San Francisco Public Library Announces 2019 One City One Book

For Immediate Release: 7/26/19

Media Contact: Jaime Wong
(415) 557-4295 | Jaime.Wong@sfpl.org

San Francisco Public Library Announces 2019 One City One Book

There There  
By Tommy Orange

San Francisco, CA — San Francisco Public Library is excited to announce that ThereThere, by Tommy Orange, has been selected as the 15th Annual One City One Book. The selection of There There—a novel that the New York Times calls a “revelation”—as this year’s One City One Book title is a key part of a citywide initiative to shine a spotlight on Indigenous Peoples in the Bay Area this fall.

There There tells the story of urban Native Americans living in Oakland, CA, depicting a beautiful and urgently real landscape of the Native experience in the Bay Area past and present day. This compelling read grapples with complex and painful histories through a constellation of twelve characters from Native communities. As the characters each make their individual journeys to the Big Oakland Powwow, they discover truths about themselves, and eventually each other, long buried but ready to be brought into the light.

“We are proud to select There There as this year’s must-read for San Francisco’s One City One Book program. The goal of this citywide literary event is to build bridges between communities and generations through reading and discussing a single book, and to encourage reading as both a lifelong pursuit and an essential act of empathy. The powerful depiction of these characters’ experiences—rendered with stunning impact by Orange’s sheer writing virtuosity—has kept me turning the book over in my mind since reading it. I encourage all to join in this conversation,” said City Librarian Michael Lambert.

Since the publication of the hardcover by Knopf in June 2018, There There has been a national bestseller, received four starred reviews, and was named as Best Book of the Year by the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, NPR, and Time Magazine. Additionally, the novel received the PEN/Hemingway Award and was a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in fiction.

Read There There and join the Library for its exciting 15th Annual One City One Book programs. Copies of the book will be featured in all San Francisco libraries and at bookstores around the city. Throughout the months of October and November 2019, There There will be widely available at all San Francisco libraries and at bookstores around the city.

The Library is thrilled to offer many events and programs related to One City One Book. Among the many offerings, Tommy Orange will be discussing his work with San Francisco Poet Laureate Kim Shuck on October 16 at the Koret Auditorium at the Main Library. Additionally, the Library will be hosting book talks, themed exhibits and a city-wide celebration of American Indian heritage and the 50th anniversary of the Alcatraz Uprising.

This year’s One City One Book program is a joint partnership with the San Francisco Arts Commission, Oakland Public Library, City College of San Francisco and June Jordan School of Equity. 

Featured Event
Tommy Orange in Conversation – Oct. 16, 6 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium

For more information, see sfpl.org/onecityonebook.

About the Author
Tommy Orange 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 currently lives in Angels Camp, California. (Photo credit: Elena Seibert)

Editorial Reviews + Awards

  • PEN/Hemingway Award winner, 2019
  • The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize winner, 2019
  • National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize winner, 2018
  • Pulitzer Prize (Fiction) finalist, 2019
  • Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction finalist, 2019
  • Art Seidenbaum Award finalist, 2019
  • Aspen Words Literary Prize finalist, 2019
  • Best Book of the Year, New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, Time, O, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe

“Powerful. . . . There There has so much jangling energy and brings so much news from a distinct corner of American life that it’s a revelation.”

The New York Times

“An exquisite mix of unflinching anger and sadness and humor.”

The San Francisco Chronicle

“A rush of intensity and fervor… Bursting with talent and big ideas… Funny and profane and conscious of the violence that runs like a scar through American culture.”
The Seattle Times

“Masterful. White-hot. A devastating debut novel.”
The Washington Post

“A gripping deep dive into urban indigenous community in California: an astonishing literary debut!”
—Margaret Atwood, via Twitter


There There drops on us like a thunderclap; the big, booming, explosive sound of 21st century literature finally announcing itself. Essential.”
—Marlon James, author of A Brief History of Seven Killings

“With a literary authority rare in a debut novel, it places Native American voices front and center before readers’ eyes.” —NPR/Fresh Air

“A symphonic debut…Engrossing… There There introduces an exciting voice.”
Booklist (starred review) “Commanding…The propulsion of both the overall narrative and its players are breathtaking as Orange unpacks how decisions of the past mold the present,resulting in a haunting and gripping story.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Visceral… A chronicle of domestic violence, alcoholism, addiction, and pain,the book reveals the perseverance and spirit of the characters… Unflinching candor… Highly recommended.”
Library Journal (starred review)

“Kaleidoscopic… In this vivid and moving book, Orange articulates the challenges and complexities not only of Native Americans, but also of America itself.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

About One City One Book


One City One Book: San Francisco Reads is an annual citywide literary event that encourages members of the San Francisco community to read the same book at the same time and then discuss it in book groups and at events throughout the City. By building bridges between communities and generations through the reading and most importantly the discussion of – one book, we hope to help to make reading a lifelong pursuit and to build a more literate society. Sponsors for One City One Book include the San Francisco Public Library and Friends of the San Francisco Public Library. The program is also supported by many bookstore partners, program partners and media sponsors.