Tayari Jones

Nina Subin

Tayari Jones

Tuesday, May 14, 2019 7:30 pm

At Benaroya Hall — S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

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Literary Arts

Tayari Jones is an award-winning author whose runaway bestseller, An American Marriage, features a newlywed couple and their reckoning with the horrors of mass incarceration, navigating ethically-charged questions about faithfulness and sacrifice.

The Q&A for this event will be moderated by Melanie McFarland, the TV Critic for Salon.com.

Tayari Jones is the author of four novels: Leaving Atlanta, The Untelling, Silver Sparrow, and An American Marriage. 

In An American Marriage (2018), Jones introduces us to a man who has been wrongfully incarcerated and examines how he, his wife, and their families deal with the ensuing fallout. Roy and Celestial are still newlyweds when, on a visit home to Louisiana, Roy is convicted of a rape he didn’t commit and sentenced to twelve years in prison. His Morehouse brother Andre, Celestial’s childhood friend, complicates the separation. An American Marriage is a 2018 Oprah’s Book Club Selection.

Jones’s writing has appeared in Tin House, The Believer, the New York Times, and Callaloo. A member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, she has also been a recipient of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Lifetime Achievement Award in Fine Arts from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, United States Artist Fellowship, NEA Fellowship, and the Radcliffe Institute Bunting Fellowship. Jones is a graduate of Spelman College, University of Iowa, and Arizona State University.

An Associate Professor in the MFA program at Rutgers-Newark University, Jones is spending the 2017-18 academic year as the Shearing Fellow for Distinguished Writers at the Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. 


Melanie McFarland is the TV Critic for Salon.com. Prior to joining Salon, McFarland was the TV Editor for IMDb.com, where she curated the site’s television content as well as writing and hosting episodes of its first original web series “What to Watch.” McFarland served on the 2004 and 2005 juries that selected the American Film Institute’s 10 Most Outstanding TV Programs of the Year. She also was a member of the George Foster Peabody Awards board between 2006 and 2012. McFarland has lent her expert commentary to a variety of media outlets, including CNN, NPR, American Public Media, and the BBC. She has been a member of the Television Critics Association since 2003, and currently serves on its executive board.McFarland’s work has appeared in Variety, as well as the Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Oregonian, Chicago Tribune, Geekwire, Rotten Tomatoes and Parade Magazine. Her work is included in the upcoming anthology “The Women of David Lynch,” due out June 11. She is based in Seattle, WA.

Event Details

Benaroya Hall — S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

200 University Street
Seattle, WA 98101

View directions.

Know Before You Go


Tayari Jones will discuss her work, including her most recent book, An American Marriage. The event will be followed by a Q&A moderated by Lisa Lucas, the Executive Director of the National Book Foundation.


Our partner bookstore will have copies of Tayari Jones’s work available for purchase at their table in the lobby.


There will be no book-signing for this event.

Grand Patron & Patron Reception from 6:30–7:15 on the Promenade!

Grand Patron and Patron ticket holders, join us at the pre-event reception on the Promenade. Ushers will direct you upon arrival. The reception will take place from 6:30–7:15.

Student Ticket Holders

Don’t forget to head to the special door marked “Student” for entry into the auditorium. A valid student ID is required for admission into the event.

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Transportation & Parking

This event will be held in the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium, the largest event space at Benaroya Hall. 

Benaroya Hall is located at 200 University Street, directly across Second Avenue from the Seattle Art Museum. The public entrance to Benaroya Hall is along Third Avenue.

  • From Southbound I-5
    Take the Union Street exit (#165B). Continue onto Union Street and proceed approximately five blocks to Second Avenue. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound I-5
    Exit left onto Seneca Street (exit #165). Proceed two blocks and turn right onto Fourth Avenue. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Union Street. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound Highway 99 (Aurora Avenue)
    Take the Seneca Street exit and move into the left lane. Turn left onto First Avenue and proceed one block. Take the next right (at the Hammering Man sculpture) onto University Street. Continue up the hill two blocks to Third Avenue. Turn left onto Third Avenue. Continue to the next block and turn left onto Union Street. Make the next left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Southbound Highway 99 (Aurora Avenue)
    Take the Denny Way/Downtown exit. Keep right and cross over Denny Way onto Wall Street. Proceed approximately five blocks and turn left onto Second Avenue. Continue south on Second Avenue approximately eight blocks. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.

By Bus
Benaroya Hall is served by numerous bus routes. Digital reader boards along Third Avenue display real-time bus arrival information. For details and trip planning tools, call Metro Rider Information at 206.553.3000 (voice) or 206.684.1739 (TDD), or visit Metro online. The Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, served by bus and light rail, has a stop just below the Hall (University Street Station).

The 430-car underground garage at Benaroya Hall provides direct access from the enclosed parking area into the Hall via elevators leading to The Boeing Company Gallery. Enter the garage on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street. Maximum vehicle height is 6’8″. Blink charging stations are available for electric vehicles. The event rate is $16.

Parking is also available at:

  • The Cobb Building (enter on University Street between Third and Fourth avenues).
  • The Russell Investments Center (enter on Union Street between First and Second avenues).
  • There are many other garages within a one-block radius of Benaroya Hall, along with numerous on-street parking options.


All of our venues have accessible seating and listening devices available. Please contact us at boxoffice@lectures.org or 206.621.2230 x10 for more details and to let us know you’re coming so we can better accommodate your needs.


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