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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.




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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.

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.


An Evening With George Saunders

Called the "best short-story writer in English," (Time) George Saunders is back with a masterful collection that explores ideas of power, ethics, and justice and cuts to the very heart of what it means to live in community with our fellow humans. With his trademark prose, Saunders continues to challenge and surprise—here is a collection of prismatic, resonant stories that encompass joy and despair, oppression and revolution, bizarre fantasy, and brutal reality. Join Saunders for an ALOUD program discussing these nine subversive, profound, and essential stories that coalesce into a case for viewing the world with the same generosity and clear-eyed attention Saunders does, even in the most absurd of circumstances. He will be joined in conversation by actor, comedian, and close friend Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation, A League of Their Own).


Something in Common

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy and renowned author and social scientist Dr. Robert D. Putnam join ALOUD for a wide-ranging conversation about the past and future of the community in America. In this exclusive conversation, Dr. Murthy and Dr. Putnam will discuss how we can begin to address some of the biggest challenges facing Americans today regarding connection, informed by thorough historical analysis and a wide-ranging listening tour across countless communities nationwide. This program is presented in association with the special exhibition, Something in Common, currently on view at Los Angeles Central Library, and further explores the importance of human connection and social capital for the health of our democracy, our communities, and ourselves.


Creators in Residence Showcase

This event marks the culmination of the inaugural Los Angeles Public Library Creators in Residence, highlighting new original work by photographer Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin and visual artist River Garza. Rooted in the Black community and Indigenous Tongva community respectively, Boyd-Bouldin and Garza have produced thoughtful, reflective, gorgeous works in response to their explorations of the Los Angeles Public Library system over the past year. In this conversation, the two artists will discuss their approach to making art, how they were inspired by the library's mission and role in L.A.’s diverse neighborhoods, and ways of seeing the city we call home. Following the conversation, experience hands-on activities for all ages, such as printmaking, in the outdoor courtyards. This program also coincides with the showcase of the artists’ photos, mixed media paintings, and writings in an exhibition in the First Floor Galleries. In partnership with the Los Angeles Public Library.

An Evening with Cody Keenan

Join Cody Keenan, President Obama’s chief speechwriter, and Jon Favreau, co-host of Pod Save America and founder of Crooked Media, to discuss Keenan’s new book Grace: President Obama and Ten Days in the Battle for America. Through the behind-the-scenes moments, from Obama’s suggestion that Keenan pour a drink, listen to some Miles Davis, and "find the silences" to the president’s late-night writing sessions in the First Family’s Residence, Keenan takes us inside the craft of speechwriting at the highest level for the most demanding of bosses, the relentlessly poetic and perfectionist Barack Obama.

Dramatizing the Black Experience

In the wake of the pandemic, the George Floyd protests, and the country’s ongoing efforts to reconcile its racist past and address ongoing racial injustice, Black playwrights have pushed the boundaries of style and form, exploring absurdism, lyricism, and other genre-bending experiments to try to capture the strange blend of joy, fear, pain, and endurance that is being Black in America in 2022. Join us for a conversation between some of the boldest, most exciting young Black playwrights working today, discussing the craft and business of theatre, the state of Black thought, and how to capture a world that seems constantly in flux.

Una noche con Yesika Salgado / An Evening With Yesika Salgado

La emergente superestrella literaria y activista de la positividad corporal se está ganando al mundo por su forma poco convencional de interpretar el amor y el cuerpo. Seguida por un dedicado club de fans en Instagram llamado Mango Mafia, Salgado es una poeta salvadoreña nacida en Los Ángeles y criada en Silver Lake y cuyos libros de poesía, Corazón y Tesoro, hablan de sus relaciones tumultuosas con la familia, su opinión sobre cómo su existencia es vista en un cuerpo gordo, y la realidad del amor y desamor que ella ha experimentado. Siempre tomando en cuenta su don en la escritura, ahora es conocida internacionalmente por su poesía y su activismo de positividad corporal. Acompáñanos para esta conversación en ALOUD donde Salgado y la activista y educadora Gloria Lucas discutirán la interseccionalidad de la positividad corporal y la feminidad como latinas que viven en Los Ángeles y que ofrecen apoyo implacable a las comunidades que comparten. Emerging literary superstar and body positivity activist Yesika Salgado is taking the world by storm with her unconventional take on love and the body. Followed by a devoted fanbase on Instagram called the Mango Mafia, Salgado is a Los Angeles-born Salvadorian poet who was raised in Silver Lake and whose books of poetry, Corazón and Tesoro, speak to her tumultuous relationships with family, her take on how her existence is seen in a fat body and the reality of love and heartbreak that she has experienced. Always having insight into her writing gift, she is now internationally known for her poetry and her body positivity activism. Join us for this conversation at ALOUD as Salgado and feminist activist and educator Gloria Lucas discuss the intersectionality of body positivity and womanhood as L.A.-based Latinas who have unrelenting support for their shared communities.

