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In celebration of Black History Month: Author Kai Thomas

Black History Month Kai Thomas

Join author Kai Thomas in conversation with Jamaal Amir Akbari and learn more about his debut award winning novel, In the Upper Country. The fates of two unforgettable women—one just beginning a journey of reckoning and self-discovery and the other completing her life’s last vital act—intertwine in this sweeping, powerful novel set at the terminus of the Underground Railroad.

Q&A with the audience and autograph session to follow.

This is a hybrid event: the program is in-person, but we will also stream live on OPL's YouTube page. Registration is for the in-person portion of the event.

In-person attendees will get the chance to win a copy of In the Upper Country!

This event is made possible thanks to the generosity of the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association.

About Kai Thomas:

Kai Thomas is an author born and raised in Ottawa. His debut novel, In the Upper Country, was awarded the 2023 Atwood Gibson Writers' Trust prize for fiction and was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award for Fiction and the Amazon Canada First Novel Award. Aside from storytelling, he is passionate about family, earth stewardship, and building science. His background and body of work spans from land-based education, carpentry, and small-scale farming to historical research and scholarship.  

About Jamaal Amir Akbari:

Jamaal Amir Akbari (Jaaword or JustJamaal ThePoet) is an award-winning poet, arts educator, creative entrepreneur, and performance artist. As a poet, he was selected to be Ottawa's first English Poet Laureate after 27 years in which the position had gone unfilled, while his career in arts education has earned him 2016's Ontario Arts Educator Award. He has brought his practice to audiences locally and internationally and his defining moments are when he makes intimate connections with his participants during workshop exchanges and performance sets. 

His topics range from emotional maturity to social justice, from parenting to the human condition, and has been highlighted in festivals, documentaries and educational institutions across the world. He resides in Ottawa, Canada, with his wife and seven children, using the national capital region as his launch pad to teach, mentor and advocate for the arts.