Teju Cole

Libby Lewis Photography

Teju Cole

Past Event: Thursday, April 21, 2016

At Town Hall Seattle

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Literary Arts

Co-Presented by The Seattle Times. Sponsored by KPLU 88.5 FM, KUOW 94.9 FM, and Seattle Met.

Award-winning author Teju Cole was born in America and raised in Nigeria, and is the author of two books: a novella, Every Day is for the Thief, and a novel, Open City. 

Open City is the story of a young Nigerian-German psychiatrist in New York City five yearsafter 9/11. The New York Times called it “an indelible novel. Does precisely what literature should do: it brings together thoughts and beliefs, and blurs borders…A compassionate and masterly work.” It won the PEN/Hemingway Award, the New York City Book Award for Fiction, the Rosenthal Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Internationaler Literaturpreis, and was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the New York Public Library Young Lions Award, and the Ondaatje Prize of the Royal Society of Literature.

Every Day is for the Thief (a novella) is about a young man living in New York City who goes to Lagos for a short and bewildering visit. It was first published in Nigeria in 2007. A revised version was published in the United States in 2014 and was a New York TImes Editors’ Pick, named a book of the year in the New York Times, the Telegraph, the Globe and NPR among others. “Shimmering . . . Cole has a way of superimposing emotional landscapes over his portraits of physical places that is transcendent. Every Day Is for the Thief is as much as an epic journey into the heart of the traveler as the place traveled.” — the Seattle Times

Teju Cole has contributed to the New York TimesThe New YorkerQarrtsiluni, The Financial TimesThe AtlanticGrantaAperture, and several other magazines. He is currently at work on a book-length non-fiction narrative of Lagos, and is engaged in curatorial projects.

His photography has been exhibited in India and the US, published in a number of journals, and will be the subject of a solo exhibition in Italy. He has lectured widely, from the Harvard Graduate School of Design to Twitter Headquarters, and gave the 2014 Kenan Distinguished Lecture in Ethics at Duke University.

He currently lives in Brooklyn.


Selected Works

Open City (2012) – Winner of multiple awards including the PEN/Hemingway Award, Internationaler Literaturpreis, the Rosenthal Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the New York City Book Award for Fiction.
Every Day is for the Thief (2007) – a New York Times Editors’ pick, named book of the year in The New Times, and shortlisted for the PEN/Open Book Award


Teju Cole’s homepage
BOMB Magazine: Teju Cole by Aleksandar Hemon
The New Yorker: Teju Cole’s prismatic début
Interview Magazine: Teju Cole
The New Yorker: Unmournable Bodies

Event Details

Town Hall Seattle

1119 8th Ave
Seattle, WA 98101

View directions.