Rochester Reads!

Inaugurated in 2001 with Ernest J. Gaines’ award‐winning novel, A Lesson before Dying, Rochester Reads is an annual city‐wide tradition. With over 25 community‐based activities delivered during the month of October, Rochester Reads inspires readers to deepen self‐understanding, engage thoughtfully with important issues, and connect with one another through the shared experience of literature. The program culminates with a multi‐day visit from the featured Rochester Reads author.


Jason Mott’s 2021 National Book Award‐winning novel, Hell of 
a Book, is our featured 2022 Rochester Reads selection. Called “brilliant and inventive” by The Sunday Times (UK) and an “unflinching meditation on racism, violence, and navigating life as a Black man in America . . . a surreal and searing triumph” by Shelf Awareness for Readers, Hell of a Book is at once about family, love of parents and children, art and money. It also is about the nation’s reckoning with a tragic police shooting playing over and over again on the news.

“A surrealist feast of imagination that’s brimming with very real horrors, frustrations, and sorrows . . . his is an achievement of American fiction that rises to meet this particular moment with charm, wisdom, and truth.” — BookPage

Bestselling author, National Book Award Winner, Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction Winner, Pushcart Prize nominee, NAACP Image Award nominee, and Carnegie Medals For Excellence Longlist nominee, Jason Mott is the author of two poetry collections: We Call This Thing Between Us Love and “…hide behind me…” and four novels: The Returned, The Wonder of All Things, The Crossing, and Hell Of A Book.

Reader’s Guide to Hell of a Book

Community Events, October 6 – November 15

Feature Events with Jason Mott, November 1-3

There are no upcoming events at this time

Program Sponsors

Learn about our corporate sponsorship opportunities. For more information or to donate, email Alison Meyers.

Listen and watch:


A look back at Rochester Reads 2021