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ALOUD @ Los Angeles Public Library

Arts & Culture

ALOUD is the Library Foundation of Los Angeles' award-winning literary series of live conversations, readings and performances at the historic Central Library and locations throughout Los Angeles.


Los Angeles, CA


ALOUD is the Library Foundation of Los Angeles' award-winning literary series of live conversations, readings and performances at the historic Central Library and locations throughout Los Angeles.



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The Amen Effect: Ancient Wisdom to Mend Our Broken Hearts and World

Join us for a conversation with one of our country’s most prominent rabbis, Rabbi Sharon Brous of IKAR, discussing her new book, The Amen Effect, which explores what it will take, in a time of loneliness and isolation, social rupture and alienation, to rebuild our society. Rabbi Brous was in conversation with celebrated Los Angeles-based activist and founder of Homeboy Industries, Father Gregory Boyle.


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Liliana’s Invincible Summer: A Sister’s Search for Justice

In 2019, Cristina Rivera Garza traveled from her home in Texas to Mexico City in search of an old unresolved criminal file. "My name is Cristina Rivera Garza," she wrote in her request to the attorney general, "and I am writing to you as a relative of Liliana Rivera, who was murdered on July 16, 1990." Knowing there is only a slim chance of recovering the file, Cristina is inspired by feminist movements across the world and enraged by the global epidemic of femicide and embarks on a path toward justice. This is her account and the outcome of an amazing journey. Rivera Garza will be in conversation with Latin Grammy-nominated musician, songwriter, recording artist, and activist Ceci Bastida. This program is in partnership with the LA Phil’s Pan American Music Initiative and the new ballet called Revolución diamantina, reflecting on the Glitter Revolution in Mexico City, composed by artistic curator Gabriela Ortiz, inspired by Cristina Rivera Garza.


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To Free the Captives: A Plea for the American Soul

ALOUD welcomes two-time Poet Laureate of the United States and Pulitzer Prize–winner Tracy K. Smith with her remarkable book To Free the Captives: A Plea for the American Soul. In 2020, heartsick from consistent assaults on Black life, Tracy K. Smith found herself soul-searching and digging into the historical archive for help navigating the "din of human division and strife." Bearing witness to the terms of freedom afforded her as a Black woman, a mother, and an educator in the twenty-first century, Smith etches a portrait of where we find ourselves four hundred years into the American experiment. Smith was in conversation with poet, essayist, and Morgan Parker.


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Dwell Time: A Memoir of Art, Exile, and Repair

Renowned art conservator Rosa Lowinger reveals in her beautiful memoir Dwell Time a journey of her difficult childhood in Miami growing up among people whose losses in the Cuban revolution, and earlier by the decimation of family in the Holocaust, clouded all family life. Through Lowinger’s relentless clear-eyed efforts to be the best practitioner possible, while squarely facing her fraught personal and work relationships, she comes to terms with her identity as Cuban and Jewish, American and Latinx. Lowinger was in conversation with L.A. Times’s art and design columnist Carolina A. Miranda.


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An Amerikan Family: The Shakurs and the Nation They Created

Award-winning journalist Santi Elijah Holley brings us a long overdue look at the Shakur family, who, for over fifty years, have inspired generations of activists, scholars, and music fans. An Amerikan Family is the history of the fight for Black liberation in the United States, as experienced by the Shakurs. From Assata Shakur, the popular author and thinker living for three decades in Cuban exile, to the late, great rapper Tupac to roots in the Black Panther movement and beyond, the Shakurs have been at the forefront of fighting for racial justice in the United States. Holley was in conversation with American academic, civic leader, and founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter, Dr. Melina Abdullah.


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First Gen: A Memoir

From former White House aide to President Obama and Harvard graduate Alejandra Campoverdi comes a riveting, unflinching memoir on navigating social mobility as a first gen Latina. She offers a broad examination of the unacknowledged emotional tolls of being a trailblazer. Join us as we follow Campoverdi’s journey from being a child of welfare to becoming a candidate for U.S. Congress. Part memoir, part manifesto, First Gen is a story of generational inheritance, aspiration, and belonging–a poignant journey to "reclaim the parts of ourselves we sacrificed in order to survive."Campoverdi was in conversation with author and l columnist with Jean Guerrero.


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Doppelganger: A Trip Into the Mirror World

In her bestselling books, celebrated activist and public intellectual Naomi Klein documents the effects of branding, austerity, and climate profiteering on our societies and our souls. Using her own story of an antithetical doppelganger, she looks at what she refers to as the "Mirror World" of our destabilized present, full of doubles and confusion. This is just the beginning of her part comic memoir and part chilling reportage about the world we’re living in and a path beyond confusion and despair. Klein was in conversation with the Canadian-British blogger, journalist, and science fiction author Cory Doctorow.


