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April 8, 2019 | 6:00 p.m. - 7:45 p.m.
Category: Seminar
Location: Purdy/Kresge Library Auditorium | Map
5265 Cass
Detroit, MI 48202
Cost: FREE
Audience: Academic Staff, Alumni, Community, Current Graduate Students, Current Undergraduate Students, Faculty, Parents, Prospective Students, Staff

In partnership with the National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards, the Wayne State University Department of English is pleased to present a conversation between two contemporary, award-winning writers, as a part of its Open Field Reading Series. 

Whether for reasons of race, class, sexuality, or other intersecting identities, the systems on which our society is meant to rely often fail to serve certain groups and individuals. How can fiction and poetry serve as an indictment of structural failure as well as a mode of reinforcing the community ties that sustain us? Join National Book Award Finalist and 5 Under 35 honoree Angela Flournoy (The Turner House) and National Book Award Winner Justin Phillip Reed (Indecency) for a conversation on the power of literature as both critique and comfort. 

ANGELA FLOURNOY is the author of The Turner House, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and a New York Times notable book of the year. The novel was also a finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and an NAACP Image Award. She is a National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" Honoree for 2015. Her fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, and she has written for The New York Times, The Nation, The Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Flournoy received her undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California. She has taught at the University of Iowa, The New School, Columbia University and Princeton University. Flournoy was the 2016-17 Rona Jaffe Foundation Fellow at the New York Public Library's Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. She is a 2018 National Endowment for the Arts fellow. 

JUSTIN PHILLIP REED is an American poet living in St. Louis. He is the author of Indecency (Coffee House Press), winner of the 2018 National Book Award in Poetry and a finalist for the 2019 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, as well as the chapbook A History of Flamboyance (YesYes Books, 2016). His work appears in African American Review, Best American Essays, Callaloo, The Kenyon Review, Obsidian, and elsewhere. A three-time high school expellee and an ex-college dropout, he received his BA in creative writing at Tusculum College and his MFA in poetry at Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as Junior Writer-in-Residence. He has received fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation, the Conversation Literary Festival, and the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis. Reed was born and raised in South Carolina.


This event will be hosted on the first floor of the Purdy Kresge Graduate Library, in the Kresge Auditorium (room 110). The moderated conversation and book signing will take place from 6:00-7:45p on Monday, April 8.

BOOK GIVEAWAY courtesy of the National Book Foundation! 


This event is FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Seating is limited.

For more information about this event, please contact Connor Newton at 248.933.1644 or