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"Writing Boyhood" with Khary Lazarre-White and Reif Larsen

Thursday, April 11
4:15 p.m. Standish Room, Science Library, University at Albany uptown campus, 1400 Washington Ave., Albany NY 12222 -- See map
7:30 p.m. Presentation/Conversation, Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center, Albany
-- See map

Free and open to the public.

Khary Lazarre-White
Khary Lazarre-White

Khary Lazarre-White, author, activist and attorney, is the executive director and cofounder of The Brotherhood/Sister Sol (Bro/Sis), a nationally renowned, Harlem-based youth services organization.

His first novel is Passage (2018), the story of Warrior, a young man navigating the snowy winter streets of Harlem and Brooklyn in 1993. Warrior is surrounded by deep family love and a sustaining connection to his history, bonds that arm him as he confronts the urban forces that surround him--both supernatural and human--including some that seek his very destruction.

The Wall Street Journal selected Passage to its "Best New Fiction" list and reviewer Sam Sacks wrote, "Passage, written in a striking blend of street vernacular and classical declamation, turns Warrior´┐Żs daily journey between school and home into a kind of spiritual pilgrimage. Mr. Lazarre-White has written an artfully compact parable of a noble soul seeking deliverance."

Oprah Winfrey said, “Khary is using his passion to uplift and inspire a next generation...,” and presented him with the Oprah Winfrey Angels’ Network “Use Your Life” Award.

In an interview published in Superstar Agenda magazine in the fall, 2017, Lazarre-White spoke of the importance of writing: "Since I was a child, the written word has been essential to me. Whether it’s been poetry or essays…to be able to use the written word to speak out, to describe, to hopefully inspire, to make situations clear. You know, one of the writers I revere the most is James Baldwin; his ability to use language to make unbelievably complicated situations, unbelievably clear. That’s the kind of language that I’m attracted to."

Lazarre-White has written for the Huffington Post, NYU Press, Nation Books, and, and has edited three books, The Brotherhood Speaks, Voices of the Brotherhood/Sister Sol, and Off the Subject. He lives in Harlem, New York City.

Reif Larsen
Reif Larsen

Reif Larsen’s first novel was The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet (2009), a New York Times bestseller that has been translated into 27 languages.

The story of a 12-year-old boy genius and his train trip across America, T.S. Spivet was a finalist for the IndieBound Award and was shortlisted for The Guardian First Book Award and James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

Stephen King praised T.S. Spivet: "Here is a novel that does the impossible: it contains Mark Twain, Thomas Pynchon, and Little Miss Sunshine. Good novels entertain; great ones come as a gift to the readers who are lucky enough to find them. This book is a treasure." French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie) adapted it as a prizewinning film in 2013.

Larsen’s second novel, I Am Radar (2016), tells the tale of a blackskinned boy with magical powers born to stunned white parents in New Jersey in the 1970s. The L. A. Times called it, “Big, beautiful, ambitious… addictive and enchanting” and the New York Times review said the novel is a "a deeply patterned narrative that darts easily from small-bore domestic dramas to sweeping historical catastrophes with just the right fillip of silliness and levity to keep the whole text eminently approachable."

Larsen's fiction and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, and other publications. He is also a filmmaker and has made documentaries in the U.S., U.K. and sub-Saharan Africa.

Cosponsored by the State Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education and Friends of the New York State Library.

Khary Lazarre-White, interview with the The Andrew Goodman Foundation, 2012

A Conversation with Reif Larsen, 2009