, Ekong’s life in New York becomes a saga of unanticipated strife.

Here's a staff recommendation from Jenny Chou: "It is the rare work of literary fiction that leaves readers wondering if the war against those stealthy little insects known as bed bugs can ever really be won. After finishing Uwem Akpan’s shrewd, heartfelt, and ultimately delightful novel New York, My Village, I turned that question over in my mind for a while before shifting my thoughts to war in general and the scars left behind even if the battles end and a victor is declared..." (read the rest of the review on the New York, My Village website page.)

Uwem Akpan's writing has appeared in The New Yorker, the Nigerian Guardian, and O, The Oprah Magazine. His story collection Say You're One of Them was a 2009 Oprah Book Club selection. Elias Rodriques has published in venues such as The Guardian and The Nation, and he is Assistant Editor at n+1. He is Assistant Professor of African American Literature at Sarah Lawrence College.

Tuesday, November 9, 1 pm
Tracey Baptiste, author of African Icons: Ten People Who Shaped History
in Conversation with Peace Adzo Medie for a Virtual School Visit
Register for this event here.

We’re happy to host a daytime event featuring New York Times bestseller Tracey Baptiste, author of The Jumbies series and the forthcoming novel Because of Claudette, for a conversation about her new history book for young readers, African Icons, with Peace Adzo Medie. This will be a virtual, schools-inclusive conversation between two authors, so it’s perfect for anyone interested in Baptiste’s book as well as teachers who’d like to register their classrooms to see the presentation.

Black history began long ago with the many cultures and people of the African continent. Through portraits of ten heroic figures, Baptiste takes readers on a journey across Africa to meet some of the real-life kings, queens, inventors, scholars, and visionaries whose vision built a continent and shaped the world.

Ibram X. Kendi, the National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning and How to Be an Antiracist, says, “In African Icons, Baptiste engages in the hard work of unveiling the myths about the African continent to young readers… This is a great beginner’s guide to pre-colonial Africa.” And from School Library Journal’s starred review: “Baptiste sheds light on the rich and complex pre-enslavement history of the African continent… A spellbinding collection… An impeccably researched revelation that fills a too wide gap in collections; it’s unfair how long it’s taken for these histories to be made public to young readers.”

Tracey Baptiste is author of The Jumbies series, Minecraft: The Crash, and the forthcoming novel Because of Claudette. Baptiste is a former teacher who works as a writer and editor. Peace Adzo Medie is author of the novel His Only Wife. She is a Ghanaian writer and Senior Lecturer at the University of Bristol in England.

Wednesday, November 10, 7 pm
Lydia Kang and Nate Pedersen, authors of Patient Zero: A Curious History of the World's Worst Diseases
A Virtual Event with the two authors in conversation
Register for this event here - ask for your signed bookplate

Pub date may have moved to November 16, but we're still on board to host a virtual evening with Lydia Kang and Nate Pedersen. Enjoy a virtual evening with the co-authors of Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything, who with their latest offer a history of disease outbreaks (and their patient zeros) and an overview of the science, culture, and cures for different types of epidemics and pandemics.

Kang and Pedersen tell the long and fascinating history of disease outbreaks - how they start, how they spread, the science that lets us understand them, and how we race to destroy them before they destroy us. Learn the tragic stories of Patient Zeros throughout history, such as Mabalo Lokela, who contracted Ebola while on vacation in 1976, and the Lewis Baby on London’s Broad Street, the first to catch cholera in an 1854 outbreak that led to a major medical breakthrough. Interspersed are origin stories of a different sort, like how a rye fungus in 1951 turned a small village in France into a phantasmagoric scene reminiscent of Burning Man. Plus the uneasy history of human autopsy, how the HIV virus has been with us for at least a century, and more.

From the Flatwater Free Press/The Reader: "In late 2019, well before the pandemic became a daily thought in our minds, I had been chatting with my editor and co-author about writing a new book to follow Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything in 2017. Nate Pedersen and I felt ready to write a new book, and together with our editor, we set our eyes on the subject of pandemics." And then we were in the midst of one!

From Publishers Weekly: "Kang and Pedersen's conversational tone keeps things moving, and they're magnificent at reminding readers that, although pathogens will probably continue to "consume ravenously, kill what's in their way, and adapt," medicine has come a long way from recommending blood baths, drinking urine, and consuming mercury as treatments. Readers will be swept away by this energetic and enlightening survey."

