Friday, September 16, 2016

Colson Whitehead reads from newest novel in St. Louis

Whitehead speaks to audience at the St. Louis County Library before reading.

Wednesday evening, September 14, Colson Whitehead gave a reading at the St. Louis County Library. He read from his new novel The Underground Railroad, a powerful work that has been receiving extensive coverage and glowing praise. 

Nearly 600 people showed up for Whitehead's reading. No doubt, the designation of his book as an Oprah Winfrey book club selection contributed to the widespread attention he has gained, including the large turnout for his reading on Wednesday. The library had initially scheduled the reading for a smaller venue, but changed to the main branch of the library system as interest in Whitehead increased in the weeks following Winfrey's announcement that The Underground Railroad was a book club selection.

Whitehead autographing books after the reading

Whitehead charmed and entertained the audience with his deadpan humor. When he took to podium, he noted that he usually spends Wednesday evenings "weeping over my regrets," so reading for the St. Louis audience was a "nice change of pace."

He explained the process of coming up with the idea for The Underground Railroad; read from two different sections of the novel; and then took questions from the audience. 

Colson Whitehead

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