Featured Speakers

Azar Nafisi

Chris Abani

Judith Ortiz Cofer

Li-Young Lee


Chris Abani

Chris Abani

Thursday, March 18, 8:00 p.m. followed by book signing

Thursday, March 18, 2:00 p.m. Question and Answer Session

Song for Night Common Reader Review
Chris Abani's Website

"Chris Abani may be the most courageous writer working right now," says Dave Eggers. Imprisoned by the Nigerian government as a teenager for his writings, Abani is one of the most admired novelists in the world today. He is also an evocative speaker whose keynotes—near musical in their fluidity, heartbreak and joy—mix the personal and the political. His luminous and very funny talks are a vital statement on the redemptive power of art to battle tyranny and to remind us of our common humanity. "Happiness," he has said, "is learning to live with difficulty and grace."

One of the best writers to emerge from Africa in half a century, Abani is the recipient of the PEN Freedom-to-Write Award and many other honors. His bestselling novel, GraceLand, about an Elvis impersonator in Lagos, won the Hemingway/PEN Prize. His other works of fiction include The Virgin of Flames, Becoming Abigail, and the award-winning Song for Night, about a child soldier who has lost his voice. All three were each named a New York Times Editor's Choice. Abani is currently a professor at the University of California, Riverside. Pultizer Prize winner Junot Diaz says, "Chris Abani is a force of nature."