Tuesday, February 28, 2017, from 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
The Underground Railroad tells the story of Cora, a 15-year-old slave on a Georgia plantation who escapes to the North via an actual underground railroad, not a metaphorical one. With each stopover and resettlement, Cora¿s life is imperiled, the violence and terror manifesting in myriad ways, the traumas accumulating and expanding. In her New York Times review of The Underground Railroad, the Pulitzer Prize-winning literary critic Michiko Kakutani writes, ¿The harrowing tale he (Whitehead) tells here is the back story to the injustices African-Americans and immigrants continue to suffer today, but the back story only in the sense, as Faulkner put it, that ¿the past is never dead. It¿s not even past¿¿ [H]e memorializes the yearning for freedom that spurs one generation after another to persevere in the search for justice ¿ despite threats and intimidation, despite reversals and efforts to turn back the clock. He has told a story essential to our understanding of the American past and the American present.¿
Colson Whitehead was named a recipient of this year¿s Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction for his powerful novel The Underground Railroad. Mr Whitehead is a 1991 graduate of Harvard University. His non-fiction, essays, and reviews have appeared in many publications, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, Granta, and Harper¿s. He has taught at several universities, including Princeton University, New York University, and Columbia University. Mr. Whitehead is a MacArthur Fellow, Guggenheim Fellow, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.