The Booksellers at Laurelwood will bring novelist and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. to the Story Booth space in Crosstown Arts this Thursday evening at 6 p.m. to discuss his new book, Grant Park (Agate).
Grant Park is the story of Malcolm Toussaint, a weary, disillusioned, and outraged journalist in Chicago who sneaks a column onto the front page of his newspaper colorfully detailing these feelings. He is subsequently fired and almost simultaneously kidnapped by a pair of inept and bumbling white supremacists. The present-day action takes place in 2008 as Barack Obama is about to be voted into office as the first African-American president of the United States. The white supremacists have designs beyond mere kidnapping that involve the celebration to take place in Chicago's Grant Park on the night of Election Day.
To give the action even more context, the story of a young Toussaint is told in flashback as he comes home from college on an administrative leave during the turbulent winter of 1968. Home is Memphis, and Toussaint's father, a garbage man, is in the thick of the sanitation strike and movement.
The story lines prove to be timeless as we continue to reel from recent events in Ferguson, Missouri; Charleston, South Carolina; and even Memphis' own Darrius Stewart case. From the book jacket: "Grant Park, a page-turning look at black and white relations in contemporary America, blends the poignant and the absurd in a powerful narrative that showcases Pitts' gift for telling emotionally wrenching stories."
Pitts is a twice-weekly columnist for the Miami Herald, and is the author of the novels Freeman and Before I Forget, the memoir Becoming Dad, and Forward From This Moment: Selected Columns, 1994-2009.
Story Booth is a space dedicated to helping young people develop their own voices through creative and expository writing and other free project-based art workshops. It is also the dedicated venue for all literary programming of Crosstown Arts and serves as a hub to foster community among writers in Memphis, and to make creative connections between readers and writers.
Leonard Pitts Jr. Thursday, Nov. 196 - 8 p.m. Story Booth 438 N. Cleveland Free