Labyrinth Books and Princeton Public Library to host launch of Matthew Desmond’s ‘Poverty, By America’ March 23

Princeton University professor Matthew Desmond will discuss his new book, “Poverty, by America,” at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 23, at Nassau Presbyterian Church. 

Matthew Desmond

Presented by Labyrinth Books and the Princeton Public Library, the book launch event is free, but tickets are required. 

Desmond, a Pulitzer Prize-winning sociologist, draws on history, research, and original reporting to show how affluent Americans knowingly and unknowingly keep poor people poor. Desmond reimagines the debate on poverty, making a new argument about why it persists in America.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Author, educator, and activist Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, who writes and speaks about Black politics, social movements, and racial inequality in the United States and is a contributing writer at The New Yorker and a professor of African American Studies at Northwestern University, will join Desmond to discuss the book. Andrea Elliott, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for her book “Invisible Child,” will introduce the speakers. 

“I am honored to be collaborating with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and Andrea Elliott, two writers whose work has been fundamental to how I understand poverty and race in contemporary America,” Desmond said of the book launch.

Beginning March 1, tickets can be reserved through the events calendars on the library and Labyrinth Books websites.

“The library is pleased to join with Labyrinth Books for the launch of Professor Desmond’s new work,” said Janie Hermann, adult programming manager. “We’re looking forward to the insight this presentation will provide and appreciate the opportunity to co-present a program that furthers the library’s commitment to the issue of housing insecurity in our area.”

Labyrinth Books is donating part of the proceeds from the sale of Desmond’s book to Housing Initiatives of Princeton and Homefront, organizations that help homeless families and housing-insecure residents of Mercer County.

“This event brings together three of the most trenchant writers thinking about the roots of inequality and working for change in the U.S. today,” said Dorothea von Moltke of Labyrinth Books. “Desmond’s new book is not least a call to act and live differently, and it’s meaningful to me to be amplifying that call together with the library and our many co-sponsors.” 

This event is co-sponsored by Princeton University’s Humanities Council, sociology department, anthropology department, economics department, School of Public and International Affairs, and the Kahneman Treisman Center for Behavioral Science and Public Policy at Princeton, and by Housing Initiatives of Princeton and Homefront NJ. The event also is supported by a generous grant from the John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation with additional funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

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