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PEN PRESENTS: PERCIVAL EVERETT and DAVID L. ULIN

*Please note: this event will take place live on Crowdcast. RSVP here to join the livestream or watch the replay. This event is co-hosted by PEN America!

The Trees (Graywolf Press)

An uncanny literary thriller addressing the painful legacy of lynching in the US, by the author of Telephone

Percival Everett’s The Trees is a page-turner that opens with a series of brutal murders in the rural town of Money, Mississippi. When a pair of detectives from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation arrive, they meet expected resistance from the local sheriff, his deputy, the coroner, and a string of racist White townsfolk. The murders present a puzzle, for at each crime scene there is a second dead body: that of a man who resembles Emmett Till.

The detectives suspect that these are killings of retribution, but soon discover that eerily similar murders are taking place all over the country. Something truly strange is afoot. As the bodies pile up, the MBI detectives seek answers from a local root doctor who has been documenting every lynching in the country for years, uncovering a history that refuses to be buried. In this bold, provocative book, Everett takes direct aim at racism and police violence, and does so in a fast-paced style that ensures the reader can’t look away. The Trees is an enormously powerful novel of lasting importance from an author with his finger on America’s pulse.

Percival Everett is the author of more than twenty books. He is the recipient of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and the PEN Center USA Award for Fiction. He teaches at the University of Southern California and lives outside Los Angeles.

David L. Ulin is the author or editor of more than a dozen books, including Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles, which was shortlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, and The Lost Art of Reading: Books and Resistance in a Troubled Time. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, and Black Mountain Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The former book editor and book critic of the Los Angeles Times, he is an associate professor of English at the University of Southern California, where he edits the literary journal Air/Light. Most recently, he has edited Didion: The 1960s and 1970s, for the Library of America.

Praise for The Trees:

“This fierce satire is both deeply troubling and rewarding.”Booklist, starred review

“With customary ferocity, Everett’s taut narrative pacing leads us through revelations of the all-too-familiar white supremacy that undergirds so much of American life.”Lit Hub

Event date: 
Wednesday, September 22, 2021 - 6:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
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