Worth the drive: Colson Whitehead reading in Tampa Thursday, Jan. 5

Worth the drive: Colson Whitehead reading in Tampa Thursday, Jan. 5
Photo by Madeline Whitehead courtesy Penguin Random House
Few things are worth the drive to Tampa ... but sometimes there is a gem of an event that forces our hand onto the steering wheel and we begrudgingly brave I-4 for the purposes of cultural enrichment.

On Thursday, Jan. 5, at the Falk Theater in Tampa, seize the opportunity to see Colson Whitehead, author of this year's National Book Award-winning novel, The Underground Railroad. Those who’ve been fans since Whitehead’s debut, The Intuitionist, will find his thematic through-line of race front and center in this latest release. Those new to his work should keep in mind that Whitehead’s oeuvre is as varied as it is quirky, encapsulating satire and weirdness – from his memoir, The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky & Death, to his zombie thriller, Zone One – and imprinting on this new book his singular voice and imagination. Do yourself a favor and go see the guy who the editor of the New York Times Book Review recently called one of the "great novelists" of our time.

That Mr. Whitehead is not reading in Orlando is a shame, but props to Erica Dawson, the director of the Creative Writing MFA at the University of Tampa, for bringing such "worth the drive" events to our state every winter and summer as part of the program's Lectores Series. Just because it happens in Tampa doesn't mean we can't show up in droves to show the strength and drivenness (literally, in this instance) of Orlando’s literary, artistic and intellectual community.

Lectores: Reading With Colson Whitehead
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017
Falk Theater, University of Tampa
428 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa
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