A special spring edition of the Talking Volumes literary series, devoted to the topic of race in America, will take place on consecutive Tuesdays in March.
Co-sponsored by the Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio, the conversations with four authors will be hosted by MPR journalists Kerri Miller and Brandt Williams and will take place virtually via a webinar that allows viewers to join a post-interview discussion led by Star Tribune writers.
The lineup for "Talking Volumes: Talking Race":
Reginald Dwayne Betts (7 p.m. March 9): Betts is an attorney, memoirist and poet, and his new collection, "Felon: Poems," will be published March 30 by W.W. Norton. Betts won a 2019 National Magazine Award for an essay chronicling his journey from prison to becoming a licensed attorney. He is a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow and an Emerson Fellow at New America.
Betts is also the director of the Million Book Project, which seeks to transform access to literature in prisons. The poems in "Felon" tell the story of one man's journey through homelessness, drug abuse, love, violence, fatherhood and grace.
N. Scott Momaday (7 p.m. March 16): A member of the Kiowa tribe, Momaday grew up in Oklahoma and has devoted his life to preserving Native culture and stories. He published "Earth Keeper: Reflections on the American Land" in November.
A poet, novelist, playwright, teacher and painter, he won the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for his novel "House Made of Dawn." He has also received a National Medal of Arts, the Academy of American Poets Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Lifetime Achievement and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Distinguished Achievement Award.
Chang-rae Lee (7 p.m. March 23): His first book, "Native Speaker," won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for first fiction. His novel "The Surrendered" won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and was a 2011 Pulitzer finalist.
His latest, "My Year Abroad," tells the story of Tiller, an average American college student, and Pong Lou, a Chinese American entrepreneur who shows him the world. Lee teaches at Stanford University.
Naima Coster (7 p.m. March 30): Her debut novel, "Halsey Street," was a finalist for the 2018 Kirkus Prize for fiction. In 2020, Coster was named one of the National Book Foundation's "5 Under 35." Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Paris Review Daily and many other places.
In her new novel, "What's Mine and Yours," a North Carolina community rises in outrage as a county initiative draws students from the Black side of town into the predominantly white high schools on the west. The book follows two students, Gee and Noelle, for the next 20 years.
Tickets to Talking Volumes are available now at mprevents.org on a pay-what-you-can basis, with suggested donations of $20, $10 or $5. The events will be recorded for broadcast on KNOW, 91.1 FM.
Laurie Hertzel • @StribBooks