Wandering in Strange Lands: Morgan Jerkins and Rion Amilcar Scott

Tue. Aug 25, 2020 8:00pm - 9:00pm EDT
All Ages
All Ages
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Morgan Jerkins and Rion Amilcar Scott on history, memory, fiction, and Jerkins’s new book, Wandering in Strange Lands

Wandering in Strange Lands book coverMorgan Jerkins, senior editor at ZORA, has been called a “prophet who deals with the past.” In her new book, Wandering in Strange Lands, Jerkins travels some of the routes that brought 6 million African Americans out of their homes in the South during the period between 1910 and 1970 that is known as the Great Migration. Her family are among those who ventured out in search of better lives, and among those who suffered enduring “ruptures in cultural memory” during the exodus. Jerkins sets out to recover some of what was lost in her own personal family memory and identity, while exploring similar experiences of loss and reclamation for African Americans across the country.

Instead of excavating history, Rion Amilcar Scott invents it. His two short-story collections, Insurrections and, most recently, The World Doesn’t Require You, populate his fictional town of Cross River, Maryland, a largely black settlement founded in 1807 after the only successful slave revolt in the United States. The World Doesn’t Require You is newly out in paperback on August 25th.

Morgan Jerkins and Rion Amilcar Scott will discuss Jerkins’s new book as well as their respective writing practices and approaches to history.

Morgan JerkinsMorgan Jerkins is the author of the New York Times bestseller, This Will Be My Undoing, and the Senior Editor at ZORA. A visiting professor at Columbia University, Jerkins's shortform work has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, ELLE, Esquire, and The Guardian, among many others. She is based in Harlem. Her first novel, Caul Baby, is forthcoming from Harper in 2021.

 Rion Amilcar Scott is the author of the story collection The World Doesn’t Require You (Norton/Liveright, August 2019), a finalist for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award. His debut story collection, Insurrections (University Press of Kentucky, 2016), was awarded the 2017 PEN/Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and the 2017 Hillsdale Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. His work has been published in The New Yorker, The Kenyon Review, Crab Orchard Review, and The Rumpus, among others.He has received fellowships from Bread Loaf Writing Conference, Kimbilio and the Colgate Writing Conference as well as a 2019 Maryland Individual Artist Award. Presently he teaches Creative Writing at the University of Maryland.

If you have a NYPL library card—or live in New York state and want to apply for one now—you can borrow Wandering in Strange Lands and The World Doesn't Require You for free with our e-reader app SimplyE, available for iOS and Android devices.

Readers everywhere who wish to purchase copies of Wandering in Strange Lands and The World Doesn't Require You can do so at The New York Public Library Shop. All proceeds benefit The New York Public Library. Plus, receive a free commemorative 125th anniversary tote bag with your purchase!

This program will be streamed on Zoom and simulcast to YouTube. You must register with your email address in order to receive the link to participate. Please check your email shortly before the discussion to receive the link. Captions for this event will be provided. 

Please send all press inquiries (photo, video, interviews, audio-recording, etc.) at least 24-hours before the day of the program to Sara Beth Joren at sarabethjoren@nypl.org.

For all other questions and inquiries, please contact publicprograms@nypl.org.

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