Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead, the Pulitzer Prize-winning and New York Times-bestselling author of “The Underground Railroad,” “Zone One” and other titles, is scheduled to make a live virtual presentation via Crowdcast on Thursday, July 9 at 7 p.m. hosted by the Midtown Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg.

During the presentation Whitehead will be discussing his latest book “The Nickel Boys” – released in 2019 – and taking questions from the audience.

Attendees must purchase a paperback copy of “The Nickel Boys” to access this exclusive ticketed virtual event. Orders can be made here.

Whitehead’s “The Nickel Boys” – inspired by true events – tells the story of The Nickel Academy “a reform school for boys: juvenile offenders, wards of the state, orphans, runaways who’d lit out to get away from mothers who entertained men for money, or to escape rummy fathers who came into their rooms in the middle of the night.”

The Nickel Academy is based real-life events that occurred at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys – a reform school in Florida that operated for more than a century. The school was known for its harsh corporal punishments, but in 2012, anthropologists uncovered unmarked graves on the school’s campus.

Whitehead’s novel takes place in the early 1960s and centers on Elwood Curtis, a young man with promising future and a burgeoning interest in the words of Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil right movement. Due to a misunderstanding Elwood is sent to the Nickel Academy – which takes its name from a previous dean, though some students say it’s called that because “their lives weren’t worth five cents.”

The book follows Elwood’s tells the story of Elwood’s experiences at the Nickel Academy, the horrific abuses that occur there and his time after he leaves the school. The final pages, an NPR reviewer writes are “a perfect ending to a perfect novel.”

Read a chapter from “The Nickel Boys” on the New Yorker.