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ALOUD is the Library Foundation of Los Angeles' award-winning literary series of live conversations, readings and performances at the historic Central Library and locations throughout Los Angeles.

ALOUD is the Library Foundation of Los Angeles' award-winning literary series of live conversations, readings and performances at the historic Central Library and locations throughout Los Angeles.
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Los Angeles, CA


ALOUD is the Library Foundation of Los Angeles' award-winning literary series of live conversations, readings and performances at the historic Central Library and locations throughout Los Angeles.




Misfits Unite

“What if, for once in history, a woman’s story could be untethered from what we need it to be in order to feel better about ourselves?” writes visionary author Lidia Yuknavitch in her latest work, The Book of Joan. In this provocatively reimagined Joan of Arc story set in the near future, the world is ravaged by war, violence, and greed, and it brings into question art, sex, gender, and what it means to be human. Amber Tamblyn, widely known for her work as a director and actress, including...


We the Corporations: How American Businesses Gained Their Civil Rights

In his new book, UCLA law professor Adam Winkler offers a revelatory portrait of how U.S. corporations have seized political power over time. He traces the 200-year effort of pro-business court decisions that give corporations the same rights as people and details the deep historical roots of recent landmark cases like Citizens United and Hobby Lobby. For a special lunchtime conversation, Winkler discusses with author Rick Wartzman of the Drucker Institute how businesses have transformed the...


The Line Becomes A River: Dispatches from the Border

For award-winning writer and former agent for the United States Border Patrol Francisco Cantú, the border is in his blood: his mother, a park ranger and daughter of a Mexican immigrant, raised him in the scrublands of the Southwest. His new book, The Line Becomes A River: Dispatches from the Border, is haunted by the stories he experienced both while working for the Border Patrol—where he hauled in the dead and delivered to detention those he found alive—and also as a civilian after he...


The Strange Order of Things: Life, Feeling, and the Making of Cultures

What moved humans to create cultures—intelligent systems including the arts, morality, science, government, and technology? The answer to this question has typically been the human faculty of language, but preeminent neuroscientist, professor, and director of USC’s Brain and Creativity Institute Antonio Damasio argues that feelings―of pain and suffering or of anticipated pleasure―were the prime engines that stirred human intellect in the cultural direction. In his newest book The Strange...


Exiled from Cairo: Humor as Dissent

Bassem Youssef, a satirist who rose to international fame in the middle of the Egyptian Revolution with his incendiary brand of comedy and his knack for unabashedly mocking dictators, has been dubbed “the Jon Stewart of the Arabic world.” In his new book, Revolution for Dummies: Laughing Through the Arab Spring, Youssef chronicles his transformation from a heart surgeon who filmed YouTube skits in the laundry room of his home to the host and creator of the popular Egyptian television show,...


An American Family: Being Muslim in the U.S. Military

Last fall’s presidential election brought a range of impassioned voices to the national stage, but one of the most captivating speakers rose above petty politics with a deeply personal and very different view of what it means to be American. You may recall the Muslim parent Khizr Khan from the DNC when he spoke about his son, a U.S. Army Captain who was killed while protecting his base camp in Iraq. In Khan’s inspiring new book, An American Family: A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice, he...


The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World

What lies at the heart of humanity’s ability―and drive―to create? New York Times bestselling author and neuroscientist David Eagleman teams up with internationally acclaimed composer and Associate Professor at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music Anthony Brandt in a wide-ranging exploration of human creativity. In their new book, The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World, the pair studies hundreds of examples of human creativity from landing on the moon to paintings...


Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America

Why has our society become so punitive? In recent years, critics have assailed the rise of mass incarceration, emphasizing its disproportionate impact on people of color. However, many African American leaders in the nation’s urban centers supported the war on crime that began in the 1970s. James Forman, Jr., a professor of law at Yale Law School and former D.C. public defender, wrestles with the complexities of race and the criminal justice system in his new book, Locking Up Our Own:...


The Revolution of Marina M.

L.A.’s own Janet Fitch, the mega-bestselling author of White Oleander and Paint It Black, returns to ALOUD with her newest work, a sweeping historical saga of the Russian Revolution. Beginning on New Year’s Eve in 1916 St. Petersburg, The Revolution of Marina M. follows the mesmerizing coming-of-age story of a young woman of privilege who aches to break free of the constraints of her genteel life, a life about to be violently upended by the vast forces of history. Joining Fitch to discuss...


