Join Oak Park's virtual visit with author Michelle Kuo

Join the Oak Park Public Library on Sunday, October 24, at 2 pm for a virtual lecture and Q&A with author Michelle Kuo.

Kuo's memoir, Reading With Patrick, discusses education, inequality, and incarceration, and asks, "What social transformation is necessary to change a life?"

Register in Zoom for the event »

About the Barbara Ballinger Lecture

Michelle Kuo is the presenter for this year's Barbara Ballinger Lecture. Each fall we gather to celebrate and recognize former head librarian Barbara Ballinger and her many years of dedicated service to the library and to Oak Park.

This annual event is sponsored by the Friends of the Oak Park Public Library. See more about the annual Ballinger Lecture »

About the author

Michelle Kuo is a writer, attorney, and professor. She is the author of Reading With Patrick, a memoir of mentoring and tutoring a former student in a rural Arkansas county jail.

A graduate of Harvard Law School, Michelle has worked to protect the rights of undocumented immigrants, assist asylum seekers, and defend incarcerated people. She has taught in prisons in the United States, France, and Taiwan.

Michelle is interested in literacy, racial and socioeconomic equality, and abolitionist approaches toward prison and detention. She has published in The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, Public Books, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Point, and other outlets. Recently, she and her husband Albert Wu started "A Broad and Ample Road," a weekly newsletter on culture and politics.

Currently, she is an Associate Professor at the American University of Paris, where she works closely with college students on issues of social justice. She also is a pro bono lawyer for the Stanford Three Strikes Project and helped found Dialogue and Transformation, a global coalition advancing dialogues on peace, justice, and prisons.

About the book

Reading With Patrick is a memoir of mentoring and tutoring a former student in a rural Arkansas county jail. It was a runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice.

As Pulitzer Prize–winning James Forman Jr. and Arthur Evenchik write in The Atlantic, "Impassioned writing and hard-earned wisdom set the book apart. … In all of the literature addressing education, race, poverty, and criminal justice, there has been nothing quite like Reading With Patrick."

As Michelle puts it in The New York Times, her book is an "intimate story about the failure of the education and criminal justice systems and the legacy of slavery; about how literature is for everyone, how books connect people, and the hope that with enough openness and generosity we can do the hard work of knowing each other and ourselves."

Digital and print copies are available through your library.

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