Acclaimed, best-selling writers fill the 2024 Authors Visiting in Des Moines (AViD) lineup

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Literary legends James Patterson and Joyce Carol Oates lead a slate of established and emerging authors

The Des Moines Public Library’s annual Authors Visiting in Des Moines (AViD) speaker series returns this spring with five free programs featuring some of the biggest names in literature, a debut novelist whose book received universal critical acclaim, and more. All AViD events are free and open to the public.

“We are thrilled with the way this year’s lineup came together,” said Tim Paluch, DMPL’s Marketing & Communications Supervisor and organizer of the AViD series. “Not only will we be kicking the season off with one of the most buzzed-about authors in America right now, we’ll also follow that up with a full slate of best-selling novelists and legends of the literary world.”

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The 2024 series kicks off with Kaveh Akbar at Central Library at 7 PM on Thursday, March 21. Akbar is one of America’s most recognized poets, and his debut novel, Martyr!, was released last month. The book was an instant bestseller and received universal acclaim, with The New York Times Book Review calling it “nothing short of miraculous.” Martyr! tells the story of a newly sober, orphaned poet and son of Iranian immigrants who embarks on a profound search for meaning – guided by the voices of artists, poets, and kings. Akbar lives in Iowa City.

On Wednesday, April 10, James Patterson will speak at Scottish Rite Consistory, 519 Park St. in downtown Des Moines at 7 PM. With more than 425 million books sold and the most No. 1 New York Times bestsellers ever, Patterson is the most popular storyteller in modern history, with a massive collection of books that span genres. He is the creator of characters and series like Alex Cross, the Women’s Murder Club, and Maximum Ride; written true stories about the Kennedys, John Lennon, Princess Diana, and military heroes; and co-authored novels with Bill Clinton and Dolly Parton. His new nonfiction book, The Secret Lives of Booksellers and Librarians, will be released April 8. Patterson will be in conversation with The Des Moines Register’s Courtney Crowder. Tickets to a special VIP event prior to James Patterson’s program are also on sale now. Go to dmpl.org/foundation for more information.

Two bestselling authors will discuss their work together at Central Library at 7 PM on Thursday, May 2: Gregg Hurwitz, author of the Orphan X series, and Nick Petrie, author of the Peter Ash series. Hurwitz has written two dozen novels, and his latest in the Orphan X series, Lone Wolf, will be released this week. Petrie’s latest Peter Ash novel, The Price You Pay, was released last week.

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Joyce Carol Oates will speak at Central Library at 7 PM on Thursday, May 30, to discuss her new novel, Butcher (release date: May 21). Oates is one of the most prolific and revered novelists of the past 60 years, and has authored nearly 60 novels (including Blonde, them, and more), plus dozens of plays, novellas, short story and essay collections, as well as poetry and nonfiction works. She has won the National Humanities Medal, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Life Achievement Award, is a five-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, and is the namesake for the prestigious Joyce Carol Oates Prize, awarded each year to a fiction author. Butcher uses historical documents to tell the harrowing story of a women’s asylum in the 19th century, and a terrifying doctor fueled by dangerous obsessions.

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The 2024 AViD season concludes on Thursday, June 13 at 7 PM at Central Library with popular romance author Jasmine Guillory, dubbed the “undisputed queen of modern-day romance” by Vogue. Guillory is the beloved author of bestsellers such as The Wedding Date, The Proposal, and Drunk on Love. She also writes a popular newsletter, is a regular guest on the Today Show, and speaks across the country about the importance of writing about Black heroines and breaking literary stereotypes.

With support from the Des Moines Public Library Foundation and its generous donors, including Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities, AViD has celebrated the literary arts in Des Moines since 2001. All AViD events are free and open to the public. Seating is first-come, first-served. Books will be available for purchase at each event, courtesy of Beaverdale Books. Authors will sign books at the end of each program.

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For more details on the events and authors, go to dmpl.org/avid.

About the Des Moines Public Library

Founded in 1866, the Des Moines Public Library is the public library system for the City of Des Moines. With six branches and a collection of nearly a half million items, the Des Moines Public Library is the largest public library system in the state of Iowa. The mission of the Des Moines Public Library is to strengthen our community by connecting people with ideas and tools they need to enrich their lives.

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