Writers at the Wrecking Bar Presents Valerie Babb in conversation with Tayari Jones - The Book of James

Writers at the Wrecking Bar Presents Valerie Babb in conversation with Tayari Jones - The Book of James

Wednesday, Dec 06, 2023 7:00 PM

The Marianna Room at the Wrecking Bar Brewpub
292 Moreland Avenue
Atlanta, Georgia 30307

"Valerie Babb has brilliantly explored the majesty of King James. She has laid out a powerful analysis of the ways that LeBron's unapologetic Blackness fuels his commitment to community, his confidence, his rooted sense of family, his refusal to accept inequality, his knowledge of the power of controlling the narrative, and his understanding of the responsibilities of celebrity and wealth. "The Book of James" is simply a triumph." --Carol Anderson, New York Times–bestselling author of author of "White Rage"

At this special edition of Writers at the Wrecking Bar, A Cappella Books welcomes Andrew Mellon Professor of Humanities at Emory University Valerie Babb in honor of her new book on the unique social, cultural, and political life of the incomparable LeBron James, "The Book of James." Babb will appear in conversation with Atlanta's Tayari Jones, National Book Award nominee and author of the New York Times bestseller, "An American Marriage."

Presented in partnership with Stuckey's.

About the Book

LeBron James is the hero in two very American tales: one, a success story the nation loves; the other, the latest installment in an ongoing chronicle of American antiblackness. He's the poor boy from a "broken" home who makes good. He's also the poor Black boy from a "broken" home who makes good, then at the apex of his career finds "n*****" spray-painted across the gate to his home.

James has lived in the public eye ever since high school when his extraordinary athletic skills subjected his every action, every statement, every fashion choice to intense public scrutiny that tells us less about James himself and more about a nation still wrestling with many social inequities. He uses his celebrity not to transcend Blackness, but to give it a place of cultural prominence, and the backlash he receives exposes the frictions between Blackness and a country not fully comfortable with its presence. As a result, James's story is a revelatory narrative of how much Blackness is loved, hated, misunderstood, and just plain cool in an America that has changed and yet not changed at all.

About the Author

Valerie Babb is Andrew Mellon Professor of Humanities at Emory University. She holds a joint appointment in the departments of African American Studies and English.

About the Conversation Partner

New York Times best-selling author Tayari Jones is the author of four novels, most recently "An American Marriage." Published in 2018, "An American Marriage" is an Oprah’s Book Club Selection and also appeared on Barack Obama’s summer reading list as well as his year-end roundup. The novel was awarded the Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly known as the Orange Prize), Aspen Words Prize and an NAACP Image Award. It has been published in two dozen countries.

Jones, a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow, has also been a recipient of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, United States Artist Fellowship, NEA Fellowship, and Radcliffe Institute Bunting Fellowship. Her third novel, "Silver Sparrow," was added to the NEA Big Read Library of classics in 2016.

Jones is a graduate of Spelman College, University of Iowa, and Arizona State University. She is an Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University and the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Creative Writing at Emory University.

About Writers at the Wrecking Bar

A Cappella Books presents Writers at the Wrecking Bar, a series of live author interview events showcasing some of the country's freshest voices in literary and contemporary fiction. Each program includes writers in conversation with an arbiter of Atlanta's book scene, giving the audience a chance to experience and participate in the Q&A and get a signed copy of the book. Held upstairs in the Marianna Room of the Wrecking Bar Brewpub, Writers at the Wrecking Bar hosts a cash bar, starting at 7 PM. The author conversation and book signing follow at 7:30 PM.