Author Jacqueline Woodson to speak in Lawrence as library’s 2023 Ross and Marianna Beach Author

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Jacqueline Woodson, an award-winning author and MacArthur fellow, will speak in Lawrence next month as the library’s 2023 Ross and Marianna Beach Author.

Woodson is a writer of books for adults, children and adolescents, according to a Tuesday news release from the Lawrence Public Library.


“She is best known for her National Book Award-Winning memoir ‘Brown Girl Dreaming,’ and her Newbery Honor-winning titles ‘After Tupac and D Foster,’ ‘Feathers,’ and ‘Show Way,'” according to the release.

“Her picture books ‘The Day You Begin’ and ‘The Year We Learned to Fly’ were NY Times Bestsellers. After serving as the Young People’s Poet Laureate from 2015-2017, she was named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress for 2018-19. She was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 2020. Later that same year, she was named a MacArthur Fellow.”

Woodson will be in conversation with Giselle Anatol, director of the J. Wayne & Elsie M. Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas and the interim director of KU’s Hall Center for the Humanities, according to the release. Anatol has published a number of articles and book chapters on writing for children by Black writers, including Langston Hughes, Virginia Hamilton, and Woodson, according to the release.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and the program will start at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 20 at Liberty Hall, 644 Massachusetts St. The event is free and open to the public, and no tickets are required.

The event will include an audience Q&A, followed by a book signing.

The Ross & Marianna Beach Author series “brings together readers, writers, townies, book clubs, hardcore fans, university faculty, and students for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet a contemporary virtuoso of the written word,” according to the release. “This annual program brings some of the greatest writers in the country to Lawrence. In 2010, the Ross & Marianna Beach Foundation gave the very first gift to launch the New Stories capital campaign for the library building project. In 2013, the foundation provided a second generous gift to create the Ross & Marianna Beach Author Series.”

“We are forever grateful to the Beach family for their legacy of support to fulfill Lawrence Public Library’s mission,” the release stated. “It’s a gift that goes on forever.”

Woodson’s visit will include a talk about her writing and career for some students in Lawrence Public Schools, according to the release.

“Jacqueline Woodson is one of my favorite authors,” Superintendent Anthony Lewis said in the release. “Her writing inspires and resonants with people of all ages. I’m so excited our scholars and community have an opportunity to see her!”

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