We were so happy to host Imbolo last year and our event was a raging success. We had two very well-attended book discussions leading up to her talk and our community was really engaged with the book and its themes. After the event, several area book clubs chose it as a title and as a result, it was a popular choice at our library for months after our author visit. Imbolo had some really interesting insights on class and immigration in the US, especially because she is a debut novelist and Behold the Dreamers was inspired by people that she saw everyday living in New York. We were so lucky to have her be a part of our One Book initiative last year and I highly recommend her to other libraries and institutions who are seeking a meaningful dialogue within their communities.
The 180 students in the honors program at FIT, along with about 25 faculty members and administrators, read BEHOLD THE DREAMERS over the summer. (During her visit) Imbolo read two brief passages from the book, and then opened the floor to questions from the audience. The students asked a variety of questions ranging from her writing process to the micro-aggressions discussed in the book. She was very warm, and forth-coming and everyone really enjoyed hearing directly from her.
Keynote speaker Imbolo Mbue, originally from Cameroon and educated at Columbia University, devoted time on the life of immigrants in American society. Reading extracts from her Behold the Dreamers: A Novel, she praised America for its values and contributions to modern society but lamented over a resurgence of racial and anti-immigrant attitudes in the country. She invoked America’s best ideals, citing the founding principle of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men [and women] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among those are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Based on that, she challenged the audience to return to the country’s most valued character of empathy, and individual and social responsibility. Imbolo lived up to her reputation. She was “fantastic.” And her message of human understanding, individual and social responsibility, and empathy was timely for our community. We thank you!