Lydia Kang, MD, is a practicing internal medicine physician and author of YA novels including Control, Catalyst, and the upcoming The November Girl, plus A Beautiful Poison, her debut novel for adults. Her nonfiction has been published in JAMA, the Annals of Internal Medicine, and the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Nate Pedersen is a librarian, historian, and freelance journalist with over 400 publications in print and online, including in The Guardian, The Believer, and The San Francisco Chronicle.

In person! Sunday, November 14, 4 pm
Joshua Jay, author of How Magicians Think: Misdirection, Deception, and Why Magic Matters
in Conversation with Mark Pocan for a Hybrid Event at Boswell
Register for the in-person event here, or register to watch the virtual broadcast here.

Masks required for attendees to this event. Please note that our author and conversation partner will likely not wear masks during the conversation.

The door to magic is closed, but it’s not locked. Jay's fascinating book of essays opens that door to reveal the artistry and obsessiveness, esoteric history, and long-whispered-about traditions of a subject shrouded in mystery. Jay offers an inside look at how the very best magicians think about magic, how they practice and put together a show, what inspires them, and the psychology behind creating wonder and being tricked when we expect both, as well as why we seek magic in the first place.

David Copperfield says, “Joshua Jay is a superb, innovative conjurer with an unrelenting love of the art. This captivating book is proof of that passion.” And from Teller of Penn & Teller fame, “A loving, behind-the-scenes map of the world of magic, by someone who knows and lives the art. Swift, funny, honest, and alive with enthusiasm. And he has the good sense to quote me a lot.”

From Booklist: "The book is delightful in being both a how-to book for aspiring artists and an in-depth view of the world of magic and its artisans. Jay is refreshingly candid in how he views his work, often self-deprecating, but always serious about his passion for his trade. An entertaining book from start to finish."

Joshua Jay is author of MAGIC: The Complete Course and, for children, Big Magic for Little Hands. Jay has performed in more than 100 countries, is a former World Champion in Sleight-of-Hand, and helped the US Postal Service with their "Art of Magic" postage stamps. Jay has performed on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, fooled Penn & Teller on their show, Fool Us, and starred in his own off-Broadway magic show, Six Impossible Things. Mark Pocan is the U.S. Representative for Wisconsin’s second congressional district.

Monday, November 15, 7 pm
Cecily Wong and Dylan Thuras, authors of Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer's Guide
A Virtual Event with the two authors in conversation
Register for this event

Boswell presents a virtual evening with Cecily Wong and Dylan Thuras. The curious minds behind Atlas Obscura turn to the hidden curiosities of food in Gastro Obscura, a gateway to fascinating stories about human history, science, art, and tradition.

Truly a feast of wonders, this breathtaking guide transforms our sense of what people around the world eat and drink. Covering all seven continents, Gastro Obscura serves up a loaded plate of incredible ingredients, food adventures, and edible wonders. Ready for a beer made from fog in Chile? Sardinia’s “Threads of God” pasta? Egypt’s 2000-year-old egg ovens? But far more than a menu of curious minds delicacies and unexpected dishes, Gastro Obscura reveals food’s central place in our lives as well as our bellies, touching on history, culture, far-off travel, and hidden gems that might be right around the corner.

Chef, restauranteur, food activist, and Top Chef cohost Tom Colicchio writes: "Like a great tapas meal, Gastro Obscura is deep yet snackable, and full of surprises. This is the book for anyone interested in eating, adventure and the human condition." And Alice Waters says, "This captivating book celebrates the incredible global diversity of food, ingredients, and cooking practices. What could be more important in this moment in time than to be so delightfully engaged in the many ways food cultivates - through sometimes eccentric means! - a profound sense of togetherness." Dig in and feed your sense of wonder.

From Zebulin Evelhoch in Library Journal: "Pick a region, pick a page--you can't go wrong. Armchair travelers and foodies will be left hungry, nostalgic, more knowledgeable about dishes from all over, and, most importantly, ready to try something different, whether it's found around the corner or across the world."

Cecily Wong is a writer at Atlas Obscura and author of the novel Diamond Head, recipient of an Elle Readers' Prize. Dylan Thuras is Cofounder and Creative Director of Atlas Obscura.

More on Boswell Upcoming Events page

Photo credits!
Uwem Akpan by UNLU Photo Services
Tracey Baptiste by Latifah Abdur
Peace Adzo Medie by Sylvernus Darku
Cecily Wong by Heather Hawksford
Dylan Thuras by Timothy Shivers

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