Rochester Reads! – DRAFT

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.

Writers & Books Events with Jason Mott

Reading, Q & A, Book Signing

Sponsored by The Penfield Public Library & The Friends of the Penfield Public Library Penfield Public Library, 1985 Baird Road, Penfield, NY 14526 (also live streamed) Free Admission | ASL Interpretation […]

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Reading, Q & A, Book Signing

Sponsored by Friends & Foundation of the Rochester Public Library Central Library of Rochester & Monroe County (also live streamed) Kate Gleason Auditorium 115 South Avenue, Rochester, NY 14604 Free […]

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Reading, Facilitated Conversation, Book Signing

Sponsored by St. John Fisher University St. John Fisher University (also live streamed) Cleary Family Auditorium 3690 East Avenue Rochester, NY 14618 Doors open at 7 pm Registration required | […]

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Free – $20

Reception and Priority Seating at Keynote

Hosted by The Strong National Museum of Play The Strong National Museum of Play Central Lobby One Manhattan Square Rochester, NY 14607   Registration required

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Author’s Keynote and Book Signing

Hosted by The Strong National Museum of Play The Strong National Museum of Play (also live streamed) Paychex Theater One Manhattan Square, Rochester, NY Doors open at 7 pm | […]

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Free – $20

Program Sponsors as of 8/10/2022:

Charter Communications
Nocon & Associates: A private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC
St. John Fisher University
Penfield Public Library
Friends & Foundation of the Rochester Public Library
Community Partner: The Strong National Museum of Play

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