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Six award-winning and best-selling authors will travel to Des Moines this spring as part of the Des Moines Public Library's AViD author series. 

The Authors Visiting in Des Moines program began in 2001 as a way to bring local and nationally renowned writers to the city. 

"The idea was to provide our patrons with a way to see these national, accomplished authors for free without reservations or tickets," said Tim Paluch, the library's community engagement supervisor. "They can hear from these people on a more personal level."

The AViD series is funded by the Des Moines Public Library Foundation. The first event is March 30, which coincides with the DSM Book Festival. 

For the 2019 lineup, organizers have taken care to select authors who have written about topics relevant to current issues such as economic inequality in the Midwest, Paluch said.

"This year’s lineup is very exciting and interesting," Paluch said. "We have authors writing about raising a transgender child. C.J. Chivers wrote about the fighters and the effects of war on the combatants on the ground. We find not just good books, but books that provide engaging discussion and are relevant to central Iowans and everybody."

Another author to note is Chigozie Obioma, a Nigerian-American, who wrote the acclaimed novel "The Fishermen." Obioma's latest book, "An Orchestra of Minorities," is a twist on Homer’s "Odyssey" and is set to release Jan. 8.

"Some might not know his name yet, but they’re going to be seeing him in coming months," Paluch said. 

Susan Orlean, author of "The Library Book" and "The Orchid Thief," will be the first author to visit Des Moines. AViD is sponsoring Orlean at the DSM Book Festival at 4 p.m. March 30 at Capital Square. 

The other events will take place at the Des Moines Central Library.

Most of the talks are scheduled on weeknights. 

"That's so (audience members) can just stop in without losing their weekend plans," Paluch said. "It expands horizons for some of our readers, and gives everyone a chance to see some accomplished literary icons."                                             

AViD series lineup

March 30: Susan Orlean at the DSM Book Festival. She is the author of the critically-acclaimed 2018 best-seller "The Library Book," a love letter to libraries that doubles as a true crime exploration of the unsolved 1986 fire that damaged the Los Angeles Public Library. Orlean’s 1998 nonfiction classic, "The Orchid Thief," was adapted into a feature film, "Adaptation." 


April 18: Laurie Frankel. She’s the author of the best-selling 2017 novel "This is How It Always Is," which tells the story of a family struggling with the challenges of raising a transgender child. The story is fiction, but the author is the mother of a transgender child herself. The book was chosen as a Reese Witherspoon Hello Sunshine Book Club pick in fall 2018.


April 22: Chigozie Obioma. The Nigerian-born author burst onto the literary scene in 2015 with his debut novel, "The Fishermen," which won multiple national and international awards — including an NAACP Image Award — and was a finalist for the prestigious Man Booker Prize. That same year he was named one of Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers. His much-anticipated second novel, "An Orchestra of Minorities" is a twist on Homer’s "Odyssey" written in the style of the Nigerian Igbo tradition.


May 2: Sarah Smarsh. Journalist, educator and author Sarah Smarsh’s debut book, "Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth," was an instant best-seller upon release in 2018. It was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize and National Book Award. Heartland was named one of the best books of 2018 by NPR, Amazon, Audible, Publisher’s Weekly and more. The book examines America’s historic economic inequality and tells the story of her upbringing among the working poor of rural Kansas.


May 16: Madeline Miller. Madeline Miller’s 2018 novel, "Circe," was a New York Times No. 1 best-seller and appeared on dozens of “Best Books of 2018” lists, including NPR, People, The Washington Post, Time, Entertainment Weekly, Buzzfeed, Book Riot and more. "Circe" was also named the Booklist 2018 Book of the Year. The novel, a retelling of the story of the villainous goddess Circe, recasts the infamous figure from "The Odyssey" into a feminist hero.


May 23: C.J. Chivers. Journalist C.J. Chivers is one of this generation’s most revered war correspondents and a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for The New York Times. His magazine story, “The Fighter,” won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in feature writing. Chivers served as an infantry officer in the U.S. Marine Corps in the Persian Gulf War. In 2018, he released "The Fighters," a vivid account of modern warfare told through the stories of a half-dozen American combatants serving in the Middle East conflicts. The book explores the growing disconnect between military leaders making decisions and the men and women on the ground facing the dangerous consequences of those decisions.

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