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Arts | Culture

Local millennial author Adeyemi to discuss new book at Central Library

Tomi Adeyemi at Comic-Con
Tomi Adeyemi at Comic-Con in 2018.
(John Gibbins/San Diego Union-Tribune)

San Diego author Tomi Adeyemi, whose debut fantasy novel has spent almost 90 weeks on the New York Times “young adult” bestseller list, will discuss her new book Saturday at 2 p.m. in a ticketed event at the Central Library.

“Children of Virtue and Vengeance” is the second part of a planned trilogy centered in the land of Orisha, where the monarchy is at war with those who have magical powers. At the end of the first book, “Children of Blood and Bone,” the heroine, Zelie, has brought the magic back to her people, but this time out the rulers have it, too. Civil war ensues.

Both books also offer allegories about what it’s like to be black in America. The debut novel explored police oppression. The new one takes a broader look at long-established institutions and how they disenfranchise people.

“I don’t think people realize how constant the noise is,” Adeyemi said in a 2018 Union-Tribune interview. “If I’m on the Internet, there’s no way for me to go one day without seeing something that is completely dehumanizing to or about black people. If we want to help the youth avoid going through all the BS we went through, we have to elevate and amplify stories like ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Children of Blood and Bone’ because it’s giving them the chance to see themselves as beautiful and powerful and intelligent.”

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General admission for Saturday’s event is $23, which includes a copy of the new book. Adeyemi will be in conversation with novelist Adalyn Grace and will sign books after. More information is available through the Library Shop and Mysterious Galaxy, which are coordinating the event.

Adeyemi, 26, grew up outside Chicago and graduated from Harvard University with a degree in English literature. She’s known she wanted to be a writer since she was a child and penned a story about twins (both named Tomi) and a horse. The idea for the trilogy started with a fellowship she did in Brazil, where she saw illustrations in a gift shop of powerful African gods and goddesses. Who were they? she wondered, and then she asked the question that has launched many a novel: What if?

“Children of Blood and Bone” made “best of” lists in 2018 by TIME, NPR and the New York Times, among others. It is in development for a movie.

The new novel, published earlier this month, was recently named by the TV show “Good Morning America” as its book club pick for December.


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