Tracy Flick Can’t Win: A Novel

Fans of best-selling author Tom Perrotta’s Election will remember the signature character Tracy Flick—Reese Witherspoon’s character from the classic movie adaptation. She is back, and, once again, the iconic protagonist is determined to take high school politics by storm. In classic Perrotta style, his new book Tracy Flick Can’t Win is a sharp, darkly comic, and pitch-perfect reflection on our current moment. Flick fans and newcomers alike will love this compelling novel chronicling the second act of one of the most memorable characters of our time. For this ALOUD program, Tom Perrotta and film producer Albert Berger, who has produced many films and television series based on Perrotta’s novels, including Election, Little Children, and The Leftovers for HBO, will talk about the depth of Perrotta’s characters and why they translate so well from the page to the screen.

Cult Classic: A Novel

Described as “Hilariously insightful and delightfully suspenseful,” Cult Classic, by acclaimed author Sloane Crosley, takes the reader on a journey of past love, memory, and through the philosophy of romance. One night in New York City’s Chinatown, a woman is at a work reunion dinner with former colleagues when she excuses herself to buy a pack of cigarettes. On her way back, she runs into a former boyfriend. And then another… And another. Nothing is quite what it seems as the city becomes awash with ghosts of heartbreak. Is it possible to have a happy ending in an age when the past is ever at your fingertips and sanity is for sale? Join Sloane Crosley and famed actress and director Judy Greer on the ALOUD stage as they discuss Crosley’s second novel and her cunning way of spinning a wry literary fantasy that is equal parts page-turner and poignant portrayal of alienation.

Let the Record Show: A Conversation With Sarah Schulman

In conjunction with the orchestra’s performance of John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1, a memorial to those he lost to AIDS at the height of the epidemic, the LA Phil welcomes Sarah Schulman, author of Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993. Twenty years in the making, Schulman's Let the Record Show is the most comprehensive political history ever assembled of ACT UP and American AIDS activism. In just six years, ACT UP, New York, a broad and unlikely coalition of activists from all races, genders, sexualities, and backgrounds, changed the world. Armed with rancor, desperation, intelligence, and creativity, it took on the AIDS crisis with an indefatigable, ingenious, and multifaceted attack on the corporations, institutions, governments, and individuals who stood in the way of AIDS treatment for all. Join Schulman, one of the most revered queer writers and thinkers of her generation, for a combined reading and conversation about how a group of desperate outcasts changed America forever, and in the process created a livable future for generations of people across the world.

The Candy House: A Novel

From the daring Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist Jennifer Egan, this program will enter the world of The Candy House, her "sibling novel" to A Visit from the Goon Squad. In spellbinding interlocking narratives, Egan spins out the consequences of "Own Your Unconscious," a fictional foray into the idea of a technology that allows us access to every memory we’ve ever had, and to share these memories in exchange for access to the memories of others. Through the lives of multiple characters whose paths intersect over several decades, this intellectually dazzling story is also extraordinarily moving, a testament to the tenacity and transcendence of human longing for real connection, love, family, privacy and redemption. Egan introduces these characters in an astonishing array of narrative styles—from omniscient to first person plural to a duet of voices, an epistolary chapter and a chapter of tweets. If Goon Squad was organized like a concept album, The Candy House incorporates Electronic Dance Music’s more disjunctive approach. Join us as the two extraordinary literary voices of Jennifer Egan and Danzy Senna walk us through The Candy House and its bold, brilliant imagining of a world that is moments away.

How The Handmaid’s Tale Changed the Conversation About Women

Since Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale was adopted for television by creator Bruce Miller, the conversation about women in society has shifted. In some ways, women have made great strides to break that glass ceiling, and in other ways, the progress for American women has taken a retroactive turn that makes this show all the more relevant and telling of what the future could hold. This is juxtaposed against shows like VEEP, Shrill, and Killing Eve, that show how far a woman can go and the breakthrough women are making in leadership, from the boardroom to the White House. The fight for women's rights, from the wage gap to body autonomy and access to healthcare are currently facing unexpected highs and lows. Join ALOUD for a conversation with executive producer and creator of The Handmaid’s Tale Bruce Miller and television critic of the Los Angeles Times’ Lorraine Ali on the role women have politically, culturally, and economically, and how that growth could be easily threatened.