Writers for Readers 2020: Reading Election Day

John Eligon, Sarah Smarsh, Whitney Terrell
Writers for Readers
Thursday, October 29, 2020
6:30 pm
RSVP Required

Buffeted socially, economically, and politically by a once-in-a-century pandemic, frayed further by social unrest and division over a markedly unconventional incumbent president, the nation approaches an Election Day like no other.  

Five days before Americans go to the polls, two leading writers/journalists with both local and national perspective – best-selling author and columnist Sarah Smarsh and The New York Times’ John Eligon – assess the issues, trends, and events that have shaped the political landscape and what they portend for November 3. They speak with the University of Missouri-Kansas City's Whitney Terrell.

The election-year Writers for Readers event benefits an ongoing partnership between the Kansas City Public Library and the University of Missouri-Kansas City's MFA Program in Creative Writing. It enables a graduate student to teach writing classes at the Library and assist in planning for a new literary award and city-wide book festival. 

Tickets to the virtual presentation provide access to the exclusive stream of the discussion. Additional details will be sent to ticketholders prior to the event date. 

Smarsh, a Kansas native who focuses her reporting and writing on issues of socioeconomic class, served as a commentator for PBS during the Democratic and Republican conventions in August. Her work has appeared in The New York TimesThe New YorkerHarper’s, and The Guardian, among other publications, and she spoke at the Kansas City Public Library in October 2018 on her acclaimed book Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth. Her second book, She Come by It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs, is scheduled for release in October. 

Eligon is a Kansas City-based national correspondent for The Times. His work frequently explores our struggle with racial issues, from protests over police violence to the changing face of the nation’s cities and suburbs. Assignments have taken him to South Africa to report on the death of Nelson Mandela and Turin, Italy, to cover the 2006 Winter Olympics, and he helped shepherd The Times’ coverage of the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014. 

Terrell is an associate professor of English at UMKC, the author of three novels, and co-host of the Literary Hub podcast Fiction/Non/Fiction.

In addition to the Library and UMKC’s MFA Program in Creative Writing, the event is co-presented by the Friends of the Kansas City Public Library. For additional information, visit writersforreaders2020.eventbrite.com.

Writers for Readers 2020 is co-presented by the Kansas City Public Library, UMKC's MFA Program in Creative Writing, and the Friends of the Kansas City Public Library and chaired by Pete Browne, Julie Walker-Browne, Marilou Joyner and Randy Moore.