Author Ta-Nehisi Coates to speak at IU Oct. 23; tickets available Oct. 20

  • Oct. 15, 2015


BLOOMINGTON, Indiana -- Ta-Nehisi Coates, one of the nation’s most original and influential writers about race, will speak at Indiana University at the Musical Arts Center at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23. Tickets to the free event will be available at the MAC box office and online beginning at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20.

Coates is the author of "Between the World and Me," the New York Times bestseller that is written in the form of an emotional letter to his teenage son and addresses what it means to be black in America. An Atlantic national correspondent, Coates has written many influential articles, including "The Case for Reparations," which reignited the conversation of how to repay African-Americans for a system of institutional racism that robbed them of wealth and success for generations.

He is among this year’s 24 recipients of "genius" grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The foundation called Coates, "a highly distinctive voice (who is) emerging as a leading interpreter of American concerns to a new generation of media-savvy audiences and having a profound impact on the discussion of race and racism in this country."

The IU Bloomington School of Public and Environmental Affairs arranged the event with primary co-sponsors including The Media School, the College Arts and Humanities Institute and the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs. Coates’ lecture is also part of the Media School Speaker Series.

"Ta-Nehisi Coates' writing is provocative and impassioned, the topics are timely and his speeches draw huge crowds wherever he goes," SPEA Executive Associate Dean Michael McGuire said. "We’re proud that, with our campus partners, we can bring him to Bloomington."

After his public talk, Coates will meet privately with a racially diverse group of students from many universities attending the Public Policy and International Affairs Program conference at SPEA.

"That opportunity is initially what drew Ta-Nahisi Coates to Bloomington and then he graciously also agreed to give the speech at the MAC," said Michael Wilkerson, director of both the student conference and the Arts Administration Program at SPEA. "The issues he raises in his books and articles are similar to issues these students will face in their careers in public service."

Ticketing information:

Free general admission tickets to Coates’ speech will be issued online beginning at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20. Tickets also may be obtained in person at the Musical Arts Center box office, beginning at the same time. There is a two-ticket per person limit, whether online or in person.

All tickets are valid until 12:15 p.m. on the day of the event, so you must be in the Musical Arts Center by 12:15 p.m. or risk losing your seat. Any available seats at the time of the speech will be filled by those in a stand-by line. Doors to the Musical Arts Center will open at 11:30 a.m.

Media information:

In advance, news organizations will need to contact Jim Hanchett, director of marketing and communications at SPEA, at or 812-356-5490.

Media representatives may attend upon presentation of either a media-issued photo identification card or a letter from their employer on letterhead verifying their employment as a journalist, accompanied by an official photo identification card (driver’s license, passport).

Coates will not be available during his visit to meet with reporters.

IU Bloomington video

A brief video about Coates' IU Bloomington appearance, produced by the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President, is available online.

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Media Contacts

Jim Hanchett

  • School of Public and Environmental Affairs
  • Office 812-856-5490