January 14, 2021
The selection for the 2021 One Book, One Philadelphia was revealed by the Free Library of Philadelphia and the City of Philadelphia on Thursday.
For the first time, the program has chosen a book of poetry. "The Tradition" by Jericho Brown is a Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of poems that explores Blackness, queerness, masculinity, family, spirituality and the natural world.
One Book, One Philadelphia – now in its 19th year – is an initiative that encourages the greater Philadelphia region to come together by reading and discussing the same book.
The announcement of the selection marks the beginning of the reading period. The start of the official program, which will take place virtually this season, begins April 14 and runs through June 9.
There will be dozens of virtual events for all ages inspired by "The Tradition," including panel discussions, anti-racism workshops, book discussions, film screenings, creative workshops, poetry readings and musical performances.
On April 14, there will be a special author event featuring Brown in conversation with Philadelphia's poet laureate Trapeta B. Mayson.
Brown was a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award and the winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for "The Tradition." His previous collections of poetry include "Please" (2008), which won the American Book Award, and "The New Testament" (2014), which won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award.
Younger readers are invited to check out the youth companion titles "The Poet X" by Elizabeth Acevedo and "Hey Black Child" by Useni Eugene Perkins and Bryan Collier.
One Book, One Philadelphia will distribute copies of all three books to middle and high school students throughout the School District of Philadelphia.
Also, all Free Library locations will have copies of the books, as well as ebook copies and downloadable audiobooks.