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Elif Batuman, a New Yorker staff writer and author of The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, offers up a delightfully refreshing coming-of-age story about not just discovering but inventing oneself. Batuman’s debut novel The Idiot begins in 1995 when email is new and Selin, the daughter of Turkish immigrants, arrives for her freshman year at Harvard where she navigates the strange new worlds of academics, friendships, and falling in love via email. Batuman discusses this off-kilter journey into adulthood and her recent reporting for The New Yorker from Turkey, with comedic author, television writer, and co-host of The Great Debates podcast Steve Hely.

Arrive early to enjoy a public reception and cash bar in the Library’s courtyard before the program!

Elif Batuman

Elif Batuman has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2010. She is the author of The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them. The recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, and a Paris Review Terry Southern Prize for Humor, she also holds a PhD in comparative literature from Stanford University.


Steve Hely

Steve Hely is a writer and TV writer. He wrote the novel How I Became A Famous Novelist, and co-wrote the comic travelogue The Ridiculous Race. His latest book is The Wonder Trail: True Stories from Los Angeles To The End of the World. He wrote for The Late Show with David Letterman, 30 Rock, The Office, American Dad and Veep. He’s a co-host of The Great Debates radio show.


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: Cover of The Idiot by Elif Batuman



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