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The Kennedy Center Is Starting a Virtual Book Club

Led by Jason Moran, the club will discuss Toni Morrison, James Weldon Johnson, and Jacqueline Woodson.

Photograph by Scott Suchman

Jason Moran, the Kennedy Center’s artistic director for jazz, is kicking off a virtual book club that will highlight works that touch on performing arts, music, history, and culture. In three meetings this year, Moran is inviting the public and various panelists to discuss Toni Morrison’s Jazz, James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, and Jacqueline Woodson’s Red at the Bone.

On May 4, Moran will lead the conversation about Jazz with Grammy-winning jazz singer Dianne Reeves and poet/writer (and DC native) Elizabeth Alexander. (Registration for this event is currently open.) In August, the club will chat about Johnson’s fictional autobiography, which follows an unnamed mixed-race protagonist who struggles with squaring his identity with his musical career. Princeton African American studies professor and interdisciplinary scholar Imani Perry and sax player Mark Turner will walk through the novel with Moran. Jacqueline Woodson herself will join the discussion about her book, Red at the Bone, in October with Moran and blues/folk/rock/gospel singer Toshi Reagon.

Rosa is a senior editor at Bitch Magazine. She’s written for Washingtonian and Smithsonian magazine.