Porsha Olayiwola & guests present I SHIMMER SOMETIMES, TOO at Boston Public Library

Porsha Olayiwola & Guests

SHIMMER: A Boston book-release and reading

City of Boston Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola announces the release of “i shimmer sometimes, too“, her first collection of poems, out on November 19 through Button Poetry.

Porsha and guests will read from their work at the event. Readers will include: Crystal Valentine, Golden, Ashley Rose, Andrine Pierresaint, Princess Moon, Jha D, Claudia Wilson.

+ DJ Whysham

Copies of “i shimmer sometimes, too” will be available for sale at this event.
Porsha will be available to sign copies of her book after the speaking program.


Porsha Olayiwola is a writer, performer, educator and curator who uses afro-futurism and surrealism to examine historical and current issues in the black, woman, and queer diasporas. She is an Individual World Poetry Slam Champion and is the current poet laureate for the City of Boston.

Website | Instagram @porshaolayiwola | Facebook @PorshaO | Twitter @porshaolayiwola

Jeffrey Colvin presents AFRICAVILLE in conversation with Melissa Rivero at Boston Public Library

Jeffrey Colvin’s assured and captivating novel, Africaville, weaves a rich narrative tapestry from the colorful threads of multiple generations in one family. The title is inspired by Africaville, a real settlement in Halifax, Nova Scotia, whose black population—largely the descendants of slaves from the American South and the Caribbean– carved out a community against the harsh maritime landscape and against bigotry and racism. In telling this story, Colvin hopes to highlight the many “lost” free black communities throughout North America that have faded from history books and memory.

Like such modern classics as The Known World and The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, Africaville is epic in scale, yet intimate in the telling–rich with complex though imperfect characters, a universe tale of one family’s defiant struggle of survival and advancement. With lyrical prose and robust storytelling, this arresting novel introduces an exciting and daring new literary voice.

Jeffrey Colvin served in the Marine Corps and worked as congressional aide and nonprofit manager before embarking on a writing career. His reviews, essays and short fiction reflecting his interest in history have been published in literary magazines and other venues. He graduated from the US Naval Academy, Harvard University and Columbia University from which he received an MFA in fiction. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and an assistant editor at Narrative magazine.

The Affairs of the Falcóns is a beautiful, deeply urgent novel about the lengths one woman is willing to go to build a new life, and a vivid rendering of the American immigrant experience.

Ana Falcón, along with her husband Lucho and their two young children, has fled the economic and political strife of Peru for a chance at a new life in New York City in the 1990s. Being undocumented, however, has significantly curtailed the family’s opportunities: Ana is indebted to a loan shark who calls herself Mama, and is stretched thin by unceasing shifts at her factory job. To make matters worse, Ana must also battle both criticism from Lucho’s cousin—who has made it obvious the family is not welcome to stay in her spare room for much longer—and escalating and unwanted attention from Mama’s husband.

As the pressure builds, Ana becomes increasingly desperate. While Lucho dreams of returning to Peru, Ana is deeply haunted by the demons she left behind and determined to persevere in this new country. But how many sacrifices is she willing to make before admitting defeat and returning to Peru? And what lines is she willing to cross in order to protect her family?

Melissa Rivero was born in Lima, Peru, and raised in Brooklyn. Undocumented for most of her childhood, Rivero became a US citizen in her early twenties. Her writing has taken her to the VONA/Voices Workshops, Bread Loaf, and the Norman Mailer Writers Colony. In 2015, Melissa was an Emerging Writers Fellow at the Center for Fiction. She is a graduate of NYU and Brooklyn Law School, and currently works on the legal team of a startup. She still lives in Brooklyn, with her husband, two sons, and their rescue dog.

Christine Coulson presents METROPOLITAN STORIES : A NOVEL in conversation with Thomas Michie at Boston Public Library

From a writer who worked at the Metropolitan Museum for more than twenty-five years, an enchanting novel that shows us the Met that the public doesn’t see.

