Read the book. Join the conversation. 

Tacoma Reads draws the community together to discuss Tommy Orange’s bestselling debut novel, “There There” 

Tacoma Reads is a partnership of the City of Tacoma, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, and Tacoma Public Library, and is supported by King’s Books, Pierce County Library System,  Puyallup Public Library, Tacoma Public Schools, and UW Tacoma 

TACOMA, WASH—Tacoma Reads is a local community reading program that seeks to unite the community in dialogue around contemporary themes through reading a common text. The 2019 Tacoma Reads selection is the bestselling debut novel “There There” by Tommy Orange. On Friday, Sept. 20 at 6:30 p.m., Orange will visit Tacoma for a fireside-style chat entitled “A Conversation with Tommy Orange Hosted by Mayor Victoria Woodards at Tacoma’s historic Rialto Theater (310 S. 9th Street)This is a free, community event with advance ticket registration opening on July 22 at 11 a.m. 

Described as “groundbreaking, extraordinary” by The New York Times, “There There” is multi-generational, relentlessly paced story of 12 urban Native Americans traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow, interconnected in ways they may not yet realize 

“There There has earned numerous accolades, including winning the the PEN/Hemingway Award, the the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and being selected as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. It was listed as one of the Best Books of the Year in The Washington Post, NPR, Time, O, The Oprah Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, BuzzFeed, San Francisco Chronicle, and The Boston Globe. Entertainment Weekly called the book “the year’s most galvanizing debut novel,” while The Washington Post described it as “MasterfulWhite-hotDevastating. 

Author Tommy Orange, opens a new window is a recent graduate from the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. He is a 2014 MacDowell Fellow, and a 2016 Writing by Writers Fellow. He is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. He was born and raised in Oakland, California, and lives in Angel’s Camp, California. 

Following program tradition, a local committee presented Mayor Woodards with a selection of titles to choose from for Tacoma Reads 2019. In March of this year, the mayor announced she had chosen “There There.” 

“In partnership with the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, we have unique opportunities to host community conversations and programming to engage all of us more deeply in learning about the urban Native American experience as well as the long lasting impacts of heritage and culture,” stated Mayor Victoria Woodards. “Tommy Orange’s award-winning first novel offers complex characters grappling with the concept of identity, a captivating plot, and vividly descriptive writing.” 

The Puyallup Tribe of Indians and the Tacoma Public Library are working closely with the mayor on the programming for Tacoma Reads.  

“This book about identity and serious issues facing Native Americans and urban tribes is a wonderful choice for Tacoma Reads, and our tribe is happy to support it,” said David Z. Bean, chairman of the Puyallup Tribe of Indians. “I encourage our members and anyone interested in learning more to participate in the upcoming events.” 

“Tacoma Reads is a very special program, drawing readers from throughout the community together to discuss compelling and contemporary themes,” Tacoma Public Library Director Kate Larsen stated. “Along with our community partners, we are excited to welcome Tommy Orange to Tacoma, and to offer a variety of programs, including book discussions, a film series, and more. I encourage everyone to read the book and join the conversation.  

Community members are encouraged to visit their local Tacoma Public LibraryPierce County Library, opens a new window, or Puyallup Library, opens a new window to borrow a copy of “There There.” The book is available in several formats, including large print, ebook, and audio book. The novel is available to purchase at local independent bookstore, King’s Books“There There” contains mature themes and is recommended for ages 16 and up. Information on Tacoma Reads programming will be available on TPL’s events calendar at, and on the Puyallup Tribe’s events calendar at, opens a new window 

Tickets for the author event with Tommy Orange are free and first-come, first-served, with advance registrationVisit or call 253.591.5894 starting on July 22 at 11 a.m. to reserve seats for this special event.  


About the City of Tacoma 

The City of Tacoma provides high-quality, innovative, and cost-effective municipal services that enhance the lives of its citizens and the quality of Tacoma’s neighborhoods and business districts.  

About the Puyallup Tribe of Indians 

The Puyallup People have lived along the shores of what is now called Puget Sound for thousands of years. The Puyallup Tribe of Indians is a sovereign nation of more than 5,000 members and one of the largest employers in Pierce County. It serves its people and neighbors with generosity and is committed to building a sustainable way of life for future generations. Learn more about the Puyallup Tribe.  

About Tacoma Public Library 

The Tacoma Public Library serves the Tacoma, Washington, community with eight branches and year-round services and programming. Tacoma Public Library provides access to ideas and perspectives from around the world, and through innovative library services, stimulates the development of literacy, knowledge, wisdom, critical thought, and valuable interaction that yields positive experiences and a thriving community. 

Media Contact: 

Mariesa Bus, Public Information Officer | | 253.292.2001 x1220