From the National Book Award–winning author of Between the World and Me, the February Book Club pick is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s boldly conjured debut novel The Water Dancer, a mystical and magical story tied to the journey of American slavery. The discussion will be facilitated by Jevon Collins, the Performing Arts Director for King Arts Complex.
King Arts Complex is the Community Partner for this program.
Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory of her—but was gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. This brush with death births an urgency in Hiram and a daring scheme: to escape from the only home he’s ever known.
So begins an unexpected journey that takes Hiram from the corrupt grandeur of Virginia’s proud plantations to desperate guerrilla cells in the wilderness, from the coffin of the Deep South to dangerously idealistic movements in the North. Even as he’s enlisted in the underground war between slavers and the enslaved, Hiram’s resolve to rescue the family he left behind endures.
This is the dramatic story of an atrocity inflicted on generations of women, men, and children—the violent and capricious separation of families—and the war they waged to simply make lives with the people they loved. Written by one of today’s most exciting thinkers and writers, The Water Dancer is a propulsive, transcendent work that restores the humanity of those from whom everything was stolen.
Jevon Collins is the Performing Arts Director at The Kings Arts Complex where he develops, organizes and facilitates all performing arts programming. He has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Cuyahoga Arts Council. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Performance Network/Visual Artist Network, on the Board of Governors and Vice President for Ohio State’s Black Alumni Society; and is a member of OSU’s College of Arts & Sciences Town & Gown Committee. Jevon is a founding member of the Next Gen National Arts Network and the Columbus Artists Network.