A National Book Award finalist, Guggenheim fellowship recipient, and PEN Open Award winner, poet Kevin Young is a groundbreaking voice of his generation. The poetry editor and poetry podcast host for The New Yorker comes to the Moss Arts Center on Tuesday, Jan. 24, at 7:30 p.m.

Young will read his poetry, share personal insights into the state of poetry and creative thought, and take audience questions. “An Evening with Kevin Young” will be held in the center’s Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, located within the Street and Davis Performance Hall at 190 Alumni Mall.

Young is the author of 13 books of poetry and prose, most recently “Brown,” as featured on the “Daily Show with Trevor Noah; “Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995-2015,” longlisted for the National Book Award; and “Book of Hours,” a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize for Poetry from the Academy of American Poets.

His collection, “Jelly Roll: a blues,” was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His newest book of poetry, “Stones,” was one of Library Journal's top 10 poetry titles of 2021 and was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. 

Young’s second nonfiction book, “Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News,” won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Nonfiction, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, was longlisted for the National Book Award, and was named a New York Times Notable Book, a New York Times Book Review “Editors’ Choice” selection, and a “Best Book of 2017″ by NPR, the Los Angeles Times, Dallas Morning News, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Smithsonian, Vogue, The Atlantic, Nylon, BuzzFeed, and Electric Literature. 

Young’s previous nonfiction book, “The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness,” won the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and the PEN Open Book Award; it was also a New York Times Notable Book for 2012 and a finalist for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism.

Young is the editor of nine other collections, including “The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton, 1965-2010” and “The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food and Drink.” He is also the editor of the anthology “African American Poetry 1770–2020: 250 Years of Struggle & Song,” which, according to Moss Arts Center Director of Programming Margaret Lawrence, “is an achievement that has truly been called the most ambitious anthology of Black poetry ever published.”

Previously the director of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, he is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was named a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2020. In March 2021, he was voted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in May, he was elected as a fellow of the Society of American Historians.

This event is recommended for ages 14 and up.

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During his visit to Virginia Tech, Kevin Young will meet with students in the Department of English to discuss the craft of writing in multiple genres and African American literary arts.

Ticket information

Tickets for the performance are $25 for general admission and $10 for students and youth 18 and under. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center's box office, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.

Paid parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Virginia Tech has also partnered with ParkMobile to provide a convenient, contactless electronic payment option for parking, which may be used at any parking meter, campus parking space, or lot with standard F/S, C/G, or R parking.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Jamie Wiggert at least 10 days prior to the event at 540-231-5300 or email wiggertj@vt.edu during regular business hours.

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