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Dickens, an “agrarian ghetto,” is the fictional Los Angeles hood at the center of Paul Beatty’s scathingly satirical novel, The Sellout. It’s a book that, as poet Kevin Young writes in his perceptive New York Times review, “isn’t for the fainthearted.” Beatty — the first American novelist to win the coveted Man Booker Award — is a comic genius at the top of his game and in The Sellout, he dares to question almost every received notion about American society. Buckle your seat belts.

Paul Beatty

Paul Beatty is the author of three novels—Slumberland, Tuff, and The White Boy Shuffle—and two books of poetry: Big Bank Take Little Bank and Joker, Joker, Deuce. He is the editor of Hokum: An Anthology of African-American Humor. In 2016, he became the first American to win the Man Booker Prize for his latest novel, The Sellout. He lives in New York City.


Dana Johnson

Dana Johnson is the author of the short story collection In the Not Quite Dark. She is also the author of the novel Elsewhere, California and Break Any Woman Down, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, Callaloo, The Iowa Review and Huizache, among others. Born and raised in and around Los Angeles, she is a professor of English at the University of Southern California.


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:  Detail from the cover of The Sellout by Paul Beatty   Credit: Rodrigo Corral