Author Jacqueline Woodson to speak at free event Thursday in Lawrence

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Jacqueline Woodson, an award-winning author and MacArthur fellow, will speak at Liberty Hall on Thursday as the Lawrence Public Library’s 2023 Ross and Marianna Beach Author.

Woodson is a writer of books for adults, children and adolescents, according to a March news release from the library announcing her upcoming visit.


Woodson 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 New York 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, according to the release.

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. 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.

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

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Note: Post updated to add video at 7:54 p.m. Tuesday, April 18

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