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Author Nabil Ayers to Kick Off New 'Small Talk' Series as Part of FHI's Left of Black

My Life In the Sunshine book cover

Author Nabil Ayers — born from the union between Louise Braufman, a white Jewish former ballerina, and American funk, soul, and jazz musician Roy Ayers — will visit the Webby Award-nominated podcast Left of Black for a special in-person event to discuss his new critically acclaimed memoir, My Life in the Sunshine: Searching for My Father and Discovering My Family.

In the book, Ayers paints the portrait of a loving single mother who doted over her son while acknowledging the childhood pain from his celebrity father's intentional absence all while navigating a mixed-race identity through the 70's & 80's. In their review, The Cleveland Review of Books writes, "Ayers achieves a tenor that few memoirs do, fully embracing and speaking to the old adage 'the personal is political.'"

On Wednesday, October 25, from 6:30 to 8 PM, join host and series creator Dr. Mark Anthony Neal as he converses with Ayers at the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI) at Duke University. Free copies of My Life in the Sunshine will be available for the first 25 attendees. The event will be held at the Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall located in Bay 4 of the Smith Warehouse in Durham. Register to attend here.     

“Left of Black Presents: Small Talk at FHI” is a new event sub-series inspired by the legendary jazz poet Gil Scott-Heron’s first album, Small Talk at 125th and Lenox. It is an attempt to recreate the same type of intimacy ever-present in Scott-Heron’s groundbreaking work. Named after famed African American historian John Hope Franklin, the FHI became the institutional home of Left of Black in 2019 during its 10th season.