Penguin Random House UK has announced former US First Lady Michelle Obama will be appearing in conversation with novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall in December. It also revealed a partnership with gal-dem magazine and Waterstones that will see a pop-up shop devoted to books by women and non-binary people of colour open in central London for one week this month.
The Penguin Live event will be Obama's only public appearance in the UK to promote her forthcoming memoir Becoming (Viking). Taking place on Monday 3rd December 2018, it falls in the midst of a 10-city tour in the US that kicks off in Chicago on the book's global publication date, 13th November, and finishes on 19th December in Brooklyn, New York.
During the evening Obama will reflect on her memoir and the experiences that have shaped her - from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive, balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at The White House. Obama will recount her journey including her triumphs and her disappointments "with unerring honesty", share "life lessons learned" and "inspire people to become the very best version of themselves", the publisher said.
In total the capacity of the Royal Festival Hall auditorium is just over 2,700 people. An allocation of tickets for ‘Becoming: An Evening with Michelle Obama’ will go on sale to Southbank Centre Members at 10am on Wednesday 7th November and a further allocation will go on sale to the general public at 10am on Thursday 8th November. There are four bands of ticket prices - £125, £90, £65 and £30 – and each ticket will include a hardback copy of Becoming (RRP £25), supplied by Waterstones.
Obama, the Southbank Centre and Penguin Live will also donate 300 free tickets to secondary school pupils from across London and the UK, and to some local charities, as part of Obama's work with and in support of young people.
In addition, the publisher has also revealed a partnership with gal-dem magazine and Waterstones Gower Street that will see a pop-up shop devoted to books by women and non-binary people of colour open in central London for one week from 23rd November.
The shop at 2 Bury Place in Bloomsbury, London, will serve as the venue for a series of events, including evening events and parties and school workshops during the day, featuring black women and non-binary authors, journalists, entrepreneurs and activists. The line-up is curated by gal-dem and includes: a panel discussion on black motherhood in light of Obama’s influence; a book club event with Dialogue Books’ Sharmaine Lovegrove; a storytelling event with Jinan Younis of gal-dem; and schools workshops on mental health and confidence, hosted by Rianna Walcott, editor of The Colour of Madness.
The shop will also host an exhibition of photos from Obama’s life featured in Becoming that, at the end of the exhibition, will then be donated to Brixton’s Black Cultural Archives, the only national repository of Black history and culture in the UK.
Liv Little, editor-in-chief of gal-dem, commented: "We’re thrilled to be working with Penguin for the launch of Michelle Obama’s book. She’s an icon and an inspiration for so many young people and we’re honoured to have the opportunity to celebrate her life and legacy."
Viking also recently announced that it will be donating proceeds from a staff sale of Becoming to Brixton-based youth project, The Advocacy Academy.
Becoming is published by Viking in hardback, ebook and audio (read by Michelle Obama) on 13th November.