Hidden behind the Picassos and Vermeers, the Temple of Dendur and the American Wing, exists another world: the hallways and offices, conservation studios, storerooms, and cafeteria that are home to the museum’s devoted and peculiar staff of 2,200 people–along with a few ghosts. A surreal love letter to this private side of the Met, Metropolitan Stories unfolds in a series of amusing and poignant vignettes in which we discover larger-than-life characters, the downside of survival, and the powerful voices of the art itself. The result is a novel bursting with magic, humor, and energetic detail, but also a beautiful book about introspection, an ode to lives lived for art, ultimately building a powerful collage of human experience and the world of the imagination.

Christine Coulson began her career at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1991 as an intern in the European Paintings Department. In the 25 years since then, Coulson has risen through the ranks of The Met and has held several positions, including roles in the Development Office, the Director’s Office and the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. In April 2019, she left the Met to write full-time.

Thomas Michie is the Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture at The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts.

Suzanne Hinman – The Grandest Madison Square Garden: Art, Scandal, and Architecture in the Gilded Age New York at Boston Public Library

The Grandest Madison Square Garden tells the non-fiction story of the fabulous 1890 “palace of pleasure” designed by Stanford White and the nude sculpture of the virgin goddess Diana by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, set on the Garden’s and America’s tallest tower. While revealing much new information, dispelling long-held myths, and proposing controversial new theories, the book conveys a sense of on-scene immediacy and excitement as this remarkable amalgamation of architecture, art, and spectacle rises amid the Gilded Age.

Dr. Hinman will be reading from the book’s prologue, which places the reader vividly at the 1891 dedication of the tower and the sculpture that topped it, while annotating the story with illustrated “footnotes” that dramatically link the Garden with Boston’s heritage, from the first collaboration of White and Saint-Gaudens on Trinity Church, to architectural borrowings from the Boston Public Library, and to their various professional and private connections with the city of Boston itself.

Suzanne Hinman holds a Ph.D. in American art history and has been a curator, gallerist, museum director, professor, and an art model. She owned an art gallery in Santa Fe and then served as director of galleries at the Savannah College of Art and Design, the world’s largest art school. Her interest in the artists and architects of the American Gilded Age and the famed Cornish Art Colony in New Hampshire grew while associate director of the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College. The author continues to reside near Cornish as an independent scholar.

André Aciman: Find Me at Boston Public Library, Rabb Hall

In this spellbinding exploration of the varieties of love, the author of the worldwide bestseller Call Me by Your Name revisits its complex and beguiling characters decades after their first meeting.

In Find Me, Aciman shows us Elio’s father, Samuel, on a trip from Florence to Rome to visit Elio, who has become a gifted classical pianist. A chance encounter on the train with a beautiful young woman upends Sami’s plans and changes his life forever. Elio soon moves to Paris, where he, too, has a consequential affair, while Oliver, now a New England college professor with a family, suddenly finds himself contemplating a return trip across the Atlantic.

Aciman is a master of sensibility, of the intimate details and the emotional nuances that are the substance of passion. Find Me brings us back inside the magic circle of one of our greatest contemporary romances to ask if, in fact, true love ever dies.

André Aciman is the New York Times bestselling author of Call Me By Your Name, Out of Egypt, Eight White Nights, False Papers, Alibis, Harvard Square, and most recently Enigma Variations. He’s the editor of The Proust Project and teaches comparative literature at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He lives with his wife in Manhattan.

Tickets for this event are available for the price of the book, at Trident Booksellers, 338 Newbury Street, and guarantee you a signed copy of the book that will be available for pickup at the event. This program is free and open to the public.

Zeruya Shalev in conversation with Lauren Groff at Rabb Hall, Boston Public Library, Central Library

Ten years after Iris was almost killed in a suicide bombing in Jerusalem, the pain of her injuries return. She’s shocked when her doctor turns out to be the love of her teenage years, Eitan, whose rejection she’s never gotten over or forgiven. Caught in her past, and trapped in her unfulfilling life, they start a secret affair. For the first time in decades, and despite the guilt, Iris is alight with passion and love. However, her world gets more complicated when she learns her daughter has been caught up in the charismatic, cultish embrace of an older man who seems to have total control over her. Iris has been tortured by the memories of Eitan’s departure and the life they never had for thirty years, and now she’s faced with an impossible choice: try to reclaim the life she should have had, or work to fix her broken family? In this remarkable novel, Shalev has given suffering a tangible character: not just the physical, but even more so, the overwhelming agony of regret, of near-missed opportunities in a life that feels full of conciliatory prizes.

