Dinaw Mengestu

This year’s Seattle Reads program offers seven chances to meet the young, acclaimed author of The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears (Riverhead, $14). His 2007 debut is a melting-pot novel, set in a poor section of our nation’s capital, where huddled masses gather. Mengestu is an immigrant himself, whose parents fled Ethiopia during that country’s “Red Terror” of the ’70s, which still haunts several characters in the book. His narrator lives a clannish, rueful existence among fellow refugees, with entire villages transplanted into a seedy old D.C. apartment building. There he muses, “How many Ethiopians can you fit into an elevator? All of them.” As a journalist (for Harper’s, Rolling Stone, and others), Mengestu has reported on Darfur and child soldiers in Uganda. As a speaker, he ought to find sympathetic ears here in a city with a growing East African population and a rich history of immigration. See www.spl.org for the full schedule of events through Sat., May 10. Green Lake Public Library, 7364 E. Green Lake Dr. N., 684-7547. Free. Noon. Douglass-Truth Branch Library, 2300 E. Yesler Way, 684-4704. Free. 7 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

Wed., May 7; May 7-10, 2008

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