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Mr. Coates was unable to attend the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Awards Weekend in October and will accept his award for We Were Eight Years in Power on March 21 at 7:00 p.m. at the Kettering Fairmont High School Auditorium. Seating is free but ticketed. If you are interested in attending, please visit the Dayton Literary Peace Prize website and order your ticket through Eventbrite. You must have a ticket to attend.

Gilbert King, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America, the 2013 DLPP nonfiction runner-up, and member of the DLPP Honorary Advisory Committee, will serve as the evening's Master of Ceremonies.

David Wood, the 2017 Dayton Literary Peace Prize Nonfiction Winner for What Have We Done, will introduce Mr. Coates, who will give his acceptance speech and comments about We Were Eight Years in Power. He will then be joined on stage by Devon Berry, Director of Human Resources at West Carrollton City Schools, and Shannon Isom, President and CEO of the Dayton YWCA, for a conversation about the book.

The DLPP is accepting audience questions via email. Please send any questions you have for Mr. Coates to Sharon Rab and they will be relayed to the conversation moderators.

Mr. Coates will be signing but not personalizing books after the event.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a distinguished writer in residence at NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. He is the author of the bestselling books The Beautiful Struggle, We Were Eight Years in Power, and Between The World And Me, which won the National Book Award in 2015. Coates is a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. He is also the current author of the Marvel comics The Black Panther and Captain America.

In these “urgently relevant essays,” the National Book Award–winning author of Between the World and Me “reflects on race, Barack Obama’s presidency and its jarring aftermath”—including the election of Donald Trump. —Kirkus Reviews

Critical acclaim for We Were Eight Years in Power:

New York Times Bestseller • Finalist for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize • Nonfiction Winner, Dayton Literary Peace Prize

Named One of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times • USA Today • Time • Los Angeles Times • San Francisco Chronicle • Essence • O: The Oprah Magazine • The Week • Kirkus Reviews
*Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


“We were eight years in power” was the lament of Reconstruction-era black politicians as the American experiment in multiracial democracy ended with the return of white supremacist rule in the South. In this sweeping collection of new and selected essays, Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the tragic echoes of that history in our own time: the unprecedented election of a black president followed by a vicious backlash that fueled the election of the man Coates argues is America’s “first white president.”

But the story of these present-day eight years is not just about presidential politics. This book also examines the new voices, ideas, and movements for justice that emerged over this period—and the effects of the persistent, haunting shadow of our nation’s old and unreconciled history. Coates powerfully examines the events of the Obama era from his intimate and revealing perspective—the point of view of a young writer who begins the journey in an unemployment office in Harlem and ends it in the Oval Office, interviewing a president.

We Were Eight Years in Power features Coates’s iconic essays first published in The Atlantic, including “Fear of a Black President,” “The Case for Reparations,” and “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” along with eight fresh essays that revisit each year of the Obama administration through Coates’s own experiences, observations, and intellectual development, capped by a bracingly original assessment of the election that fully illuminated the tragedy of the Obama era. We Were Eight Years in Power is a vital account of modern America, from one of the definitive voices of this historic moment.

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