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Contemporary Conversations

Contemporary Conversations is a series of talks about cultural and current issues with journalists, authors and other relevant speakers. Sponsored by MCPL and Friends of the Library, Montgomery County.

Next Topic: A dialogue between Haitian-American writers Edwidge Danticat and Katia D. Ulysse

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Contemporary Conversations: writers Edwidge Danticat and Katia D. Ulysse

A dialogue between Haitian-American writers Edwidge Danticat and Katia D. Ulysse

September 12, 2020
7:00 PM
Virtual Event

Join a conversation between acclaimed Haitian-American literary writers Edwidge Danticat and Katia D. Ulysse regarding relevant issues like diasporic literature, the writing craft, the importance of people of color being represented in literature and the topic of immigration & deportation.

Award winner Edwige Danticat is the author of several books, including Breath, Eyes, Memory, Krik? Krak!, Claire of the Sea Light, as well as The Art of Death, a National Books Critics Circle finalist. She is also the editor of The Butterfly’s Way: Voices from the Haitian Dyaspora in the United StatesHaiti Noir, Haiti Noir 2. Danticathas written seven books for young adults and children, AnacaonaBehind the MountainsEight Days, The Last Mapou, Mama’s NightingaleUntwine, and My Mommy Medicine, as well as a travel narrative, After the Dance, and a collection of essays, Create Dangerously. Her memoir, Brother, I’m Dying, was a 2007 finalist for the National Book Award and a 2008 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography. Danticat is a 2009 MacArthur Fellow, a 2018 Ford Foundation Art of Change fellow, a 2018 winner of the Neudstadt International Prize, a 2019 winner of the Saint Louis Literary Award, a 2020 United States Artist Fellow and a 2020 winner of the Vilceck Prize. Her most recent book, Everything Inside: Stories, is a winner of the Bocas Fiction Prize, The Story Prize, and the National Books Critics Circle Fiction Prize. 

Katia D. Ulysse is a fiction writer, essayist, poet, songwriter, singer and teacher. Her short stories, essays, and pushcart-nominated poetry have appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals, including The Caribbean Writer,Rumpus, The Hong Kong Review,Haiti Noir,Us Against Alzheimer's, Peregrine, and others. She received a Master of Arts from Notre Dame of Maryland University. She is an educator and advocate of immigrant families in the Baltimore area and served as Goucher College's Writer's in Residence. Ulysse's critically-acclaimed collection of short stories, Drifting, portrays the real-life issues that plague immigrant families in the United States. Her novel, Mouths Don’t Speak, has at its center the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010. " Edwidge Danticat wrote: "“Drifting is a remarkable debut by a phenomenal writer. Much like Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street, this sublime and powerful book allows us to experience the joys and tragedies of ordinary and extraordinary lives, in small neighborhoods and big cities, in the present and the past. Katia D. Ulysse’s talent soars higher and higher to expand both our hearts and our universe.”

This program is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Library, Montgomery County.

Contemporary Conversations: Ida Jones and Rebecca Roberts

Right To Vote

August 22, 2020
Virtual Event

A presentation by Ida Turner and Rebecca Roberts in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote in the USA.

Contemporary Conversations: Tope Folarin

Evan Glass

June 24, 2020
Virtual Event

Montgomery County Councilmember Evan Glass will facilitate a conversation about LGBTQ issues. Panel members include Claire Rudy Foster, Deacon Maccubin, Tyrese L. Coleman, and Beth Chandler.

Contemporary Conversations: Tope Folarin

Tope Folarin

February 22, 2020
Silver Spring Library

Nigerian-American author Tope Folarin will be talking about his experience as a writer. Mr. Folarin is the first writer based outside Africa to win the prestigious Caine Prize for African Writing in 2013.

Contemporary Conversations: Joshua Johnson

Joshua Johnson

November 2, 2019
Silver Spring Library

Journalist Joshua Johnson will provide discus hosting 1A, one of the most important daily conversations in America. Inspired by the First Amendment, 1A explores significant confronting Americans.

Contemporary Conversations: Bob Levey

Bob Levey

May 11, 2019
Chevy Chase Library

Prize-winning journalist, former Washington Post columnist and TV-radio commentator Bob Levey will talk about his experience as a 37-year career reporter covering all aspects of life in the nation’s capital.

Joseph Esposito

Joseph Esposito

October 21, 2018
Rockville Memorial Library

Writer, historian and educator Joseph A. Esposito will talk about his 2018 book Dinner in Camelot, which is centered on a White House banquet hosting numerous Nobel prize winners.

Contemporary Conversations: Dinaw Mengestu

Dinaw Mengestu

June 9, 2018
Silver Spring Library

Award-winning author and MacArthur Foundation Fellow, Dinaw Mengestu will speak about his inspiration for his work The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears and his experiences as an Ethiopian immigrant.

Contemporary Conversations: Nancy Pearl

Nancy Pearl

March 25, 2018
Rockville Memorial Library

A recipient in 2011 of the Librarian of the Year and the Lifetime Achievement Awards, Ms. Pearl will share the origins of her love of reading and libraries. Of course, she’ll suggest some great books to read.

Contemporary Conversations: Craig Dudnick

Craig Dudnick

October 14, 2017
Silver Spring Library

Ordinary People, Extraordinary Inspiration: Screening of Alice’s Ordinary People, a documentary by Craig Dudnick.


Contemporary Conversations: Hena Khan

Hena Khan

June 4, 2017
Silver Spring Library

Picture book and middle grade author Hena Khan will speak as part of the Contemporary Conversations series at MCPL.


Contemporary Conversations: Charles Lane

Charles Lane

May 7, 2017
Silver Spring Library

Washington Post editorial writer, Charles Lane, is weekly columnist for the Post and a contributor to the PostPartisan blog. Mr. Lane specializes in economic and fiscal policy.

Contemporary Conversations: David Ignatius

David Ignatius

April 1, 2017
Gaithersburg Library

David Ignatius, best-selling author and prize-winning columnist for the Washington Post, has been covering the Middle East and the CIA for more than twenty-five years.

Contemporary Conversations: Kojo Nnamdi

Kojo Nnamdi

March 4, 2017
Gaithersburg Library

Kojo Nnamdi, one of the most well-known interviewers and talk show hosts in the Washington, D.C. area will be the first speaker in the new Contemporary Conversations series @ MCPL.