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The Center for Fiction Presents Joseph Earl Thomas on God Bless You, Otis Spunkmeyer with Tyriek White

Thursday, 7:00 pm EDT June 20, 2024

The Center for Fiction
& Livestreamed

Joseph Earl Thomas, acclaimed author of New York Times Notable Book Sink, joins The Center for Fiction to celebrate his debut novel God Bless You, Otis Spunkmeyer. His new book follows a veteran of the Iraq War who is now a doctoral student and an EMS worker in North Philly. He struggles to adjust to civilian life again, all while balancing hospital shifts, his studies, and his duties as a single father. God Bless You, Otis Spunkmeyer is a powerful portrait of the everyday Black experience in Philadelphia that “deftly captures the maddening mess of everything that makes life worth living” (Isle McElroy, author of People Collide).

Thomas is joined in conversation by Tyriek White, winner of The Center for Fiction 2023 First Novel Prize for We Are a Haunting. Thomas and White will discuss Thomas’s novel and the ways in which he combines humor and heartbreak in his social critique. After the conversation, Thomas will sign books.

Otis Cover Art Large

In Conversation

  • Joseph Thomas_Marcus Jackson Large

    Joseph Earl Thomas

    Joseph Earl Thomas

    Joseph Earl Thomas is a writer from Frankford whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in VQR, N+1, Gulf Coast, The Offing, and the Kenyon Review. He has an MFA in prose from The University of Notre Dame and is a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Pennsylvania. An excerpt of his memoir, Sink, won the 2020 Chautauqua Janus Prize and he has received fellowships from Fulbright, VONA, Tin House, and Bread Loaf. God Bless You, Otis Spunkmeyer, is his debut novel. He is writing a collection of stories, Leviathan Beach, among other oddities.

    Photo Credit: Marcus Jackson

  • Tyriek White_credit Dan Henry Large

    Tyriek White

    Tyriek White

    Tyriek White is a writer, musician, and educator from Brooklyn, New York. He is the author of We Are a Haunting (Astra House, 2023), winner of The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. The novel was also nominated for the Brooklyn Public Library Book Prize and the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Fiction.

    He has received fellowships from Callaloo, New York State Writers Institute, and Key West Literary Seminar, among other honors. He is currently the media director of Lampblack Literary Foundation, which seeks to provide mutual aid and various resources to Black writers across the diaspora. He holds a degree in Creative Writing & Africana Studies from Pitzer College and most recently earned an MFA from the University of Mississippi.

    Photo Credit: Dan Henry