Oaxaca’s Third Gender: Man, Woman, Muxe

BILINGUAL PROGRAM (SPANISH/ENGLISH) Anthropologists have traced the Meso-American acceptance of people of mixed gender back to pre-Columbian Mexico accounts of Aztec priests and Mayan gods who cross-dressed and were considered both male and female. In the shifting landscape of gender identity, what might we learn from the indigenous Zapotec people of Oaxaca’s isthmus region, who embrace a third gender—the muxe—within their communities? Zackary Drucker, transgender multimedia artist and...


La Lengua Sin Frontera (Language Without Borders): Three Indigenous Poets

BILINGUAL PROGRAM (SPANISH/ENGLISH) Join us for an evening celebrating indigenous poetry from the United States and Mexico with three major poets—Natalie Diaz (member of the Mojave and Pima Indian tribes, winner of the Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, language activist and educator), Layli Long Soldier (an Oglala Lakota poet, writer, and artist whose debut poetry collection WHEREAS is short-listed for the National Book Award), and Natalia Toledo (a Mexican poet and translator...


Threat of Extinction: Language Activism and Preservation

The essence of who we are is wrapped up in our language. What human knowledge is lost when a language goes extinct? Why should we care? Join ALOUD for a freewheeling conversation among language activists working to reclaim indigenous languages in California and Mexico. For the first time together on stage, this unique group of participants includes: master linguist and language preservationist Leanne Hinton; Native California language activist Vincent Medina and Virginia Carmelo; Odilia...


An American Genocide: California Indians, Colonization, and Cultural Revival

There’s one major aspect of the popular Gold Rush lore that few Californians today know about: during that period, California’s Indian population plunged from perhaps 150,000 to 30,000, much of the decline from state-sponsored slaughter. Addressing the aftermath of colonization and historical trauma, a leading scholar explores the miraculous legacy of California Indians, including their extensive contributions to our culture today. Join us for a conversation with UCLA historian Benjamin...


The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve: From Fiction to Faith

Stephen Greenblatt—the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award–winning author of The Swerve and Will in the World—investigates the life of one of humankind’s greatest stories. His newest book, The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve, explores the enduring narrative of humanity’s first parents. Tracking the tale into the deep past, Greenblatt uncovers the tremendous theological, artistic, and cultural investment over centuries that made these fictional figures so profoundly resonant in the Jewish,...


American Inferno: How My Cousin Became a South Central Statistic

In Danielle Allen’s elegiac family memoir, Cuz: On the Life and Times of Michael A., she tries to make sense of a young African American man’s tragic coming-of-age in Los Angeles. Allen, a Harvard professor and author of Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality, became the “cousin-on-duty” when her younger cousin Michael was released from prison. Arrested at fifteen, tried as an adult—three years after his release, Michael was shot and killed....


Rebellion! Public Art and Political Dissent: Oaxaca and L.A.

With the likes of Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, Mexico has a long tradition of politically engaged public art which has often depicted—with varying degrees of accuracy—the country’s indigenous population. Two gifted young artists from the collective Tlacolulokos have been commissioned to create a new artwork in the Central Library’s Rotunda in juxtaposition to the 1933 historic Cornwell murals. They will discuss their new work as well as their street-level actions in their...


The Challenges of American Immigration

Ali Noorani, the executive director of the National Immigration Forum in Washington, D.C., an advocacy organization promoting the value of immigrants and immigration, sheds new light on our nation’s brewing immigration debate in his timely book, There Goes the Neighborhood: How Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Challenge of American Immigration. Although U.S. politics are more polarizing than ever, Noorani argues that our issues of immigration are more about culture and values...


Resist, Disrupt, Transgress: Four Poets

Join us for an electrifying evening of poetry as four bold writers from diverse backgrounds come together on the stage to explore their common experiences of loss through time and history. Navigating losses of home, of life, and of identity—from a family displaced by war to an examination of videos capturing police killing civilians—these local poets will read from their uncompromising work that perseveres despite loss by searching for ways to rise up and recover.


Missing Persons: Two Novelists

An award-winning writer of short stories, children’s books, and literary novels, Maile Meloy’s new novel Do Not Become Alarmed is a masterfully executed emotional thriller about what happens when two American families go on a tropical vacation and the children go missing. New York Times bestselling author Marisa Silver’s latest novel, Little Nothing, follows an electrifying story of a girl, scorned for her physical deformity, whose passion and salvation lie in her otherworldly ability to...


An Evening with Arundhati Roy

Twenty years after her Booker Prize-winning novel The God of Small Things, internationally celebrated author Arundhati Roy returns to fiction with a dazzling new novel. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness journeys across the Indian subcontinent—from the cramped neighborhoods of Old Delhi and the roads of the new city to the mountains and valleys of Kashmir and beyond, where war is peace and peace is war. Braiding together a cast of characters who have been broken by the world they live in and...


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