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The Rabbit Hutch

Join Tess Gunty to discuss her debut novel The Rabbit Hutch, the winner of this year’s National Book Award. In her darkly funny and remarkable novel, we’re introduced to a string of overlapping characters and plots mostly centered around La Lapinière, otherwise known as "The Rabbit Hutch," a run-down apartment building in Vacca Vale, Indiana. The novel unconventionally jumps among perspectives, mediums, and tenses, revealing the building's quirky residents. Gunty keeps the plot moving, creating a story that has you hooked from the first page until the surprising finale. The novel touches on so many important issues—loneliness, consumerism, community, and mental illness all with great subtly and intelligence.


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Our Migrant Souls: A Meditation on Race and the Meanings and Myths of “Latino” Héctor Tobar

"'Stories about empire,' Tobar writes, 'move us because they're echoes of the memories that reside deep in our collective consciousness.' Latinos, after all, are people' living with the hurt caused by war and politics, conquest and surrender, revolution and dictatorship.'" —The New York Times "Latino" is the most broadly defined major race in the United States. In Pulitzer-Prize-winner Héctor Tobar's new book, Our Migrant Souls: A Meditation on Race and the Meanings and Myths of "Latino," Tobar recounts his personal experiences as the son of Guatemalan immigrants and the stories told to him by his Latinx students to offer a thoughtful reproach to racist ideas about Latino people. Our Migrant Souls decodes the meaning of "Latino" as a racial and ethnic identity in the modern United States and seeks to give voice to the angst and anger of young Latino people who have seen Latinidad transformed into hateful tropes about "illegals" and have faced insults, harassment, and division based on white insecurities and economic exploitation.


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Different: Gender Through the Eyes of a Primatologist

“This surprising look at the nature of primates has a lot to say about what it means to be human.”―Publishers Weekly Renowned primatologist and bestselling author Frans de Waal has spent thousands of hours observing apes and monkeys both in the wild and in captivity. In his new book (now out in paperback), Different: Gender Through the Eyes of a Primatologist, de Waal challenges widely held beliefs about masculinity and femininity and common assumptions about authority, leadership, cooperation, competition, filial bonds, sexual orientation, gender identity, and the limitations of the gender binary, exceptions to which are also found in other primates. With humor, clarity, and compassion, Different seeks to broaden the conversation about human gender dynamics by promoting an inclusive model that embraces differences.


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Writer/Scholar/Target: Online Harassment and the Threat to Free Expression

Around the world, writers and journalists have been increasingly targeted for their work by waves of online harassment. From the missives of QAnon, to the rise of hate speech on Twitter, and the use of doxxing to weaponize an adversary’s personal information, our political context is building a perfect storm of harassment with ever-shifting targets. Join best-selling author Reza Aslan (An American Martyr in Persia: The Epic Life and Tragic Death of Howard Baskerville, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth) and Black List founder Franklin Leonard for a conversation on the polarized climate in the United States, amidst the movement for human rights in Iran, and around the world. Together, they will discuss how antagonism in online spaces within this fractious moment launches outwards into offline reality, and the insidious impact of harassment on writers, scholars, and creators. Moderated by author and journalist Jean Guerrero.


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Surviving Homelessness & Foster Care

David Ambroz, best-selling author of A Place Called Home, shares his story of survival on the streets of New York City and later through violence in foster care, always with the goal of moving people from empathy to action. He lays out his ideas, informed through lived experience and policy expertise, to fix foster care, address homelessness, and build a more humane and compassionate nation.


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The Power of Trees—Exclusive L.A. Appearance!

In 2016, The Hidden Life of Trees began the conversation that trees can communicate with each other. Peter Wohlleben’s bestselling book changed the way we looked at ourselves and our environment. Now, after eight years, he follows up his groundbreaking work with The Power of Trees: How Ancient Forests Can Save Us, if We Let Them. This time, Wohlleben delves even further into the life of trees, describing how they pass knowledge to succeeding generations while also discussing their ability to survive climate change. The Power of Trees is a love letter to the forest and a passionate argument for protecting nature's boundless diversity, not only for the trees but also for us.


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Tiny Beautiful Things From the Page to the Screen

Bestselling author Cheryl Strayed takes the ALOUD stage to discuss the transformation of her popular book, Tiny Beautiful Things, to the television screen with show creator and executive producer Liz Tigelaar. Tiny Beautiful Things tells the story of Dear Sugar, a respected advice columnist whose own life is falling apart. Told in multiple timelines with intimacy and candor. Strayed is able to mine the beauty, struggle, and humor in her life to show us that we are not beyond rescue and that our stories are ultimately our salvation. The eight-part series starring Kathryn Hahn debuts on Hulu on April 7.


