With independent bookstores scattered throughout the city, it’s easy to shop local for books. But this month, try doubling down on D.C. connections. From established names to up-and-coming writers, authors from the DMV are filling up the shelves.
Hear from five of those authors in bookstores and museums this July.
“Creatures of Passage” by Morowa Yejidé at Politics and Prose, 7 p.m.
“Creatures of Passage” tells the story of Nephthys Kinwell and her family in a novel that’s at once a ghost tale, a meditation on grief and a response to historical injustice. Written by a D.C. native, the novel is set in a supernatural version of Anacostia in 1977. It’s been critically acclaimed all around: short-listed for the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence and declared a 2021 Notable Book by The Washington Post and Best Book of 2021 by NPR.
“The Quanders: Since 1684, an Enduring African American Legacy” by Rohulamin Quander at Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden, 6 p.m.
Rohulamin Quander belongs to one of the oldest consistently documented African American families in the U.S. — a family that has lived in the DMV for generations. Starting with his ancestors Henry Quando and Margrett Pugg in 1684, Quander traces his family’s legacy up into the present day in “The Quanders.” The history examines triumphs of faith and strength amidst stumbling blocks imposed on his family.
The founder of the Quander Historical and Educational Society, Quander will speak at the Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden about his book. Tickets are $8. Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden: 614 Oronoco St. Arlington, VA; leefendallhouse.org // @leefendallhousemuseum
“American Royalty” by Tracey Livesay at East City Bookshop, 7 p.m.
When the fictional Prince Jameson chooses rapper Danielle “Duchess” Nelson to perform at a concert, sparks fly. As their romance gets off the ground, both of them come under a heavy spotlight. The big question of “American Royalty”: Will their relationship succeed? Tracey Livesay is an experienced romance writer, and she’s echoing the real-life romance of Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Markle in her latest novel.
Livesay — who lives in Virginia — will talk with author Mia Sosa about “American Royalty.” In keeping with the book’s musical themes, there’ll be musical games and song requests to lend the event the energy of an old club. East City Bookshop: 645 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Unit 100, DC; eastcitybookshop.com // @eastcitybookshop
“Black Boy Smile” by D. Watkins at MahoganyBooks, 7 p.m.
“Black Boy Smile,” a memoir, reflects on how D. Watkins moved from his childhood in Baltimore to an author, professor, editor, husband and father. For thirty years, he preserved and protected his moments of joy to keep himself going. Now, he looks back at those glimpses of happiness and the expectations he faced around masculinity and manhood.
Watkins will come to D.C. to talk about “Black Boy Smile” with his friend and fellow writer Jason Reynolds. MahoganyBooks in Anacostia Arts Center: 1231 Good Hope Rd. SE, DC; mahoganybooks.com // @mahoganybooks
“Love Times Infinity” by Lane Clarke at One More Page Books, 7 p.m.
In “Love Times Infinity,” high school junior Michie writes scholarship application essays, considers reconnecting with estranged family and deals with a basketball star crushing on her. Full of romance and reflection, the young adult novel marks Virginia native Lane Clarke’s debut.
“Love Times Infinity” will be released July 26 — and Clarke is coming to Arlington to celebrate the book launch! One More Page Books in the WestLee Condominium: 2200 N Westmoreland St. #101 Arlington, VA; onemorepagebooks.com // @onemorepagebooks