Library announces first author visit enabled by new donation

Monday, September 1, 2014


Contributed image

James McBride


Contributed image

"The Good Lord Bird," by James McBride

The Lawrence Public Library has announced the first writer who will visit the city as part of the library’s new Ross and Marianna Beach Author Series.

And he’s not showing up with nothing but a book.

National Book Award winner James McBride will speak at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 22 at Liberty Hall. For more information on tickets — which are free and will be available starting Sept. 10 — go online to

Taking the stage with McBride will be the Good Lord Bird Band, a gospel jazz quintet providing musical backup to the author’s readings from the novel. The evening also will include a special performance by Lawrence’s Ninth Street Baptist Church choir.

McBride’s most recent novel, “The Good Lord Bird,” is an irreverent and funny story of a young slave who joins John Brown’s abolitionist campaign, according to the library. It won the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction.

The author series is enabled by Lawrence resident Marianna Beach and her late husband, Ross Beach, said library spokeswoman Kathleen Morgan. The Beaches’ funds were matched by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

“The idea behind it is to bring a major author once every year,” Morgan said. She said nearly everything the library does falls into the category of the humanities.

“Hosting the current National Book Award winner at Lawrence Public Library is such an incredible gift to this community,” Brad Allen, library executive director, said in a news release. “James McBride’s ‘Good Lord Bird’ offers a wonderful blend of humor and history. It is the perfect selection to launch our new Beach Author Series.”