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June 8, 2022 at 6pm

The Foundry

42-38 9th Street, Long Island City, NY

Available for viewing on our website July 11, 2022

Join us as Queens Public Library celebrates the homecoming of four literary stars who were nurtured at Queens Public Library and exemplify the promise of our borough – Jelani Cobb, Min Jin Lee, R.J. Palacio and Gary Shteyngart. We will present the inaugural Queens Public Library Award to our honorees at the in-person event on June 8, 2022, with virtual event available for viewing on our website on July 11, 2022.


Jelani Cobb

Jelani Cobb is the Director of the Lipman Center for Journalism in Civil and Human Rights at Columbia University and a professor at Columbia Journalism School. He has been a Staff Writer at the New Yorker since 2015 and in 2018 was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Commentary. He is the author and editor of six books, including The Matter of Black Lives: Writing from the New Yorker. His 2020 film "Whose Vote Counts?" received the Peabody Award for News Documentary.

Min Jin Lee

Min Jin Lee is the author of the novels Free Food for Millionaires and Pachinko, which was named a finalist for the National Book Award and a runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Her writing has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, One Story, The New York Times Book Review, and The Wall Street Journal. She is the recipient of fellowships in Fiction from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study at Harvard, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. In 2019, she was inducted into the New York Foundation for the Arts Hall of Fame. She is a Writer-in-Residence at Amherst College and serves as a trustee of PEN America and a director of the Authors Guild. She is at work on her third novel, American Hagwon and a nonfiction work, Name Recognition.

R. J. Palacio

R. J. PALACIO is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Wonder, which has sold over 13 million copies worldwide. The book's message inspired the Choose Kind movement and has been embraced by readers around the world, with the book published in over 50 languages. Wonder was made into a blockbuster movie starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, and Jacob Tremblay. Palacio’s other New York Times bestselling books include Pony, 365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s Book of Precepts, Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories, the picture book We’re All Wonders, and the graphic novel White Bird, which is currently being filmed as a major motion picture starring Gillian Anderson and Helen Mirren. Palacio lives in Brooklyn with her husband, two sons, and two dogs.

Gary Shteyngart

Gary Shteyngart is the New York Times bestselling author of the memoir Little Failure (a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist) and the novels Super Sad True Love Story (winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize), Lake Success, Absurdistan, and The Russian Debutante’s Handbook (winner of the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction). His books regularly appear on best-of lists around the world and have been published in thirty countries. His latest novel, OUR COUNTRY FRIENDS, was an instant New York Times bestseller and was named one of the best books of the year by the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Time, Kirkus Review, and others. New York Times critic Molly Young called it “the perfect novel for these times and all times, the single textual artifact from the pandemic era I would place in a time capsule as a representation of all that is good and true and beautiful about literature. I hope the extraterrestrials who exhume it will agree.”

Proof of vaccination will be required for this event. Additional Covid-19 policies and safety protocols for the evening will be shared closer to the event with confirmed attendees.

We invite you to support the Queens Public Library 2022 Gala by purchasing a sponsorship, placing an ad in our event journal, purchasing individual tickets, or making a donation. All proceeds will directly support programs and services at our libraries.

Please contact or 718-480-4278 to inquire about sponsorships or journal ads.

Thank you to our generous sponsors