Adult Summer Reading

Welcome to the 2024 Adult Summer Reading Big Book Challenge! This summer, we’re taking on a trilogy of novels by acclaimed Nigerian novelist and poet Chinua Achebe. The African Trilogy comprises Things Fall Apart, Arrow of God, and No Longer at Ease, three books that explore the effects of Western colonization on traditional African society over the course of three generations in the same Igbo village. This summer, we’ll explore this groundbreaking trilogy in monthly discussions, supplemented by a fantastic line-up of lectures and cultural programming. All events will take place in the UCPL auditorium.

To help us get an idea for how many books and materials we’ll need, please fill out this (very) brief RSVP.

Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t add our thanks to the Library Services and Technology Act, which is appropriated by Congress and administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Missouri Secretary of State, which makes this program possible. We can’t wait to read with you!

Big Book Challenge Kickoff Event with Keynote Presentation by Joya Uraizee

Wednesday, May 29 book pickup at 6:30 p.m.; keynote presentation at 7 p.m.

Pick up your books and meet your fellow readers! Then stick around for a keynote presentation from Dr. Joya Uraizee.

Dr. Uraizee is Professor of English at Saint Louis University, where she teaches African and postcolonial literature and film. She is the author of three books: This is No Place for a Woman: Nadine Gordimer, Nayantara Sahgal, Buchi Emecheta and the Politics of Gender (2000), In the Jaws of the Leviathan: Genocide Fiction and Film (2010), and Writing That Breaks Stones: African Child Soldier Narratives (2020). She is currently working on a manuscript on African child refugee narratives. She has also published several articles on same sex desire in east African cinema, memory in African cinema, migrant African children, and religious fanaticism in Bollywood movies.

Dr. Uraizee is currently president of the African Literature Association, an international organization that promotes African literature, writers, and artists to a world-wide audience.

Drums & Voices of Nigeria

Wednesday, June 12 at 6:30 p.m.

Join us for a family-friendly evening exploring the songs and folktales of West Africa, led by Emmy Award-winning storyteller Bobby Norfolk and drummer Kenya Ajanaku. Discover Nigerian culture through this exciting program of storytelling, unique musical instruments, traditional clothing, and audience participation.

Book Discussion: Things Fall Apart

Wednesday, June 26 at 7 p.m.

Join us for the first discussion in our Adult Summer Reading Program! Dr. Joya Uraizee will lead us in discussing Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.

Spirit of Angela West African Dance & Drums

Wednesday, July 17 at 6:30 p.m.

Join us for a lively family-friendly evening of West African dance and music by acclaimed local dance troupe Spirit of Angela.

Book Discussion: Arrow of God

Wednesday, July 24 at 7 p.m.

Join us for this second discussion in our Adult Summer Reading Program! St. Louis University doctoral student Ahlam Jaber will lead this discussion of Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God.

Discover African Jewelry

Wednesday, Aug. 7 at 6:30 p.m.

Join us for a lecture about African jewelry by jewelry maker Kenya Ajanaku. During this program, Kenya will demonstrate how the jewelry is made and provide information about the meanings and uses of different materials used in African jewelry. This program is open to all, but intended for an adult audience.

Book Discussion: No Longer at Ease

Wednesday, Aug. 28 at 7 p.m.

Join us for the final discussion in our Adult Summer Reading Program! St. Louis University doctoral student Zahin Zaima will lead us in a discussion of Chinua Achebe’s No Longer at Ease.