LIVE from NYPL, NYPL125, Online: LIVE from NYPL: N.K. Jemisin with W. Kamau Bell

Date and Time
June 16, 2020
Event Details

The Hugo Award–winning author is joined by the sociopolitical comedian to discuss, among other things, sci-fi, Afrofuturism, and Jemisin’s new book.

The City We BecameThe City We Became, the latest novel by best-selling speculative fiction writer N.K. Jemisin, imagines a New York City whose future is placed in the balance by an ancient evil that threatens to capitalize on its divisions in order to destroy it. Jemisin is the only writer to ever win the Hugo Award, sci-fi’s highest honor, three times in a row, for each of the books in her ground-breaking Broken Earth trilogy. She will be joined by comedian (and her cousin!) W. Kamau Bell to talk about her work and what all of our cities might become. 

Jemisin's 2015 book, The Fifth Season,  appears on The New York Public Library’s “125 Books We Love” list in commemoration of its 125th anniversary. Borrow this book (and more than 300,000 others) for free through the Library’s e-reader app SimplyE, available for iOS and Android devices.

N. K. Jemisin is the first author in history to win three consecutive Best Novel Hugo Awards, all for her Broken Earth trilogy. Her work has also won the Nebula, Locus, and Goodreads Choice Awards. She has been a reviewer for The New York Times Book Review and an instructor for the Clarion and Clarion West writing workshops.

W. Kamau Bell is the host and executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning CNN docu-series United Shades of America. He is the author of The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6' 4", African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama's Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian. His most recent comedy special, Private School Negro, is on Netflix.

If you have a NYPL library card—or live in New York state and want to apply for one now—you can borrow The City We Became, The Fifth Season, and  The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell for free with our e-reader app SimplyE, available for iOS and Android devices.

Readers everywhere who wish to purchase copies of The City We Became, The Fifth Season, and  The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell can do so at The New York Public Library Shop. All proceeds benefit The New York Public Library. Plus, receive a free commemorative 125th anniversary tote bag with your purchase!

Interested in the themes covered in this program? We suggest these titles for further reading:
A People's Future of the United States edited by Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams
You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe  by Charles Yu

This program will be streamed on Zoom and simulcast to YouTube. You must register with your email address in order to receive the link to participate. Please check your email shortly before the discussion to receive the link. Captions for this event will be provided.

Please send all press inquiries (photo, video, interviews, audio-recording, etc.) at least 24-hours before the day of the program to Sara Beth Joren at

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