Nonfiction

Thursday, October 14, 2021

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AuthorFest: Peril
Robert Costa
Robert Costa
Peril, Thursday, October 14 | virtual
Bob Woodward
Bob Woodward
Peril, Thursday, October 14 | virtual
Mindy Marqués
Mindy Marqués
Thursday, October 14 | virtual

Please register for this free event on Eventbrite. Registered attendees will receive a link to join the Zoom webinar hosted by Simon & Schuster. Registration will close at 3pm ET on October 14.

We’re excited to participate in Simon & Schuster’s inaugural AuthorFest, a seasonal author series in partnership with book festivals and literary series. Join # 1 internationally bestselling author Bob Woodward and acclaimed reporter Robert Costa as they discuss Peril, the extraordinary story of the end of one presidency and the beginning of another. Mindy Marqués, vice president and executive editor at Simon & Schuster and the former executive editor of The Miami Herald, will moderate.

Friday, October 15, 2021

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Kickoff Keynote: Our Pandemic Future
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Nicholas A. Christakis
Nicholas A. Christakis
Apollo's Arrow, Friday, October 15 | virtual
Sandro Galea
Sandro Galea
The Contagion Next Time, Friday, October 15 | virtual
Vanessa Kerry
Vanessa Kerry
Friday, October 15 | virtual

Our opening session spotlights the profound effects of the pandemic and what we must do to shore up the very foundation of our society to avoid a similar catastrophe in the future. In the highly lauded Apollo’s Arrow, bestselling author, physician, sociologist, and public health expert Nicholas A. Christakis discusses what it means to live with plague. In The Contagion Next Time, physician, epidemiologist and bestselling author Sandro Galea argues that poor public health, economic inequalities, and racism are largely to blame for our inadequate preparation and response to the crisis. Our host for this timely session is Vanessa Kerry, director of the Program in Global Public Policy and Social Change in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

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The Enduring Legacy of Slavery
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Annette Gordon-Reed
Annette Gordon-Reed
On Juneteenth, Saturday, October 16 | virtual
Clint Smith
Clint Smith
How the Word Is Passed, Saturday, October 16 | virtual
Meghna Chakrabarti
Meghna Chakrabarti
Saturday, October 16 | virtual

Sometimes, the more you try to ignore or deny something, the more it asserts itself in your psyche. In the collective American psyche, that buried issue is slavery. Poet, scholar, and Atlantic Monthly staff writer Clint Smith, in his revelatory book, How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America, investigates how nine Civil War historic sites memorialize or distort their subject. Smith’s interviews, scholarship, and personal anecdotes about these sites poignantly and, at times, shockingly reveal the scars on the American psyche. Harvard historian Annette Gordon-Reed, whose works include the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Hemingses of Monticello, blends a fascinating memoir of growing up in Texas with a history of slavery in that state in her latest, On Juneteenth. It turns out that slaveholding was central to the economy of the state best known for cowboys and BBQ. Join us for a rare opportunity to see these two stellar scholars together for an exploration of what has been buried for far too long. Moderated by WBUR’s Meghna Chakrabarti. Sponsored by the Krupp Family Foundation.

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Women: Working It
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Colleen Ammerman
Colleen Ammerman
Glass Half-Broken, Saturday, October 16 | Virtual
Danielle Dreilinger
Danielle Dreilinger
The Secret History of Home Economics, Saturday, October 16 | virtual
Minda Harts
Minda Harts
Right Within, Saturday, October 16 | virtual
Dominique Mielle
Dominique Mielle
Damsel in Distressed, Saturday, October 16 | virtual
Morra Aarons-Mele
Morra Aarons-Mele
Saturday, October 16 | virtual

This session takes a wide-ranging look at women and work. Danielle Dreilinger’s The Secret History of Home Economics traces the history of this misunderstood field and its surprising role in creating opportunities for women in careers like chemistry, engineering, psychology, and business. Colleen Ammerman, in Glass Half-Broken, asks why women, who make up the majority of college educated workers in the United States, are still underrepresented in positions of power and status. As an exception that proves the rule, Dominique Mielle, in Damsel in Distressed, brings humor to her description of life as a very successful woman in the mostly male world of hedge funds. Minda Harts, professor of public service at NYU Wagner and founder of The Memo, offers actionable advice for women of color to cope with everything from the wage gap to microaggressions in Right Within. Our host is Morra Aarons-Mele, founder of the social impact agency, Women Online, host of the HBR podcast The Anxious Achiever, and author of Hiding in the Bathroom. Join this group of kick-ass, powerful women for an eye-opening and provocative session about work. Sponsored by Western Governors University.

