Admission and $10 off at our bookstore
Out of stock
Tuesday, 7:00 pm September 24, 2019
We are excited to host Maaza Mengiste’s book launch, which is inspired by the immersive experience of reading her new novel The Shadow King. Following a conversation between Maaza and writer Hannah Giorgis, guests will enjoy hors d’oeurves for the evening, from our neighbors, Bati Kitchen, and be among the first to see Maaza’s exhibit of archival photographs featuring the women warriors who inspired The Shadow King on display in our member lounge. Presented in collaboration with MoCADA.
Maaza Mengiste is a novelist and essayist. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright Scholar Program, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Creative Capital. Her debut novel, Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, was selected by The Guardian as one of the 10 best contemporary African books and named one of the best books of 2010 by Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe, and other publications. Her work can be found in The New Yorker, New York Review of Books, Granta, The Guardian, the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and BBC, among other places. Maaza’s fiction and nonfiction examine the individual lives at stake during migration, war, and exile, and considers the intersections of photography and violence. She was a writer on the documentary projects, Girl Rising and The Invisible City: Kakuma. Her second novel, The Shadow King, will be published in September 2019.
Hannah Giorgis is a Brooklyn-based writer and the daughter of Ethiopian immigrants. She is a staff writer at The Atlantic, and her work has appeared in publications including the New York Times magazine, The New Yorker, the Lifted Brow, and Pitchfork.
Bati Kitchen, owned by Hibsist Legesse, is located in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Since 2007, the restaurant has served up delicious, classic Ethiopian food to be enjoyed in the traditional manner–no utensils or individual plates with a generous helping of injera. They will serve a delicious array of hors d’oeurves for the evening.
SYNOPSIS & PRAISE
The Shadow King
By Maaza Mengiste
Published by W. W. Norton & Company
With the threat of Mussolini’s army looming, recently orphaned Hirut struggles to adapt to her new life as a maid in Kidane and his wife Aster’s household. Kidane, an officer in Emperor Haile Selassie’s army, rushes to mobilize his strongest men before the Italians invade. His initial kindness to Hirut shifts into a flinty cruelty when she resists his advances, and Hirut finds herself tumbling into a new world of thefts and violations, of betrayals and overwhelming rage. Meanwhile, Mussolini’s technologically advanced army prepares for an easy victory. Hundreds of thousands of Italians–Jewish photographer Ettore among them–march on Ethiopia seeking adventure.
As the war begins in earnest, Hirut, Aster, and the other women long to do more than care for the wounded and bury the dead. When Emperor Haile Selassie goes into exile and Ethiopia quickly loses hope, it is Hirut who offers a plan to maintain morale. She helps disguise a gentle peasant as the emperor and soon becomes his guard, inspiring other women to take up arms against the Italians. But how could she have predicted her own personal war as a prisoner of one of Italy’s most vicious officers, who will force her to pose before Ettore’s camera?
What follows is a gorgeously crafted and unputdownable exploration of female power, with Hirut as the fierce, original, and brilliant voice at its heart. In incandescent, lyrical prose, Maaza Mengiste breathes life into complicated characters on both sides of the battle line, shaping a heartrending, indelible exploration of what it means to be a woman at war.
“A brilliant novel, lyrically lifting history towards myth. It’s also compulsively readable. I devoured it in two days.” —Salman Rushdie, author of Quichotte
The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) uses the visual and performing arts as a point of departure for exploring new artistic production across a variety of disciplines. Through exhibitions and programming, MoCADA incites dialogue on pressing social and political issues facing the African Diaspora and fosters a dynamic space for the creation and continuous evolution of culture.
Everything Inside: Edwidge Danticat with Concepción de León$10
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Bad Behavior in the Age of #Metoo: On Mary Gaitskill's This Is Pleasure$10
Thursday, 7:00 pm November 21, 2019
Person Place Thing Featuring Jennifer Egan$20
Friday, 7:00 pm November 22, 2019
KidsRead: Vashti Harrison Story TimeFree
Saturday, 10:30 am November 23, 2019
45:15 — A Communal Writing ExperienceFree
Sunday, 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm November 24, 2019
Notes on Fiction: Everything is Green$15
Tuesday, 7:00 pm December 3, 2019
BYOBook: A Quiet Happy Hour for ReadersFree
Sunday, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm December 8, 2019
2019 First Novel Fête$45
Monday, 6:30 pm December 9, 2019