September 5, 2014 Biography of America's First Black Novelist Is Subject of Book Event
Author Ezra Greenspan to Discuss Life and Work of William Wells Brown
Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217
Public Contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221
Contact: Request ADA accommodations five business days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or email@example.com.
Author Ezra Greenspan will discuss and sign his new book “William Wells Brown: An African American Life” (Norton, 2014) on Friday, Sept. 12, at noon in the Mary Pickford Theater, located on the third floor of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. This Books & Beyond event, sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.
William Wells Brown (1814-1884) was born a slave and kept functionally illiterate until he was 19, when he escaped. He became an agent of the Underground Railroad, an antislavery activist and a self-taught writer and orator. Brown penned “Clotel” in 1853. The first novel by an African American, it is a fictionalized account of the fate of Thomas Jefferson’s black daughters. The novel was quite controversial in its day.
Greenspan’s work sets Brown’s life in the context of his times, creating a portrait of a writer who dared to live and explore the racial complexities of 19th-century America.
Greenspan is the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Chair in Humanities and professor of English at Southern Methodist University. He is also the editor of the anthology “William Wells Brown: ‘Clotel’ and Other Writings” (Library of America).
Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world. The Library holds more than 158 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site and in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its website at www.loc.gov.
The Library’s Center for the Book, established by Congress in 1977 to "stimulate public interest in books and reading," is a national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages through its affiliated state centers, collaborations with nonprofit reading-promotion partners and through the Young Readers Center and the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress. For more information, visit read.gov.