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Environmental Activism: How To Protect the Planet and Yourself
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Laurie David
Laurie David
Imagine It!: A Handbook for a Happier Planet, Saturday, October 16 | virtual
Tatiana Schlossberg
Tatiana Schlossberg
Inconspicuous Consumption, Saturday, October 16 | virtual

Have you considered liquid soap lately? You know, the kind in a plastic bottle with a pump? Laurie David, documentary filmmaker, activist, and author of Imagine It: A Handbook for a Happier Planet, explains that liquid soap was a solution in search of a problem, and if we all switched back to bar soap, the world would be a better place. Turns out that ubiquitous plastic bottle is depositing microplastic in our bodies, the ocean, and everywhere else. This, and many other ideas on how we can all become environmental activists, will be the topic of the conversation between Laurie and Tatiana Schlossberg, whose book Inconspicuous Consumption: The Environmental Impact You Don’t Know You Have won first place in the Society of Environmental Journalists’ Rachel Carson Environmental Book Award. The time for personal and collective action is now, so tune in and join these engaging and engaged women for a lively discussion of what you can do, sponsored by Cambridge Trust.

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Graphic Nonfiction: The Political Is Personal
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Andrew Aydin
Andrew Aydin
Run: Book One, Saturday, October 18 | virtual
Nate Powell
Nate Powell
Save It for Later, Saturday, October 16 | virtual
David Leonard
David Leonard
Saturday, October 16 | virtual

Join Nate Powell and Andrew Aydin, two masters of the art of visual storytelling, for a discussion of their powerful recent work. Both Aydin, as co-writer, and Powell, as artist, produced the landmark trilogy, March, about the early days in the movement of civil rights icon and congressman John Lewis. The story continues in Run, about the years following the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. The stories of police brutality, voter suppression, and segregationist rhetoric in this critically lauded volume resonate today. Nate Powell will also share Save It for Later: Promises, Protest, and Parenthood, his poignant memoir in graphic essays of living and parenting in the Trump era, which Booklist called a “virtuoso work of artistry” in its starred review. Boston Public Library’s President, David Leonard, will lead the conversation. Sponsored by the Boston Public Library.

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Lifelong Learning Keynote with Tamara Payne
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Tamara Payne
Tamara Payne
The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X, Saturday, October 16 | virtual
Jurianny Guerrero
Jurianny Guerrero
Saturday, October 16 | virtual
Kellie Carter Jackson
Kellie Carter Jackson
Saturday, October 16 | virtual

We are pleased to present, as our first Lifelong Learning Keynote, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Tamara Payne, co-author with her late father, Les Payne, of The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X. We hope that young adults and their parents tune in together to hear from the author as she is interviewed by Wellesley College history professor Kellie Carter Jackson and Fenway High School senior Jurianny Guerrero. Malcolm X lived for many years in the Nubian Square neighborhood in Roxbury, so his life and times have special resonance for our city. As Kerri Greenridge writes in the Atlantic, “The Dead Are Arising is a meticulously researched, compassionately rendered, and fiercely analytical examination of the radical revolutionary as a human being.” We look forward to a multi-generational audience for this multi-generational session. Sponsored by the Eric and Jane Nord Family Fund.

