Tommy Orange selected for Everybody Reads 2020

Acclaimed author of There There to speak in Portland March 5

PORTLAND, Ore. — June 3, 2019 — Next January, Multnomah County Library will launch Everybody Reads 2020, the library’s 18th annual community reading project, with Tommy Orange and his debut novel, There There

There There offers a series of gripping portraits and perspectives of Native people in urban America, told from the perspectives of twelve characters traveling to Oakland for a powwow, each of them contending with issues of identity, memory and belonging.

Orange’s debut novel has been greeted with praise from critics and readers alike. There There was selected as a 2019 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Fiction and was honored as one of the 10 Best Books of 2018 by the editors of The New York Times Book Review, among other accolades. 

Everybody Reads 2020 provides an opportunity to explore the experiences and perspectives around the Native experience in urban settings. The library is working with the Native community to center events and discussions around Native voices, organizations and movements. The library will distribute thousands of copies of There There through libraries and high schools across Multnomah County early next year as part of the project. 

“Many of us who represent dominant culture have enveloped the entire Native American population and experience around an idea of place, a reservation, that is flawed and incomplete,” said Director of Libraries Vailey Oehlke. “Tommy Orange shows an amazing ability to capture and create character; There There compels the reader to give thought and voice to richer and more complex perspectives that have been brushed aside for too long.”

Tommy Orange is a graduate of the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. An enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, he was born and raised in Oakland, California, and currently lives in Angels Camp, California.

How to participate

Through a shared reading experience, we will discuss issues that matter, learn from each other and promote greater understanding.

Patrons can check out There There from the library now. Extra copies of the books will be available in January 2020 at all neighborhood libraries, and e-books will be downloadable from the library catalog, thanks to the generous support of The Library Foundation. The library encourages readers to share extra copies with friends, coworkers and neighbors.

Beginning in January 2020, share your thoughts at a book discussion at your neighborhood library or bookstore.

Attend a cultural program. The library will announce dates and locations at

Be inspired.
Orange will speak on Thursday, March 5 at 7:30 pm at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Tickets are available from Literary Arts.

Everybody Reads, a community reading project of Multnomah County Library, is made possible in part by The Library Foundation with author appearance made possible by Literary Arts.