Talking Leaves and Exhibit X Introduce Gabriel Bump and his debut novel Everywhere You Don't Belong
On February 4, Algonguin Books will publish Gabriel Bump's powerful, edgy, and funny novel, Everywhere You Don't Belong. Talking Leaves and UB's Exhibit X are teaming up to celebrate the book's publication and to give Gabriel a hearty hometown send-off for his national book tour with a reading and conversation at Hallwalls on release day. The event is open to the public and free, though purchase of a book is actively encouraged. Anyone wishing to have a book signed by the author is expected to purchase it from Talking Leaves as an act of support and respect for the author, his publisher, and the bookstore hosting and co-sponsoring the event.
In his alternately witty and heartbreaking debut, Gabriel Bump has created an unforgettable protagonist, Claude McKay Love. Claude isn’t dangerous or brilliant—he’s an average kid coping with abandonment, violence, riots, failed love, and societal pressures as he steers his way past the signposts of youth: childhood friendships, basketball tryouts, first love, first heartbreak, picking a college, moving away from home. Claude just wants a place where he can fit. As a young black man born on the South Side of Chicago, he is raised by his civil rights–era grandmother, who tries to shape him into a principled actor for change; yet when riots consume his neighborhood, he hesitates to take sides, unwilling to let race define his life. He decides to escape Chicago for another place, to go to college, to find a new identity, to leave the pressure cooker of his hometown behind. But as he discovers, he cannot; there is no safe haven for a young black man in this time and place called America. Percolating with fierceness and originality, attuned to the ironies inherent in our twenty-first-century landscape, Everywhere You Don’t Belong marks the arrival of a brilliant young talent.
Early readers have been effusive in praise of this young writer's craft, maturity, and authority:
"This book is astonishing. You'll be smiling even as your heart is breaking, and you'll tip willingly into this world Bump offers you because what appears again and again are spectacular beams of light, also called love, also called hope, also called family. Gabriel Bump has established himself as a stunning talent to be reckoned with.”
—Maaza Mengiste, author of The Shadow King
"Some works you read them and you sense that you will never quite engage life as you did before. Bump is a storyteller at the top of his game, testifying through characters we love and hate, with dialogue so lean, mean and ready, it's explosive. Everywhere You Don’t Belong is a literary blues, raw and rowdy and big and brawling, yet smooth and polished and crafty, a novel that a city like Chicago deserves. Gabriel has achieved here that special confluence of the writer, the craft, and the moment that makes art we cannot afford to ignore, especially at this moment.”
—Arthur Flowers, author of Another Good Loving Blues and I See the Promised Land
“Sometimes you open a book and you know from the very first page, this thing's alive. You know what I mean? (How often does this not happen? You open a book and it’s just a book?) Gabriel Bump's Everywhere You Don't Belong’s got a racing pulse, and a beautiful propulsion, a ton of humor, wonderful dialogue, deep characterization, and cold-eyed-truth.”
—Peter Orner, author of Maggie Brown and Others
Gabriel Bump grew up in South Shore, Chicago. He moved to Buffalo after receiving his MFA in fiction from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His fiction and fiction have appeared in Slam magazine, the Huffington Post, Springhouse Journal, and other publications. He was awarded the 2016 Deborah Slosberg Memorial Award for Fiction. He currently works as a teaching artist for Just Buffalo's Writing Center and teachs at UB while working on two new books.