April 14, 2016

New York City’s first lady is starting a book club


NYC’s first lady will open up Gracie Mansion for her new book club; (Photo via Wikipedia)

Chirlene McCray, wife of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, is starting a book club. In its first season, the club will choose six books, and events will be held at Gracie Mansion. According to the press release, the Gracie Book Club is meant to “both foster conversation on a curated selection of literary works and make the spirit of Gracie Mansion, the People’s House, more accessible to more New Yorkers.”

McCray is quoted in the release:

New York City is defined by the many immigrant groups that have sought refuge here from across the globe, as well as the beautiful languages, values and traditions that they have brought with them. We are proud to continue to use Gracie Mansion to shine new light on the often untold stories of our city’s diverse communities with the Gracie Book Club.

McCray is working with three moderators for the 2016-2017 season, all NYC authors. Together with McCray, James Hannaham, Jacqueline Woodson, and A.M. Homes are working with the theme Envisioning Distant Neighbors, “which aims to open dialogue on New York City’s diversity and rich immigrant community.”

Elizabeth DeBold, a spokesperson for the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, told DNAinfo,”The first lady is a writer and a poet, and so she feels very passionate about how sharing stories and shared reading can create shared experiences and community.” The club’s first selection, chosen by McCray and Hannaham, is Bright Lines, written by Tanwi Nandini Islam. McCray, Hannaham, and Islam will all be present at the discussion.

Tickets to the May 17th meeting at Gracie Mansion are free but limited. From May 2nd through May 4th, visit here to enter the into the ticket giveaway.


Julia Fleischaker is a former director of marketing and publicity at Melville House.