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Evenings with Authors: Hanif Abdurraqib

November 1, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm EDT


Evenings with Authors: Hanif Abdurraqib


You will have the opportunity to ask the speaker questions after the event, purchase books, and get your books signed.


Books: They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us (2017; re-release November 2022); A Little Devil in America (2021)

Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, cultural critic, MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellow, and award-winning New York Times bestselling author from Columbus, Ohio. Hanif has received the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, the Gordon Burn Prize, and the Lenore Marshall Prize; he has twice been a contender for the National Book Award; and he has been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Kirkus Prize, and the The PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay.

Hanif’s poetry has been published in Muzzle, Vinyl, PEN American, and various other journals. His essays and music criticism have been published in The FADER, Pitchfork, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. Hanif’s first collection of essays, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was released in winter 2017 by Two Dollar Radio and was named a book of the year by Buzzfeed, Esquire, NPR, Oprah Magazine, Paste, CBC, The Los Angeles Review, Pitchfork, and The Chicago Tribune, among others. It will be re-released on November 15, 2022. In 2021, he released A Little Devil In America, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the The PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. The book won the 2022 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction and the Gordon Burn Prize. Hanif is a graduate of Beechcroft High School in Columbus, Ohio.

About They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us:

In an age of confusion, fear, and loss, Hanif Abdurraqib’s is a voice that matters. Whether he’s attending a Bruce Springsteen concert the day after visiting Michael Brown’s grave, or discussing public displays of affection at a Carly Rae Jepsen show, he writes with a poignancy and magnetism that resonates profoundly. In the wake of the nightclub attacks in Paris, Hanif recalls how he sought refuge as a teenager in music, at shows, and wonders whether the next generation of young Muslims will not be afforded that opportunity now. While discussing the everyday threat to the lives of Black Americans, Abdurraqib recounts the first time he was ordered to the ground by police officers: for attempting to enter his own car.

In essays that have been published by The New York Times, MTV, and Pitchfork, among others—along with original, previously unreleased essays—Abdurraqib uses music and culture as a lens through which to view our world, so that we might better understand ourselves, and in so doing proves himself a bellwether for our times.

About A Little Devil in America:

“I was a devil in other countries, and I was a little devil in America, too.” Inspired by these few words, spoken by Josephine Baker at the 1963 March on Washington, MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellow and bestselling author Hanif Abdurraqib has written a profound and lasting reflection on how Black performance is inextricably woven into the fabric of American culture. Each moment in every performance he examines—whether it’s the twenty-seven seconds in “Gimme Shelter” in which Merry Clayton wails the words “rape, murder,” a schoolyard fistfight, a dance marathon, or the instant in a game of spades right after the cards are dealt—has layers of resonance in Black and white cultures, the politics of American empire, and Hanif’s own personal history of love, grief, and performance.

Touching on Michael Jackson, Patti LaBelle, Billy Dee Williams, the Wu-Tan Clan, Dave Chappelle, and more, Hanif writes prose brimming with jubilation and pain. With care and generosity, he explains the poignancy of performances big and small, each one feeling intensely familiar and vital, both timeless and desperately urgent. Filled with sharp insight, humor, and heart, A Little Devil in America exalts the Black performance that unfolds in specific moments in time and space—from midcentury Paris to the moon, and back down again to a cramped living room in Columbus, Ohio.


November 1, 2022
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm EDT
Event Category:


Columbus Museum of Art
480 E Broad St
Columbus, OH 43215 United States
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Thurber House
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