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The Center for Fiction and WORDTheatre Present a Tribute to the Work of Randall Kenan

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Thursday, 7:00 pm EDT September 8, 2022

The Center for Fiction
& Livestreamed

Featuring a WORDTheatre® performance with actors CG (Queer as Folk), Marinda Anderson (A League of Their Own), Michael Boatman (The Good Fight), and Ryan Jamaal Swain (Pose).

Post-performance discussion led by A.M. Homes and Elias Rodriques.


In-person tickets include a $10 bookstore voucher, redeemable toward the featured event book on the night of the event. All registrants will receive a link to livestream the event.


In 2020, we lost beloved, award-winning writer and scholar Randall Kenan, master of both nonfiction and fiction and curator of James Baldwin’s unpublished works. Southern, Black, and gay, much of Kenan’s fiction centered on place, a fictional town in North Carolina similar to the one where he was raised. His nonfiction displays his warmth, intellect, and insight, and is collected in a new volume, Black Folk Could Fly. About the book, poet Terrance Hayes says:

“Almost everything in the inimitable sound of Randall Kenan’s baritone voice is contained in this collection of beautiful thinking and feeling. The warm, mercurial intelligence of Kenan’s smile, especially, is made word in this collection of beautiful thinking and feeling, thank goodness.”

In a WORDTheatre® performance that weaves together excerpts from this stunning new collection of essays, actors CG (Queer as Folk), Marinda Anderson (A League of Their Own), Michael Boatman (The Good Fight), and Ryan Jamaal Swain (Pose) will bring Kenan’s language to life, followed by a discussion with Kenan’s longtime friend A.M. Homes and author Elias Rodriques. Afterward, join us in raising a glass to his legacy. Created, directed, and produced by Cedering Fox, Founder and Artistic Director of WORDTheatre, with the assistance of Jason Goodman.

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  • wordtheatre-circle

    WORDTheatre®

    WORDTheatre®

    WORDTheatre® is on a mission to connect people by bringing to life the world’s finest contemporary literature. Featuring esteemed authors and actors, this non-profit organization has been presenting engaging and entertaining performances of short stories, poetry, novel excerpts/adaptations, and original themed literary collages for diverse audiences, from cultural enthusiasts to students in under-resourced schools, for nearly twenty years. Los Angeles based Artistic Director, Cedering Fox, and WordTheatreUK Creative Partner, Kirsty Peart, enjoy every opportunity to create their signature events, presenting them live, in-person and online for world-wide audiences, often in partnership with other literary and charitable organizations. The WORDTheatre Short Story Podcast features a world-class short story from their extraordinary archive free to the public each week. Stories are shared with students through WITS, their WORDTheatre in the Schools Program. To hear more about in-person events in LA, NY and London and to become a Member, please visit wordtheatre.org.

  • CG Headshot

    CG

    CG

    CG is known for their role as Shar on Peacock’s Queer as Folk (2022). They hold an MFA in Theater from Mason Gross School of the Arts.

  • Marinda Anderson

    Marinda Anderson

    Marinda Anderson

    Graduated with an MFA from NYU Graduate Acting Program,  Marinda Anderson is an actress and writer most known for her role as Leah in Amazon Prime’s A League of Their Own (2022) and Dr. Valarie Jessup in NBC’s New Amsterdam (2018).

  • Michael Boatman 2

    Michael Boatman

    Michael Boatman

    Michael Boatman is from Chicago and studied acting at Western Illinois University. He is an actor and writer most known for his role as Julius Cain in CBS’s The Good Fight (2017) and as FBI Director Keith Doherty in CBS’s Madam Secretary (2016).

  • SWAIN, RYAN 5

    Ryan Jamaal Swain

    Ryan Jamaal Swain

    From Birmingham, Alabama and a Howard University graduate, Ryan Jamaal Swain is an actor and dancer most known for his role as Damon Richards, a homeless gay dancer, in the FX television series Pose (2018).

  • Randall Kenan photo - Claire Fennell - Claire Fennell

    Randall Kenan

    Randall Kenan

    The last work of fiction by Randall Kenan (1963–2020), If I Had Two Wings, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Aspen Prize, and the National Book Award for Fiction (longlist). Norton published his book Black Folk Could Fly posthumously in August 2022. He was a professor of English and comparative literature at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill.

  • Screen Shot 2022-08-02 at 1.06.30 PM - Claire Fennell

    A.M. Homes

    A.M. Homes

    A.M. Homes is the author of thirteen books, among them the bestselling memoir The Mistress’s Daughter; the novels This Book Will Save Your Life, The End of Alice, and Jack; and the short story collections Days of Awe, The Safety of Objects, and Things You Should Know. She also writes for film and television and teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Princeton University.

  • Elias Rodriques author photo[3] - Claire Fennell

    Elias Rodriques

    Elias Rodriques

    Elias Rodriques was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and split his young years between Jamaica, New York, and North Florida. He attended Stanford University and then received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. His essays have been published in venues like the Guardian and the Nation, and his first novel is All the Water I’ve Seen is Running. He is an assistant editor at n+1 and an Assistant Professor of African American Literature at Sarah Lawrence.