Ocean Vuong: On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous (with Jacqueline Woodson)
Wednesday June 5: 7:00PM – 8:00PM
Doors open 30 minutes before the start of the event.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard.
With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds, and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. The question of how to survive, and how to make of it a kind of joy, powers the most important debut novel of many years.
Join us in the Rare Book Room as Ocean sits down with multi-award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson to discuss his shattering new book.
Ocean Vuong is the author of the critically acclaimed poetry collection Night Sky with Exit Wounds, winner of the Whiting Award and the T.S. Eliot Prize. His writings have also been featured in The Atlantic, Harper's, The Nation, New Republic, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he currently lives in Northampton, Massachusetts. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is his first novel. (Photo: Tom Hines)
Jacqueline Woodson is the bestselling author of more than two dozen award-winning books including the 2016 New York Times-bestselling National Book Award finalist for adult fiction, Another Brooklyn. Her forthcoming adult novel, Red at the Bone, will publish in September. Among her many accolades, Woodson is a four-time National Book Award finalist, a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a two-time NAACP Image Award Winner, and a two-time Coretta Scott King Award Winner. Her New York Times-bestselling memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming, received the National Book Award in 2014. Woodson is also the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and recipient of the 2018 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award and the 2018 Children's Literature Legacy Award. In 2015, she was named the Young People's Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. She lives with her family in New York. (Photo: Beowulf Sheehan)