OFFSITE: (The Durham Armory) Colson Whitehead, "The Underground Railroad"



Join us for a talk, reading, and book signing at The Durham Armory with prize-winning and bestselling novelist Colson Whitehead. This will be a ticketed event. Two tickets come with each purchase of the book ($27.00), or tickets without a book are $10.00 each. Books with tickets may be purchased at the store, through our web site, or at the door. Admission-only tickets are now on sale through this web site (see below), at the store, or at the door if there are still seats remaining. Admission tickets may be used as credit toward a book purchase at the event.

Whitehead will discuss his sixth novel, The Underground Railroad, a tour de force chronicling a young slave's journey as she makes a desperate bid for freedom from an antebellum cotton plantation in Georgia circa 1850. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.

The New York Times Book Review has named The Underground Railroad as one of the most anticipated books of 2016; it is also been chosen as a 2016 Oprah Book Club selection.

ABOUT THE BOOK:  In The Underground Railroad, Whitehead introduces readers to Cora, a teenage slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted by slave catchers.

In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and cavernous tunnels, crisscrossing beneath American soil.  As Cora travels north, her journey transports her across state lines.  And along her way, each state he visits portrays a different “state” of American possibility, showcasing a kaleidoscope of communities across the country – from a white supremacist enclave in North Carolina to an Indiana black separatist encampment.

Whitehead delivers an astonishing and monumental new novel, featuring a breathtaking and vividly-drawn protagonist and plot. Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey—hers is an odyssey through time as well as space.  Though its central conceit may be imagined and its narrative not strictly historical, the hideous realities of slavery and institutionalized racism at is center are well grounded in documented facts. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre–Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day.

Colson Whitehead is the New York Times bestselling author of Zone One, Sag Harbor, The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, Apex Hides the Hurt, and once collection of essays, The Collosus of New York. A Pulitzer Prize finalist and recipient of MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships, he lives in New York City.


Event date: 
09/22/2016 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
The Durham Armory
220 Foster Street
Durham, NC 27701
The Underground Railroad (Pulitzer Prize Winner) (National Book Award Winner) (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel By Colson Whitehead Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385542364
Availability: available for order
Published: Doubleday - August 2nd, 2016