Mayor Cooper Introduces Nashville Reads 2021
The Works of Colson Whitehead
A New Spin to Citywide Reading for 2021
This year, instead of a single title, we're immersing ourselves in Colson Whitehead's body of work. The two-time Pulitzer Prize winner authored The Underground Railroad, The Nickel Boys, and this fall's Harlem Shuffle, among others.
Literary Award Public Lecture
Colson Whitehead is our 2021 Literary Award recipient. Don't miss a chance to see him in person! This event is free of charge. Please register to reserve your seat.
November 13, 10:00 AM
Martin Luther King Jr. High School
613 17 Ave N
Nashville, TN 37023
Ways to Join In
Stay tuned for upcoming discussions, crafts, and more centered around Colson Whitehead's books!
Nashville Reads Writing Contest
Calling all high school juniors and seniors! The Nashville Public Library would like to invite you to participate in a writing contest that could earn you a $300 Amazon gift card, an exclusive opportunity to meet Colson Whitehead, and a signed copy of his latest book release Harlem Shuffle!
Respond to any of the following prompts in the form of an essay, poem, or song lyrics (no more than 1500 words) and submit your entry by October 8 for a chance to win!
From The Underground Railroad:
- “The world may be mean, but people don't have to be, not if they refuse.”
- “Cora didn't know what optimistic meant. She asked the other girls that night if they were familiar with the word. None of them had heard it before. She decided that it meant trying.”
- “Sometimes a useful delusion is better than a useless truth.”
From Nickel Boys:
- “You can change the law but you can’t change people and how they treat each other.”
- “Violence is the only lever big enough to move the world.”
- “We must believe in our souls that we are somebody, that we are significant, that we are worthful, and we must walk the streets of life every day with this sense of dignity and this sense of somebody-ness.”
Submit your entry as a PDF or Word Document here and don’t forget to include your:
- Full Name
- School Name (or state that you’re homeschooled)
- Grade Level
Each winner will be recognized at the Nashville Public Library Foundation’s Public Lecture on November 13 featuring Colson Whitehead and will receive a signed copy of his latest book, Harlem Shuffle. Each winner will also be recognized on the NPLF and Nashville Reads websites, and the Grand Prize winners will receive an exclusive invitation to a VIP breakfast with Whitehead the morning of the Public Lecture.
Additional prizes include:
- Grand Prize Junior and Senior Entries: Each winner will receive a $300 Amazon gift card, an invitation and reserved seats for them and their guests at the Public Lecture on November 13, an invitation to a VIP breakfast with Colson Whitehead* the morning of the Public Lecture, and the opportunity to read audience questions to Colson Whitehead during the Public Lecture.
- First Runner Up Junior and Senior Entries: Each winner will receive a $200 Amazon gift card and an invitation and reserved seats for themselves and their guests at the Public Lecture on November 13.
- Second Runner Up Junior and Senior Entries: Each winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card and an invitation and reserved seats for them and their guests at the Public Lecture on November 13.
Special thank you to the Fisk University W.E.B. Du Bois Honors Program students for serving as our contest judges.
Note: All winners participating in the Public Lecture or VIP Breakfast with Colson Whitehead will be required to wear a mask and show proof of vaccination or a 72-hour negative COVID test.