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Boston in 100 Words Awards Ceremony
Boston in 100 Words
Boston in 100 Words
Saturday, October 16 | Trident Booksellers and Café

Join Boston in 100 Words at Trident Booksellers and Café as they announce the winners of the 2021 Boston in 100 Words flash fiction writing contest! All thirteen winning authors will read their stories and see, for the first time, the original illustrations produced for each of them. Food and drink will be available for purchase at this celebratory event. Boston in 100 Words is an annual flash fiction writing contest co-produced by Inspired Masses, the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, and the Boston Public Library. Anyone living, working or going to school in the city and some surrounding towns can submit 100-word stories about everyday life in Boston. Winning stories are displayed as large, illustrated posters in public spaces throughout the city. Boston is the first city in the United States to host this transnational urban writing project, founded in Santiago, Chile. 

Please abide by city and venue regulations with regard to mask wearing and social distancing for this in-person event.

Can't make it to Trident in person? Never fear! You can catch the livestream here.



Sunday, October 17, 2021

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The Care and Feeding of Book Clubs
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Callie Crossley
Callie Crossley
Sunday, October 17 | virtual
Woods Seney
Woods Seney
Saturday, October 17 | virtual
Akunna Eneh
Akunna Eneh
Sunday, October 17 | virtual
Cynthia Haynes
Cynthia Haynes
Sunday, October 17 | virtual

Maybe you’ve toyed with the idea of launching a book club but don’t know where to start. Or perhaps your long-time book club has grown a bit stale . . . or downright dysfunctional. In this session, veteran book club members and facilitators Callie Crossley, Cynthia Haynes, and Woods Seney will offer their tips for book club success, share ideas for getting your book club back on the same page (as it were), and perhaps let us know what their book groups have been reading (and snacking on) lately. Bring your questions, cautionary tales, and success stories for this lively conversation, moderated by Akunna Eneh of the Boston Public Library’s Roxbury branch.

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Woke Leadership
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Tracy Swinton Bailey
Tracy Swinton Bailey
Forever Free, Sunday, October 17 | virtual
Priscilla H. Douglas
Priscilla H. Douglas
Woke Leadership, Sunday, October 17 | virtual
Steven S. Rogers
Steven S. Rogers
A Letter to My White Friends and Colleagues, Sunday, October 17 | virtual
Steve Grossman
Steve Grossman
Sunday, October 17 | virtual

Three authors, themselves leaders, put out a call to their friends, neighbors, and countrymen and women: it’s time to wake up and DO something. Tracy Swinton Bailey, in Forever Free: A True Story of Hope in the Fight for Child Literacy, makes an impassioned plea for literacy as the scaffolding on which success is built and describes how she started Freedom Readers, a nonprofit whose one-to-one tutoring model has succeeded in the rural South and has the potential to succeed across the United States.  Drawing on thirty years of coaching Fortune 500 executives,  Priscilla H. Douglas gleans inspiring stories of those who lead with consciousness and compassion in Woke Leadership: Profits, Prophets and Purpose. Former Harvard Business School professor Steven S. Rogers, in A Letter to My White Friends and Colleagues, uses historical research, case studies, and personal anecdotes to illustrate the causes of racial wealth disparity in the United States and presents practical solutions. You won’t want to miss this inspiring and important discussion, moderated by Steve Grossman, CEO of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. Sponsored by Other Press.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

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The Chinese Question
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Mae Ngai
Mae Ngai
The Chinese Question, Tuesday, October 19 | virtual
Jia Lynn Yang
Jia Lynn Yang
One Mighty and Irresistible Tide, Tuesday, October 19 | virtual

In roughly five decades, between 1848 and 1899, more gold was removed from the earth than had been mined in the three thousand preceding years, bringing untold wealth to individuals and nations. But friction between Chinese and white settlers on the goldfields of California, Australia, and South Africa catalyzed a global battle over “The Chinese Question”: would the United States and the British Empire outlaw Chinese immigration? Join us for a discussion of these definitive cultural and political movements which impact us to this day, featuring two remarkable authors and experts—Mae Ngai (The Chinese Question) and Jia Lynn Yang (One Mighty and Irresistible Tide)—on the topics of Chinese American history and immigration. This session is hosted by our partners at New England Historic Genealogical Society and presented in partnership with the State Library of Massachusetts, the Boston Public Library, and GBH Forum Network.



