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Ijeoma Oluo

  • Central Library 201 West Mifflin Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)

The Seattle writer wants more people to truly talk to each other about race without sacrificing truth or getting hurt feelings. Info

Chris Megargee

Chris Megargee

Writer Ijeoma Oluo, in the wake of So You Want to Talk About Race, January’s best-selling primer on engaging with and conducting substantive conversations on race and racism, pays Madison's Central Library a visit as part of the Wisconsin Book Festival.

Oluo has become a crucial and popular speaker on charged topics like racism, mental health, and sexism and all its intersections. In an interview earlier this year, the Seattle-based author explains she had always loved to write growing up, but settled into a market analyst job in that city’s tech world to pay the bills. To satisfy her need to write, she began a small food blog on the side. Over time, she converted that blog into a platform to discuss weightier matters, such as police brutality and cisheteropatriarchal white supremacy. People took notice: Bigger outlets began republishing her posts, and then she began writing original articles for publications such as The Guardian, Jezebel, and The Establishment (where she is also an editor-at-large). Some highlights include her interview with the infamous Rachel Dolezal and her reckoning with problematic faves.

Even if you’re just hearing about her here for the first time, you owe it to yourself to come hear her speak. Oluo respects her audience’s intelligence, but also does not assume any pre-acquired knowledge of her readers. Her ability to tackle complex issues and make them approachable and digestible is impressive, and while she is always willing to meet people wishing to improve themselves where they are -- even people accused of sexual misconduct -- she also takes no bullshit, either. Perhaps a good place to dive in, given what’s going on these days, is this Establishment piece she wrote late last year processing USA Today’s request for her to write an op-ed against due process for those accused of sexual misconduct. —Henry Solo

Earlier Event: June 18
John Christensen