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Charis welcomes Leila Mottley in conversation with Denene Millner for a celebration of Nightcrawling: A novel. A dazzling novel about a young Black woman who walks the streets of Oakland and stumbles headlong into the failure of its justice system—the debut of a blazingly original voice that “bursts at the seams of every page and swallows you whole” (Tommy Orange, best-selling author of There There)
Kiara and her brother, Marcus, are scraping by in an East Oakland apartment complex optimistically called the Regal-Hi. Both have dropped out of high school, their family fractured by death and prison. But while Marcus clings to his dream of rap stardom, Kiara hunts for work to pay their rent—which has more than doubled—and to keep the nine-year-old boy next door, abandoned by his mother, safe and fed.
One night, what begins as a drunken misunderstanding with a stranger turns into the job Kiara never imagined wanting but now desperately needs: nightcrawling. Her world breaks open even further when her name surfaces in an investigation that exposes her as a key witness in a massive scandal within the Oakland Police Department.
Rich with raw beauty, electrifying intensity, and piercing vulnerability, Nightcrawling marks the stunning arrival of a voice unlike any we have heard before.
LEILA MOTTLEY is the 2018 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate. Her work has been featured in The New York Times and Oprah Daily. She was born and raised in Oakland, where she continues to live. Nightcrawling is her first novel.
Denene Millner is a six-time New York Times best-selling author, Emmy Award-nominated TV show host and award-winning journalist who has written 31 books, among them Taraji P. Henson’s Around the Way Girl, and the picture book Early Sunday Morning. The Atlanta-based writer and editor is also the editorial director of Denene Millner Books, an award-winning imprint that publishes stories featuring Black children and families, by Black authors and illustrators. The DMB list includes two Caldecott Honor books, a Kirkus Prize for Children’s Literature, two Society for Illustrator honors, a Southern Book Prize, an instant New York Times bestseller and three NAACP Image Award nominations. Denene’s upcoming novel, “One Blood,” a multi-generational epic about motherhood, adoption and race, is slated to be published in eight countries when it debuts in 2023. She lives in Atlanta with her two daughters.
This event is free and open to all people, especially to those who have no income or low income right now, but we encourage and appreciate a solidarity donation in support of the work of Charis Circle, our programming non-profit. Charis Circle's mission is to foster sustainable feminist communities, work for social justice, and encourage the expression of diverse and marginalized voices. https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CharisCircle?code=chariscirclepage
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NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK • A dazzling novel about a young Black woman who walks the streets of Oakland and stumbles headlong into the failure of its justice system—the debut of a blazingly original voice and "a soul-searching portrait of survival and hope" (Oprah Winfrey)
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