Talk of the Stacks

Imbolo Mbue

A Virtual Event

March 10, 2021 AT 7:00 PM

Award-winning Novelist

How Beautiful We Are book cover

Imbolo Mbue, a resident of New York City and native of Limbe, Cameroon, burst onto the literary scene with her astonishing 2016 debut, Behold the Dreamers, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and was an Oprah’s Book Club selection. Named a notable book of the year by The New York Times and a best book of the year by close to a dozen publications, the novel is the unforgettable story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy.

Now Mbue returns with How Beautiful We Were, a sweeping story about the collision of a small African village and an American oil magnate (releasing March 2021). Of the new work, former U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith raves, “Imbolo Mbue is a storyteller of astonishing gifts…. How Beautiful We Were reminds me of how interconnected we remain, no matter who or where we are.”

Deeply embedded in Mbue’s fiction is an understanding of the trickle-down effect of history, in which the decisions of those in power impact lives both locally and globally. Richly detailed in her characterization, profoundly thoughtful in her ethical deliberations, and intimately evocative of her home and adoptive countries, Mbue consistently proves herself to be one of today’s most compelling young novelists.

The 2021 Talk of the Stacks series receives support from sponsors U.S. Bank, Noor Companies, and LSE Architects, as well as media sponsor Star Tribune.


This virtual event is FREE and open to the public. Registration for the Zoom event is required using the form linked HERE. If you have not used Zoom before, you may consider referencing Getting Started with Zoom. The talk will be followed by a live Q&A session with webinar participants.


Pre-order the new release through bookseller partner Magers & Quinn. Using your Hennepin County Library card, download past titles through the Libby App or OverDrive, or place a hold for pickup at a grab and go location.