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Audio version


New Orleans COGNOTES




Poetry Slam Champion Gayle Danley to Speak Monday

Gayle Danley is a championship poet and grief writer who has won both the national and international poetry slam titles. Her passion is teaching kids, through slam poetry, how to soothe their wounds. Danley traces her love for words, especially spoken word, to her childhood in Georgia, where she soaked up encyclopedias and carried around a book of rhymes (“Jack Sprat could eat no fat…” “Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear…”) because she adored how silly they were. “She was always reading and going to the library,” reports her uncle, who with his wife raised Danley as a child. This session will take place on Monday, June 25, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.

Danley will present “Poets Lives Matter: Poems from the Road,” sharing her electrifying original poetry about her experiences as a master teaching artist visiting schools, libraries, and detention facilities across the nation.

Danley has been named the Maryland Library Association’s Poet of the Year for 2018, the Young Audiences of Maryland Artist of the Year, and Young Audiences National Artist of the Year. She recently joined the Kennedy Center’s roster of master teaching artists, providing high-level arts integration workshops for language arts educators. She has been featured on 60 Minutes, in the Baltimore Sun, and the Washington Post. Her alma maters include Howard University and Syracuse University.

Get details and add to your schedule now.


Friday, June 22
5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday, June 23-24
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Monday, June 25
9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Auditorium Speaker Series
Saturday, Sunday, and Monday


Gayle Danley Auditorium Speaker Series
Monday 6/25 10:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden Moderates a Conversation with Michelle Obama

Librarian of Congress President Carla Hayden will sit down with Michelle Obama to discuss Obama’s new book, Becoming.

Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is a lawyer, author, and the wife of the 44th President, Barack Obama. Through her initiatives as First Lady, she has become a role model for women and girls, and an advocate for healthy families, service members and their families, higher education, and international adolescent girls’ education. She will appear at the opening general session of the 2018 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference and Exhibition on Friday, June 22, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m., at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Her appearance is sponsored by Penguin Random House.

Michelle Obama Opening General Session
Friday 6/22, 4:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Sponsored by Penguin Random House

The former First Lady’s much-anticipated memoir, Becoming, will be published in the U.S. and Canada on November 13, by Crown, a division of Penguin Random House, and will be released simultaneously in 24 languages. Considered one of the most popular first ladies of recent times, Obama, in her book, invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her – from her childhood on the south side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work – to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations – and whose story inspires us to do the same.

Writing Becoming “allowed me, for the very first time, the space to honestly reflect on the unexpected trajectory of my life. I hope my journey inspires readers to find the courage to become whoever they aspire to be.”

Obama has described writing Becoming as “a deeply personal experience. It has allowed me, for the very first time, the space to honestly reflect on the unexpected trajectory of my life. I hope my journey inspires readers to find the courage to become whoever they aspire to be. I can’t wait to share my story.”

A product of Chicago public schools, Obama studied sociology and African-American studies at Princeton University and is a graduate of Harvard Law School. She started her career as an attorney at the Chicago law firm Sidley & Austin, where she met her future husband, Barack Obama. She later worked in the Chicago mayor’s office, at the University of Chicago, and at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Mrs. Obama also founded the Chicago chapter of Public Allies, an organization that prepares young people for careers in public service.

Get details and add to your schedule now.

Viola Davis to Close New Orleans Conference June 26

Viola Davis will close the 2018 Annual Conference as she discusses her children’s book, Corduroy Takes a Bow. Illustrated by Jody Wheeler, Davis celebrates 50 years of America’s favorite teddy bear with a brand new, classically illustrated picture book. Using her own experiences as a Tony Award-winning Broadway actress, Davis writes the story of Corduroy and Lisa’s first trip to the theater. As usual, Corduroy adventures off on his own, and readers follow his escapades as he explores all over: from the orchestra pit, to the costumes rack, to the props table, and ultimately onto the stage itself, before being reunited with Lisa. A beautifully illustrated tale with a classic feel, sure to spark an interest in theater in children of any age. The book will be available Fall 2018. This session will take place on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Davis is a critically revered, awardwinning actress of film, television and theater. She is the first black actress to win Tony (“Fences” and “King Hedley II”), Oscar (“Fences”) and Emmy (“How to Get Away with Murder”) awards for acting. Davis is currently starring in the fourth season of “How to Get Away with Murder,” a role for which she became the first African American actress to receive the Emmy Award for “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series». In 2012, Davis and her husband founded their production company, JuVee Productions, with a focus on giving a voice to the voiceless through strong, impactful, and culturally relevant narratives. Davis will next star in Steve Mc- Queen’s “Widows,” alongside Colin Farrell and Liam Neeson.

Davis’ appearance at the conference is sponsored by Penguin Young Readers.

Get details and add to your schedule now.

Viola Davis Closing General Session
Tuesday 6/26, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.
Sponsored by Penguin Young Readers