Resist and Reimagine: Opening Night in Three Acts

16 Apr 2018
7:00 pm-8:45 pm
The Great Hall | The Cooper Union
7 East 7th Street (between Third and Fourth Avenues) New York, NY 10003

ACT I: A Global Refugee Crisis

An unprecedented 65.5 million people are currently displaced around the globe, fleeing war, persecution, climate change, and famine. One of them is Behrouz Boochani, a poet and journalist from Iran, who has been detained by the Australian government for more than four years on the remote Manus Island. Australian performance poet and author Maxine Beneba Clarke reads from “A Letter from Manus Island: A Refugee Resistance Manifesto” by Behrouz Boochani.

Act II: The Underground Railroad: Yesterday and Today

In one of the most celebrated and powerful books of the past year, Colson Whitehead reimagined the metaphorical Underground Railroad – one of America’s most potent and enduring examples of resistance.  He talks to Annette Gordon-Reed, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, about the creative imagination required to find the historical truth, and how the legacy of slavery reverberates throughout our history — from Jim Crow laws to the resurgence of white supremacy.

ACT III: Reimagining Our Worlds Through Immigration and Literature

The Perfect NannyLeila Slimani’s brilliantly unsettling novel about a nanny who murdered the two young children in her charge, ignited passionate debate in France for its subversive examination of motherhood, race, and social inequality. The first Moroccan-born woman to win the Prix Goncourt and now President Emmanuel Macron’s ambassador for Francophone affairs talks to The New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik about her work and a life remade through immigration and literature.

Hosted by The Cooper Union Office of Continuing Education and Public Programs



Maxine Beneba Clarke
Adam Gopnik
Leila Slimani
Colson Whitehead