$25 – $10,000

Writers for Readers 2021: An Evening With Patrick Radden Keefe

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$25 – $10,000

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An evening featuring celebrated author Patrick Radden Keefe and the announcement of the inaugural winner of the Maya Angelou Book Award.

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Writers for Readers, annually one of Kansas City’s premier literary events, returns with a special lineup featuring celebrated author Patrick Radden Keefe and the announcement of the inaugural winner of the Maya Angelou Book Award.

Keefe, whose bestselling Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty pulls back the curtain on the ultra-rich family behind America’s deadly opioid epidemic, joins the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Whitney Terrell in discussing the book. Released earlier this year, it chronicles the rise and fall of the Sacklers, once known for their lavish donations to the arts and the sciences but now reviled – with their company Purdue Pharma – as the creators and all-too-successful marketers of the highly addictive narcotic OxyContin.

The Writers for Readers presentation is offered online for the second consecutive year.

Keefe is a decorated staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of three other books, including Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland. It earned the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and was selected as one of the 10 best books of 2019 by The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune and The Wall Street Journal. Keefe’s work also has been recognized with a Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Magazine Award for Feature Writing (in 2014) and the Orwell Prize for Political Writing (in 2019).

Terrell is an associate professor of English and director of the creative writing program at UMKC. He is the author of three award-winning novels including The Good Lieutenant, which was selected as a best book of 2016 by The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and Refinery 29. He is co-host of the Literary Hub podcast Fiction/Non/Fiction.

The evening also is highlighted by the introduction of the first Maya Angelou Book Award winner and remarks by Angelou’s son, Guy Bailey Johnson. The new literary award -- established by the Kansas City Public Library and the University of Missouri, UMKC, and Missouri State, Truman State, Southeast Missouri State, and Northwest Missouri State universities -- recognizes authors and notable new releases of American fiction and poetry focusing on social justice and inclusion. It comes with a $10,000 stipend.

The recipient will conduct a reading tour, in person or virtually, depending on health protocols, of Missouri colleges, universities, and libraries.

Proceeds from the Writers for Readers fundraising event go in part to support the award. They also benefit an ongoing partnership between the Kansas City Public Library and the University of Missouri-Kansas City's MFA Program in Creative Writing, enabling graduate students to teach writing classes at the Library. 

Tickets to the virtual presentation provide access to the exclusive livestream of the discussion and award presentation. Additional details will be sent to ticketholders prior to the event date.

Writers for Readers 2021 is co-presented by UMKC's MFA Program in Creative Writing and the Friends of the Kansas City Public Library and is co-chaired by Karen and Jack Holland.


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Eventbrite's fee is nonrefundable.

Organizer KC Public Library, UMKC, Friends of the Library

Organizer of Writers for Readers 2021: An Evening With Patrick Radden Keefe

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