Wednesday, October 20, 2021

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YA: This Session's for the Birds
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Derrick Z. Jackson
Derrick Z. Jackson
The Puffin Plan, Wednesday, October 20 | virtual
Stephen W. Kress
Stephen W. Kress
The Puffin Plan, Wednesday, October 20 | virtual
Rosemary Mosco
Rosemary Mosco
A Pocket Guide to Pigeon Watching, Wednesday, October 20 | virtual

Whether you identify as a city kid or an avid naturalist, fascinating birds can be found everywhere! In this session, we’ll hear from Rosemary Mosco, who’s been connecting people to the natural world with her funny (but scientifically accurate!) cartoons for years. In A Pocket Guide to Pigeon Watching she demystifies these ubiquitous but often misunderstood birds. Ornithologist Stephen W. Kress and photographer Derrick Z. Jackson team up for The Puffin Plan, a beautifully photographed account of reintroducing these gorgeous birds to rocky islands off the coast of Maine. We’ll hear from all these creators and get their ideas for incorporating the natural world into young people’s lives in this session hosted by Jeremy Spool of the Massachusetts Young Birders Club.

Donations made during registration or during the session will go to support the Boston Book Festival's Shelf Help Partnership, providing brand-new books and an author/illustrator visit to Boston-area public schools. This year's recipient schools are Josiah Quincy Elementary School in Chinatown and Chelsea High School in Chelsea. Thank you for your support!

Thursday, October 21, 2021

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YA: Revolution and Resistance
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Kekla Magoon
Kekla Magoon
Revolution in Our Time, Thursday, October 21 | virtual
Jamia Wilson
Jamia Wilson
This Book Is Feminist, Thursday, October 21 | virtual
Carissa Romain
Carissa Romain
Thursday, October 21 | virtual
Crystal M. Fleming
Crystal M. Fleming
Rise Up!, Thursday, October 21 | virtual
De Nichols
De Nichols
Art of Protest, Thursday, October 21 | virtual

Looking for inspiration and empowerment to get involved in political and social action? Your first stop should be this bold and galvanizing session. Kekla Magoon’s Revolution in Our Time, recently longlisted for the National Book Award, offers meticulously researched historical context for today’s Black activist movements, as the author traces the history of the Black Panther Party in a narrative Kirkus calls a “not-to-be-missed story of America’s history and current reality.” In Rise Up! sociologist Crystal M. Fleming inspires readers to take up the cause of anti-racism in their own lives, thoroughly outlining the ongoing lineage of racial injustice and outlining concrete steps young people can take to work toward justice in their own communities. Jamia Wilson’s This Book Is Feminist offers an intersectional framework for understanding the history of feminist movements and for viewing contemporary feminism as the key to overcoming systemic oppression and injustice. If hearing all these inspiring stories of activism has you ready to hit the streets, artivist De Nichols will inspire your revolutionary creativity in her new book Art of Protest. Whether you’re looking to understand how we got here or you’re ready to take on the world, this dynamic conversation, hosted by interviewer Carissa Romain, will offer you a roadmap for your own activist journey. Sponsored by Candlewick Press.

Donations made during registration or during the session will go to support the Boston Book Festival's Shelf Help Partnership, providing brand-new books and an author/illustrator visit to Boston-area public schools. This year's recipient schools are Josiah Quincy Elementary School in Chinatown and Chelsea High School in Chelsea. Thank you for your support!

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Friday, October 22, 2021

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Period. End of Sentence
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Anita Diamant
Anita Diamant
Period. End of Sentence. A New Chapter in the Fight for Menstrual Justice, Friday, October 22 | virtual
Meredith Goldstein
Meredith Goldstein
Friday, October 22

Menstruation: honored, celebrated, revered, feared, ignored, misunderstood. Anita Diamant (The Red Tent) charts the flow of period history in her new book Period. End of Sentence., including generations of misinformation and silence. But it's not all bad news! A new generation of activists are committed to breaking the cycle of period stigma, and popular culture seems to be following suit. The Boston Globe's Meredith Goldstein moderates.

