Aug 20: Harry Sylvester Bird by Chinelo Okparanta
Aug 20, Saturday
12pm New York | 5pm Port Harcourt | 5pm London
Friendly discussion about the novel, Harry Sylvester Bird. The writer Chinelo Okparanta will join us for the final half hour to chat with participants. Published by Mariner Books.
Discussion hosted by Bhakti Shringarpure.
a. Get yourself a copy of the book! (Click here to purchase the book online)
b. Read the book before the meeting! (No one is checking if you've finished the book, but you will get the most out of the club and the chat with the author if you read ahead.)
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About the book
Harry Sylvester Bird grows up in Edward, Pennsylvania, with his parents, Wayne and Chevy, whom he greatly dislikes. They’re racist, xenophobic, financially incompetent, and they have quite a few secrets of their own. To Harry, they represent everything wrong with this country. And his small town isn’t any better. He witnesses racial profiling, graffitied swastikas, and White Power signs on his walk home from school. He can’t wait until he’s old enough to leave. When he finally is, he moves straight to New York City, where he feels he can finally live out his true inner self.
In the city, he meets and falls in love with Maryam, a young Nigerian woman. But when Maryam begins to pull away, Harry is forced to confront his identity as he never has before—if he can.
Brilliant, funny, original, and unflinching, Harry Sylvester Bird is a satire that speaks to all the most pressing tensions and anxieties of our time—and of the history that has shaped us and might continue to do so.
About the author
CHINELO OKPARANTA was born and raised in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Her debut short story collection, Happiness, Like Water, was nominated for the Nigerian Writers Award, long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and was a finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, as well as the Etisalat Prize for Literature. Her first novel, Under the Udala Trees, was nominated for numerous awards, including the Kirkus Prize and Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice. She has published work in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, the Kenyon Review, AGNI, and other venues, and was named one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists. She received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and she is currently Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Swarthmore College.
About the host
Bhakti Shringarpure is a writer, editor and educator. She is the Creative Director of the Radical Books Collective.
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