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In what author C. Nicole Mason calls an “insider’s story, ” Born Bright follows the journey of her own childhood in Los Angeles—an improbable path from episodic homelessness, hunger, and living in poverty—to becoming a leading voice on public policies impacting women and communities of color and low-income families. With grace, insight, and first-hand experience, Mason sheds light on the systematic structures that render an escape from poverty nearly impossible.  Joined by Ms. Magazine’s Education Director and Editor Karon Jolna, they will discuss a range of issues from poverty to the future of feminism and the ability of storytelling to accelerate social and political change.

C. Nicole Mason

C. Nicole Mason, Ph.D. is the author of Born Bright: A Young Girl’s Journey from Nothing to Something in America and heads up CR2PI at the New York Women’s Foundation. Her commentary and writing have been featured in the Los Angeles Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, POLITICO, The Nation, The Progressive, Spotlight on Poverty, USA Today, Marie Claire Magazine, Ms. Magazine Essence Magazine, The Washington Post and on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and NBC, among other outlets.


Karon Jolna

Karon Jolna, Ph.D. is education director and editor at Ms. magazine. During her tenure, she has expanded the use of Ms. as a textbook in hundreds of universities in the U.S. and Canada, driving growth and revenue to sustain the magazine for the next generation.  She is co-editor of Gender, Race and Class: From the Pages of Ms. magazine, 1972-present. Dr. Jolna served as research scholar at the UCLA Center for the Study of Women from 2004-2015.  At UCLA, she developed and taught one of the first women and leadership courses, featuring inspiring women leaders from a broad range of fields.


Reservation Policy for Free Programs:
As most ALOUD at Central Library programs are free of charge, it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a FULL program your free reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early. Space permitting, unclaimed reservations will be released to standby patrons at approximately 7 PM.

Standby Policy:
Standby numbers are distributed in person only one hour before the program, on a first-come, first-served, basis. There is no advance wait list for full programs. Standby patrons will be admitted subject to availability. Most programs will be available via podcast.

Book Signing Policy:
ALOUD is one of many free programs at the Los Angeles Public Library made possible by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. Most ALOUD author programs are followed by book signings. At least one copy of the author’s book must be purchased from The Library Store in order to participate in any post-program book signing, and you will be asked to show proof of purchase. Please be prepared to show your proof of purchase when you enter the book signing line. Proceeds support the Los Angeles Public Library.

Main image credit:  Ms. magazine illustration


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the reservation policy for ALOUD?

    As most ALOUD at Central Library programs are free of charge, it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a FULL program your free reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early. Space permitting, unclaimed reservations will be released to standby patrons at 7 PM.

  • Why do programs fill so quickly?

    ALOUD provides a unique experience for the public to engage with scholars, authors, and artists in the intimate 235-seat Mark Taper Auditorium. Library Foundation Members have the benefit of reserving for programs in advance of the public. Consider joining as a Member to receive this benefit, and check the website on an on-going basis for program availability. Be sure to subscribe to our email alerts, and visit our Media Archive for podcasts and other items from our recent programs.

  • Where does ALOUD take place?

    Unless otherwise noted, ALOUD programs are held at the downtown Central Library’s Mark Taper Auditorium.

  • Where should I park for ALOUD programs?

    We recommend taking public transportation. Parking for the Central Library is at the Westlawn Garage at 524 S. Flower Street. For more information, visit the Library’s website.

  • Should I purchase the author’s book in advance?

    We encourage you to purchase books from the Library Store. All proceeds benefit the Los Angeles Public Library. Books are made available for purchase when you reserve for a program online, and are also on sale at programs. In order to participate in the book signing, you must purchase at least one book from The Library Store. Members receive discounts on purchases.