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A Reckoning in Boston Film Screening
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In 1995, writer Earl Shorris launched the first Clemente Course in the Humanities, offering low-income adults the same access to the humanities as Ivy League freshmen. He claimed, “People who know the humanities become good citizens, become active, not acted upon.” White, suburban filmmaker James Rutenbeck went to Dorchester, one of Boston’s most diverse neighborhoods, to document students’ engagement with the Clemente Course in the Humanities. What begins as an academic inquiry becomes a collaborative, interpersonal experience when James realizes he can’t keep himself out of the narrative. His relationship to the story is influenced by two students, Kafi Dixon—a bus driver and urban farmer—and Carl Chandler—a neighborhood elder who combines a talent for storytelling with a profound intellectual curiosity. As James spends time with Kafi and Carl, he’s awakened to the violence, racism, and gentrification that threaten their place in the city. Their documentary film project, A Reckoning in Boston, bears witness to the struggles and injustices playing out across our city, and will compel viewers to grapple with their own complicity in these systems. Join us for a free screening of A Reckoning in Boston, followed by a live Q&A with filmmakers James Rutenbeck and Kafi Dixon, moderated by Rep. Liz Miranda. This screening and discussion are sponsored by Mass Humanities.

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A Reckoning in Boston post-screening discussion
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Kafi Dixon
Kafi Dixon
A Reckoning in Boston, Friday, October 22 | virtual
James Rutenbeck
James Rutenbeck
A Reckoning in Boston, Friday, October 22 | virtual
Liz Miranda
Liz Miranda
Friday, October 22 | virtual
Carl Chandler
Carl Chandler
A Reckoning in Boston, Friday, October 22 | virtual

After screening the documentary film A Reckoning in Boston at 7pm, join us on Crowdcast for a live Q&A with filmmakers James Rutenbeck, Carl Chandler, and Kafi Dixon, moderated by Rep. Liz Miranda. This screening and discussion are sponsored by Mass Humanities.

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Saturday, October 23, 2021

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Memoir: Finding Your Way as a Black Person in a White World
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Brian Broome
Brian Broome
Punch Me Up to the Gods, Saturday, October 23 | virtual
Kim McLarin
Kim McLarin
James Baldwin's Another Country Bookmarked, Saturday, October 23 | virtual
Chanda Prescod-Weinstein
Chanda Prescod-Weinstein
The Disordered Cosmos, Saturday, October 23 | virtual

Join three writers as they discuss their different, difficult, and fascinating paths. As one of the few Black women to obtain a PhD in physics in the United States, Chanda Prescod-Weinstein encountered more than a few bumps on the road to becoming a cosmologist. Her book, The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred, is described in a starred review in Publishers Weekly as “a resonant paean to the beauties of the cosmos and a persuasive appeal for solutions to injustices in science.” Brian Broome tells a raw coming-of-age story in Punch Me Up to the Gods. Described in numerous glowing reviews as “electrifying,” “staggering,” and “brilliant,” it creatively employs Gwendolyn Brooks’s poem “We Real Cool” as a framing device. Kim McLarin, in James Baldwin’s In Another Country Bookmarked, uses the themes of Baldwin’s novel to mirror her own experiences with life, love, and creativity. As Shelf Awareness writes in its starred review, McLarin “seamlessly traverses the boundaries of literary criticism, personal essay and cultural critique.” Kelley Chunn, principal of cause marketing firm Kelley Chunn & Associates, will lead the conversation. Sponsored by Arbella Insurance Foundation.