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Sea of Tranquility

Award-winning and bestselling author Emily St. John Mandel comes to the ALOUD stage to discuss her latest novel, Sea of Tranquility, with National Book Award Winner Charles Yu (Interior Chinatown). A genre-bending work of speculative fiction exploring the nature of time and reality through the eyes of characters living across a span of 500 years. Sea of Tranquility was on The New York Times bestseller list and is one of President Obama’s favorite books of 2022. Mandel is the author of five other novels, including The Glass House and Station Eleven, which was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and was the basis of a limited series on HBO Max.


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Dust Child

Join international bestselling author and poet Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai in conversation with a host of The Vietnamese podcast Kenneth Nguyen to discuss her second novel written in English, Dust Child. Described by Viet Thanh Nguyen as “powerful and deeply empathetic… A heartbreaking tale of lost ideals, human devotion, and hard-won redemption,” Dust Child is set both during the Việt Nam War and in present-day Việt Nam. Dust Child tells an unforgettable story of how those who inherited tragedy can redefine their destinies through love, hard-earned wisdom, compassion, courage, and joy.Quế Mai’s debut novel in English, The Mountains Sing, was an international bestseller, runner-up for the 2021 Dayton Literary Peace Prize, winner of the 2020 Book Browse Best Debut Award, the 2021 International Book Awards, the 2021 PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award, and the 2020 Lannan Literary Award Fellowship for Fiction.;Co-presented with Skylight Books.


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Finding the Words

"I wrote this book in the hopes of making grief less frightening, mysterious, and lonely for those of us who suddenly find ourselves on this difficult journey."—Colin Campbell When film and theater writer/director Colin Campbell’s two teenage children were killed by a drunk driver, Campbell was thrown headlong into a grief so deep he felt he might lose his mind. He found much of the common wisdom about coping with loss—including the ideas that grieving is a private and mysterious process and that the pain is so great that "there are no words"—to be unhelpful. Drawing on what he learned from his own journey, Campbell offers an alternative path for processing pain that is active and vocal and truly honors loved ones lost. Finding the Words gives readers practical advice on how to survive in the aftermath of loss, teaching how to actively reach out to their community, perform mourning rituals, and find ways to express their grief, so they can live more fully while also holding their loved ones close.


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A Guest at the Feast

Celebrated Irish writer Colm Tóibín (Brooklyn, The Master) returns with a new book of scintillating essays, A Guest at the Feast. This collection blends both the personal with the provocative giving us an intimate look at Tóibín’s experiences and his growing understanding of Catholicism. Again we are amazed by his ability to move with such grace between the interior life of his subjects to the conditions of the world around them. Tóibín will be discussing this collection and more with his good friend and fellow writer, Rachel Kushner (The Flamethrowers, The Mars Room).


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How P-22 United Our City: Love Letters to LA’s Favorite Cat

This program features personal stories by various individuals who made a connection with P-22 and understand the immediate need for wildlife protection, along with guests who answered an open mic call to share their knowledge and admiration for P-22. The evening features California Regional Executive Director for the National Wildlife Federation’s Beth Pratt, writer Martha Groves, author Sherry Mangel-Ferber, LA Times reporter Laura Nelson, Senior Manager of Community Science for Natural History Museum Miguel Ordeñana, Chumash and Tataviam elder Alan Salazar, and illustrator Alexander Vidal. The open mic welcomes (in order of appearance) playwright, actor, and musician Amy Raasch, LAPL librarian Tommy Bui, longtime ALOUD attendee Terrence Butcher, and Seed Program Manager of Theodore Payne Foundation Genevieve Arnold to share their remembrances.
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The Auntie Sewing Squad Guide to Mask Making, Radical Care, and Racial Justice

Performance artist, comedian, activist, and local elected official Kristina Wong began sewing masks three days into the COVID-19 shutdown and spreading the word through her social media. Due to the overwhelming response, she enlisted friends and strangers to form the Auntie Sewing Squad to provide PPE and other relief to people all over the country. The Auntie Sewing Squad Guide to Mask Making, Radical Care, and Racial Justice tells the stories of these primarily BIPOC folks who took up the call to fill in the gaps of the U.S. government responded by creating a model for mutual aid in the 21st century. Join Wong and the Aunties on the ALOUD stage as they share their stories ahead of the highly anticipated Los Angeles premiere of Wong’s Pulitzer Prize finalist solo play, Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord.