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On Jan. 29, at the Carnegie Music Hall, the Aurora Reading Club along with the United Black Book Clubs of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Honors College, Pittsburgh Humanities Festival and the Drue Heinz Trust supported the lecture of Paul Beatty. The lecture was number 7 in a series of 10 literary evenings.

Beatty spoke on his most recent title “The Sellout.” Amanda Foreman, the chair of the Man Booker Prize selection committee says, “This is a book that nails the reader to the cross with cheerful abandon, but while you are being nailed you are being tickled.” Beatty says, “The sellout is about friends and relatives who have touched me in real ways.” Beatty also said the book is about a guy who brings back slavery. The premise is shocking says the author, a Black man angered by the conditions in the “agrarian ghetto” of his hometown, seeks the reinstatement of slavery and segregation, taking his case to the Supreme Court.

Beatty was born in Los Angeles in 1962 and in 1990 he was declared the first Grand Poetry Slam Champion of the Nuyorican Poets Café in New York City. In 2016, Beatty became the first American to win the Man Booker Prize for the Sellout.

The Aurora Reading Club was founded by six women in the Hill District in 1894. The members read a wide variety of titles and take in the city’s cultural offerings. Their motto is “Lifting as we climb.” Many members of the club and their guests attended the lecture and enjoyed a conversation with Beatty prior to the lecture.


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