Read Up Richmond challenges people to read differently, to read outside one’s own lived experience to develop an understanding of the world. This program is an opportunity for people from different walks of life to come together in the library to learn together, to enter into a conversation with the larger community, to share the same space, making Richmond a more connected, more civil place.
This year, we are proud to present S.A. Cosby in conversation with Dale Brumfield. Cosby’s newest book, All The Sinners Bleed, is an intense, hard-charging mystery set in a fictional rural Virginia county. The book deals with violence, trauma, gun violence and reckonings over race and multi-generational traumas. While heavy in theme, Cosby’s writing is eminently readable, even funny, and his characters are rich, complex and earnestly portrayed–good, bad and in-between. Cosby is an accessible, warm person whose approach to being a “famous writer” includes remaining rooted in his community and family. Up-and-coming or aspiring writers have much to learn from his journey to publication.
Richmond Public Library is pleased to put S.A. Cosby in conversation with another Virginia-based writer whose work deals with the darker aspects of Virginia’s history, as well as the ways we can bring them to light in the present to create a more just commonwealth. Dale Brumfield’s includes works of fiction and non-fiction, and he possesses unique expertise about the history of the death penalty and its abolition. He was involved in underground and alternative press for years, and contributed to the abolition of the death penalty through a combination of journalism, historical writing and advocacy.
Cosby and Brumfield manifest two approaches to dealing with Virginia’s troubled past and unsettled present. Both use writing, history and humor to communicate truth.
S. A. Cosby is an Anthony Award-winning writer from Southeastern Virginia. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Razorblade Tears and Blacktop Wasteland, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, was a New York Times Notable Book, and was named a best book of the year by NPR, The Guardian, and Library Journal, among others. When not writing, he is an avid hiker and chess player.
Dale Brumfield is the author of twelve books. His latest is “Closing the Slaughterhouse: The Inside Story of Death Penalty Abolition in Virginia.” This follows “Railroaded: the true stories of the first 100 people executed in Virginia’s electric chair,” “Theme Park Babylon,” “Naked Savages,” both novels, and “Virginia State Penitentiary: A Notorious History,” about the iconic prison that sat in Richmond from 1800 to 1991. His other history books, “Richmond Independent Press” (2013) and “Independent Press in D.C and Virginia: An Underground History” (2015) chronicle the rise and fall of Virginia and D.C.’s underground and alternative press in the 1960s and ’70s. Both were nominated for Library of Virginia Literary Awards in nonfiction.
This program is made possible through the generous support of the Richmond Public Library Foundation and the Friends of the Richmond Public Library.