Author Celeste Ng photographed in Cambridge, MA. Kieran Kesner for Buzzfeed.
Credit: Kieran Kesner

Renowned author Celeste Ng once said that writing is like “shouting into the world.” Reading, then, and participating in the ongoing conversation instigated by an author’s work, must be like shouting right back. It’s a lovely thought, one that gets at the loudness, and vitality, of readers, the bravery of artists who dare to share their voices with the world, and the importance of texts that engage—and challenge—society, which is especially poignant as leaders in this country and abroad seek to censor artists and their work. This is also one of the central themes of Ng’s highly anticipated latest novel, Our Missing Hearts, which follows 12-year-old Bird as he embarks on a journey to reconnect with his mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet whose work is being stripped from libraries after being deemed “unpatriotic,” thanks to a slew of laws seeking to “preserve American culture.” This quest, prompted by a mysterious letter that upsets Bird’s quiet—and acquiescent—life, takes him to New York City, to an underground network of rebellious librarians, and to the folktales of his childhood, which he remembers learning from his mom, who vanished without explanation years prior. The author, who is known for her gripping short stories and literary thrillers like Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere (which became a popular miniseries starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington) will chat with fellow novelist Dolen Perkins-Valdez about the story and the process of writing Our Missing Hearts—and why we must keep shouting into the world even when so many powers seek to muffle us. The discussion, hosted by Loyalty Bookstores, starts at 7 p.m. on Oct. 6 at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. Free; registration is required.

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