Minnesota Public Radio and the Star Tribune will present a special series of Talking Volumes virtual events centered around the topic of race in America. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated economic disparities faced by communities of color. The murder of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer sparked protests around the world. The series will bring together a diverse group of authors to talk about their books, which provide unique insights on America’s racial divide.
In response to COVID-19 and the state restriction on large gatherings, all events in the series will be virtual. All events will be held via webinar and will include an hour-long interview with the authors and a live interactive panel discussion moderated by the Star Tribune.
Shop the featured author titles below:
Felon: Poems by Reginald Dwayne Betts, $25
Tuesday, March 9 at 7 p.m
“Felon” tells the story of one man in fierce, dazzling poems― canvassing his wide range of emotions and experiences through homelessness, underemployment, love, drug abuse, domestic violence, fatherhood, and grace― and, in doing so, creates a travelogue for an imagined life. Reginald Dwayne Betts confronts the funk of post-incarceration existence and examines prison not as a static space, but as a force that enacts pressure throughout a person’s life. Challenging the complexities of language, Betts animates what it means to be a “felon.”
Earth Keeper: Reflections on the American Land by N. Scott Momaday, $18
Tuesday, March 16 at 7 p.m.
One of the most distinguished voices in American letters, N. Scott Momaday has devoted much of his life to celebrating and preserving Native American culture, especially its oral tradition. A member of the Kiowa tribe who was born and grew up on Indian reservations throughout the Southwest, Momaday has an intimate connection to the land he knows well and loves deeply. In this moving and lyrical book, which includes original artwork by the author, Momaday offers an homage and a warning. He reminds us that the Earth is a sacred place of wonder and beauty; a source of strength and healing that must be protected before it’s too late. As he so eloquently yet simply expresses, we must all be keepers of the Earth.
My Year Abroad by Chang-rae Lee, $26
Tuesday, March 23 at 7 p.m.
Tiller is an average American college student with a good heart but minimal aspirations. Pong Lou is a larger-than-life, wildly creative Chinese American entrepreneur who sees something intriguing in Tiller beyond his bored exterior and takes him under his wing. When Pong brings him along on a boisterous trip across Asia, Tiller is catapulted from ordinary young man to talented protégé, and pulled into a series of ever more extreme and eye-opening experiences that transform his view of the world, of Pong, and of himself.
What’s Mine and Yours by Naima Coster, $27
Tuesday, March 30 at 7 p.m.
A North Carolina community rises in outrage as a county initiative draws students from the largely Black east side of town into predominantly white high schools on the west. For two students, Gee and Noelle, the integration sets off a chain of events that will bond their families together in unexpected ways over the span of the next twenty years.