Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah with Tochi Onyebuchi: Chain-Gang All-Stars

Wed. May 31, 2023 6:30pm - 7:30pm EDT
  • Reserve
  • Details
Event Stats
Event Description

The bestselling author discusses his debut novel, an “alarmingly pertinent dystopian” vision of violence and criminal justice. 

In-person registration for this event has sold out. A limited number of standby tickets will be available on the night of the event.

Book Cover of Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-BrenyahIn Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah's new novel, Loretta Thurwar and Hamara “Hurricane Staxxx” Stacker are the stars of Chain-Gang All-Stars, the cornerstone of CAPE, or Criminal Action Penal Entertainment, a highly popular and controversial profit-raising program in America’s increasingly dominant private prison industry. Gladiators and prisoners compete in death-matches for packed arenas, vying for the ultimate prize: their freedom. Thurwar and Staxxx, both teammates and lovers, are the fan favorites. In just a few matches, Thurwar will be free—but before she goes, can she help her fellow All-Stars preserve their humanity and defy these games? And what will CAPE’s corporate overlords do to stop her?

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah speaks with science-fiction writer Tochi Onyebuchi about his unflinching look at the American prison system’s unholy alliance of systemic racism, unchecked capitalism, and mass incarceration.

To join the event in-person | Doors will open 30 minutes before the program begins. For free events, we generally overbook to ensure a full house. Priority will be given to those who have registered in advance, but registration does not guarantee admission. All registered seats are released shortly before start time, and seats may become available at that time. A standby line will form 30 minutes before the program.

To join the livestream | A livestream of this event will be available on the NYPL event page. To receive an email reminder shortly in advance of the event, please be sure to register! If you encounter any issues, please join us on NYPL's YouTube channel.


Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah headshotNana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah is the New York Times-bestselling author of Friday Black. His work has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Esquire, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. He was a National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” honoree, the winner of the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and the Saroyan Prize, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Award for Best First Book, along with many other honors. Raised in Spring Valley, New York, he now lives in the Bronx.

Tochi Onyebuchi headshot © Christina OrlandoTochi Onyebuchi is the author of Goliath and Riot Baby, a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, and NAACP Image Awards and winner of the New England Book Award for Fiction and the World Fantasy Award. His short fiction has appeared in The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy, and elsewhere. His non-fiction has appeared in The New York Times and NPR, among other places. He has earned degrees from Yale University, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Columbia Law School, and the Paris Institute of Political Studies.


Don't have a New York Public Library card? Get one here!

If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or suspect you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, please stay home.


In-Person | Assistive listening devices and/or hearing loops are available at the venue. You can request a free ASL (American Sign Language) interpretation or CART (Communication Access Real-Time Translation) captioning service by emailing your request at least two weeks in advance of the event: email or use this Gmail template. This venue is fully accessible to wheelchairs. A visual navigation guide is available here.

Livestream | Captions and a transcript will be provided. Media used over the course of the conversation will be accompanied by alt text and/or audio description. You can request a free ASL (American Sign Language) interpretation by emailing your request at least two weeks in advance of the event: email or use this Gmail template.


Please submit all press inquiries to Sara Beth Joren at least 48 hours before the event: email or use this Gmail template.

For all other questions and inquiries, please email or use this Gmail template.

The New York Public Library's free services and resources are made possible thanks to the support of the Friends of the Library. Join this group of Library lovers and take advantage of special membership benefits, like invitations to members-only virtual events, discounts at the Library Shop, and more. Join now.

LIVE from NYPL is made possible by the continuing generosity of Celeste Bartos, Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos and Adam Bartos, the Margaret and Herman Sokol Public Education Endowment Fund, and the support of Library patrons and friends.

This program is made possible by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).

Courtesy Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Tochi Onyebuchi © Christina Orlando

Reserve Tickets
Sorry, this event has already taken place.
Venue Details
Map of Venue Location.
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL), 7th Floor Event Center 455 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10016