Zeruya Shalev was born at Kibbutz Kinneret. She is the author of four previous novels; The Remains of Love, Love Life, Husband and Wife, and Thera, a book of poetry and a children’s book. Her work has been translated into twenty-five languages and won multiple awards including the Corine International Book Prize and the Welt-Literature Award. She lives in Haifa.

Lauren Groff is the author of five books, most recently the novel Fates and Furies and the story collection Florida, which were both finalists for the National Book Award. She has been a Guggenheim and Radcliffe fellow, and her work has been published in over thirty languages. She lives in Gainesville, Florida.

Author Talks Series: Farah Pandith: How We Win at Boston Public Library

How We Win’s message is urgent: America and its allies can defeat extremism, but not until we significantly shift our approach. We must counter extremism intellectually. Extremists are preying on a rising generation of nearly one billion Muslim millennials and Gen Z who are in the midst of an identity crisis, vulnerable to extremists’ seductive, intolerant, “us” versus “them” ideology, delivered using the latest technologies and real-life peer-suasion. Drones and special forces operations won’t destroy extremism at its root like a grassroots war of ideas will. In How We Win, Farah Pandith reveals emerging data, on-the-ground stories, and proven solutions.

How We Win offers hope. Farah Pandith explains how government, the private sector, and civil society can help Muslim youth solve their identity crisis and in turn build a safer, more stable world. Her perspective and insights are rare, bold, and important. By focusing on human behavior and cultural influence, she convincingly explains how companies must play a role that has—so far—been absent. She demands more from the governments and multinational organizations. Her positive message is a hopeful chapter for Muslim youth, and the world at large. Pandith’s prescription drowns out the voices of extremists by supporting new concepts, causes, and charismatic leaders for young people.

Farah Pandith is an author, foreign policy strategist, and former diplomat. A world-leading expert and pioneer in countering violent extremism, she is a frequent media commentator and public speaker. She served as a political appointee under Presidents George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, and most recently she was the first-ever Special Representative to Muslim Communities, serving both Secretaries Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. She has served on the National Security Council, at the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in various senior roles.

She has also served on the Department of Homeland Security’s Advisory Council, chairing its task force on countering violent extremism. She is a senior fellow with the Future of Diplomacy Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School as well as an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Pandith divides her time between Washington, D.C.; London; and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Author Talk Series: Alexandra Horowitz in conversation with Harriet Ritvo and Craig LeMoult at Boston Public Library

We keep dogs and are kept by them. We love dogs and (we assume) we are loved by them. We buy them sweaters, toys, shoes; we are concerned with their social lives, their food, and their health. The story of humans and dogs is thousands of years old but is far from understood. In Our Dogs, Ourselves, Alexandra Horowitz explores all aspects of this unique and complex interspecies pairing.

As Horowitz considers the current culture of dogdom, she reveals the odd, surprising, and contradictory ways we live with dogs. We celebrate their individuality but breed them for sameness. Despite our deep emotional relationships with dogs, legally they are property to be bought, sold, abandoned, sterilized and/or euthanized as we wish. Even the way we speak to our dogs is at once perplexing and delightful.

Alexandra will appear in conversation with Harriet Ritvo, author and professor at MIT, where they will explore the nature of “family”, property and reproductive rights as they apply to animals/pets/dogs.

Alexandra Horowitz is the author of three previous books, Being a Dog: Following the Dog Into a World of Smell (2016); On Looking (2013); and Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know (2009), a New York Times best-seller. She is Senior Research Fellow and head of the Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College, Columbia University. She is owned by canines Finnegan and Upton, and tolerated by feline Edsel.

