WHY READING MATTERS CONFERENCE 2018: Reading Without Boundaries

April 2018




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Keynote Speaker: Alvin Irby, Founder of Barbershop Books
Winner of the 2017 Innovations in Reading Prize

Alvin Irby Barbershop Books
Alvin Irby Barbershop Books

Alvin Irby is an award-winning educator, comedian, and entrepreneur. As Founder and Chief Reading Inspirer at Barbershop Books, winner of the National Book Foundation’s 2017 Innovations in Reading Prize, Irby has expanded book access for thousands of children and inspired a national movement to promote reading in barbershops. As a 2015 StandUp NBC national finalist, he beat out more than 600 comedians nationwide to showcase his stand up comedy at the Hollywood Improv in Los Angeles, CA. Irby has established himself as a thought leader in early literacy and a cultural competency specialist, captivating audiences with his passionate keynotes and insightful workshops. In 2016, Irby published his debut children’s book Gross Greg, a laugh-out-loud story that combines his passion for humor and children’s literature. Irby holds a BA from Grinnell College, an MS in Childhood Education from Bank Street Graduate School of Education, and an MPA from New York University.


Author Talk:
Lisa Ko, The Leavers
2017 National Book Award Finalist

Lisa Ko author photo, credit: Bartosz Potocki
Lisa Ko, photo credit: Bartosz Potocki

Lisa Ko is the author of The Leavers, a novel which won the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction and was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award for Fiction, the 2018 PEN/Hemingway Award, and the 2017 Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award. Her writing has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2016, The New York Times, BuzzFeed, O. Magazine, and elsewhere. She has been awarded fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and the MacDowell Colony, among others. Born in Queens and raised in Jersey, she lives in Brooklyn.
Visit her at lisa-ko.com.

A full schedule of breakout presentations will be announced May 10, 2018.