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Building Up Their Own: The Legacy, Power, and Potential of Black Organizing and Institution Building in America
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Eddie R. Cole
Eddie R. Cole
The Campus Color Line, Saturday, October 23 | virtual
Martha S. Jones
Martha S. Jones
Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All, Saturday, October 23 | virtual
Kate Masur
Kate Masur
Until Justice Be Done, Saturday, October 23 | virtual
Jelani M. Favors
Jelani M. Favors
Shelter in a Time of Storm, Saturday, October 23 | virtual

The history of the Black liberation movement has been rooted in the organizing and mobilizing capabilities of Black institutions. This session will examine the legacy, power, and potential of Black institutions and how they have empowered communities, launched social movements, and produced activists who have served on the frontlines of America’s ongoing struggle for social, political, and economic justice. The panel will highlight the work of three scholars who have increased our understanding of the significant local and national impact that institutions have played in advancing the freedom dreams of Black folks in America and how this spirit of agency and “building up our own” has evolved into the present day. Panelists include Martha S. Jones (Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All), Kate Masur (Until Justice Be Done: America's First Civil Rights Movement, from the Revolution to Reconstruction), and Eddie R. Cole (The Campus Color Line: College Presidents and the Struggle for Black Freedom). The moderator for this session, developed in partnership with Boston’s Museum of African American History and sponsored by the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Foundation, is Jelani M. Favors, author of Shelter in a Time of Storm: How Black Colleges Fostered Generations of Leadership and Activism, winner of the 2020 MAAH Stone Book Award.

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History Keynote
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Tiya Miles
Tiya Miles
All That She Carried, Saturday, October 23 | virtual
Lee Pelton
Lee Pelton
Saturday, October 23 | virtual

In All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake, Harvard historian and MacArthur Fellow Tiya Miles tells the unforgettable story of an antique piece of fabric, a sack that was given by an enslaved woman to her young daughter, Ashley, before the child  was sold away from her. In 1921, Ashley’s granddaughter told Ashley’s story in 53 powerful words that she embroidered on the sack. Now housed at the Smithsonian, it stands as a unique artifact, a synecdoche, as Miles says, of American slavery. In the absence of written records of the lives of slaves, objects become the bearers of information. Miles brilliantly explores what Ashley’s sack says not only about the inhuman, twisted institution of slavery and the paucity of histories about Black women and families, but also about the meaning of love. Join Tiya Miles and Lee Pelton, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation, for a discussion of this moving and highly readable work of social history. Sponsored by the Wagner Foundation.

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Sunday, October 24, 2021

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BBF Unbound: Bake It Till You Make it . . . Virtually!
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Dayna Altman
Dayna Altman
Bake It Till You Make It, On-Demand | Virtual

Bake it Till You Make it: Live!, inspired by Dayna Altman’s first of its kind mental health cookbook Bake it Till You Make it: Breaking Bread Building Resilience, is a life baking demonstration and storytelling event rolled into one. During this session Dayna will share her mental health story while facilitating a cooking demonstration. Dayna will use the ingredients as metaphors to tell her own story of recovery and living with mental illness. Watch as she teaches you a new recipe and deconstructs stigma. For more information check out bakeittillyoumakeit.co or email Dayna at [email protected]

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BBF Unbound: After "Nature Writing"
Kerri Arsenault
Kerri Arsenault
Mill Town, Sunday, October 24 | virtual
Kate Brown
Kate Brown
Manual for Survival, Sunday, October 24 | virtual
Joan Naviyuk Kane
Joan Naviyuk Kane
Dark Traffic, Sunday, October 24 | virtual
Bathsheba Demuth
Bathsheba Demuth
Floating Coast, Sunday, October 24 | virtual
Tony Perry
Tony Perry
Sunday, October 24 | virtual

Our panel of writers, teachers, and activists will discuss the elements environmental writers bring to storytelling: how to tell or teach stories that support political action, reveal or foster a better understanding of past and present environmental crises, and how writing can narrate interconnections of people and places across genres. Each contributor connects Boston-area concerns with larger geographies and histories: Inupiaq poet Joan Naviyuk Kane links her Alaskan homelands with her current home in Cambridge; Kate Brown connects distant nuclear and local plant histories; historian Tony Perry examines the relationship of enslaved peoples in the early United States with their environments; Kerri Arsenault traces pollution in the Northeast; and panel moderator Bathsheba Demuth connects histories of New England and the Arctic. Through guiding questions about genre, audience, and writing across disciplines, the panelists will discuss how the past and present can be linked through storytelling to an environmentally just future.