Harriet Ritvo teaches courses in British history, environmental history, the history of human-animal relations, and the history of natural history. She is the author of The Animal Estate: The English and Other Creatures in the Victorian Age (1987), Noble Cows and Hybrid Zebras: Essays on Animals and History (2010), and several others. Her current research concerns wildness and domestication. She serves on the Board of Incorporators of Harvard Magazine; on the editorial boards of Victorian Studies, Victorian Literature and Culture, Agricultural History Review, and Animals and Society, and as editor of the “Animals, History, Culture” series published by the Johns Hopkins University Press. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and past President of the American Society for Environmental History. She has received a Whiting Writers Award and a Graduate Society Award from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Craig LeMoult produces sound-rich features and breaking news coverage for WGBH News in Boston. His features have run nationally on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition, as well as on PRI’s The World and Marketplace. Craig has won a number of national and regional awards for his reporting, including two national Edward R. Murrow awards in 2015, the national Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi award feature reporting in 2011, first place awards in 2012 and 2009 from the national Public Radio News Directors Inc. and second place in 2007 from the national Society of Environmental Journalists. Craig is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and Tufts University.

Author Talk Series: Wiebke von Carolsfeld and Jean Kwok at Boston Public Library

How to survive the unthinkable? This is the question nine-year-old Tom has to face after witnessing his parent’s murder-suicide. After the horrific event, Tom refuses to speak. At first, he moves in with his childless Aunt Sonya, but she is ill equipped to deal with the traumatized boy. Before long, Tom is forced to move again, this time to Claremont Street in downtown Toronto, where he shares a run-down house with his mercurial Aunt Rose and his reckless yet endearing Uncle Will. As the seasons change, Tom’s silence becomes a powerful presence, allowing this fractured family to hear one another for the first time— and for Tom to finally find a home. Claremont is a gripping story of one family’s journey through grief and toward healing.

Wiebke von Carolsfeld is a Montreal-based writer and filmmaker, who has directed three critically acclaimed feature films (Marion Bridge, starring Molly Parker and introducing Ellen Page, STAY with Taylor Schilling and Aidan Quinn; and The Saver, introducing Imagyn Cardinal). Her films have been distributed theatrically across Canada, the US and beyond, winning numerous awards, including Best First Feature at TIFF, in Sudbury and in Verona, inclusion in Canada’s Top Ten, Best Screenplay from the Chlotrudis Society along with nominations from the Canadian Screen Awards, the Directors Guild and the Writers Guild of Canada and the American Indian Film Institute. She is also a renowned feature film editor and has taught internationally classes on screenwriting, filmmaking as well as the creative process general. Claremont is her first novel.

A deeply moving story of family, secrets, identity, and longing, Searching for Sylvie Lee is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive portrait of an immigrant family. It is a profound exploration of the many ways culture and language can divide us and the impossibility of ever truly knowing someone—especially those we love.

Jean Kwok is the New York Times and international bestselling author of Girl in Translation and Mambo in Chinatown. Her work has been published in eighteen countries and is taught in universities, colleges, and high schools across the world. She has been selected for numerous honors, including the American Library Association Alex Award, the Chinese American Librarians Association Best Book Award and the Sunday Times Short Story Award international shortlist. She received her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and earned an MFA from Columbia University. She is fluent in Chinese, Dutch, and English, and currently lives in the Netherlands.

Author Talk Series: Jack Cashman: An Irish Immigrant Story at Boston Public Library

Johanna Cashman and Jack McCarthy, along with over a million others, immigrated to America to escape a devastating famine. They left behind family members who faced starvation to come to a land that would give them an opportunity for a good life. They were soon made aware that they were not welcome in this new land and that every day would present a new struggle for survival. In spite of all the obstacles they encountered, including Jacks untimely death, their family grew and found success. This historical novel brings the reader through the heartwarming story of a family that overcomes adversity to thrive in America. At the same time, it details the movement in the country they left to find its own independent place in the world.

Jack Cashman is retired from a long career in business and public service in Maine. He is a long time student of Irish history, and both his father’s and mother’s ancestors emigrated from Ireland to escape the famine and settled in Salem, Massachusetts. So jack wrote his first novel about the struggles of an Irish immigrant family and Ireland’s drive for independence. Jack lives in Hampden, Maine, with his wife Betty, close to his two sons and five granddaughters.