Whatcom READS works with local partners to create experiences that enhance book club discussions of this year’s featured title, Washington Black by Esi Edugyan


BELLINGHAM, WA – Whatcom READS announces new book club experiences to enhance discussions of this year’s featured title, Washington Black by award winning author Esi Edugyan. The programs include book club discussion questions and resources; a chance to schedule a facilitated book discussion with local social justice leaders; and themed cocktails and to-go meals from Evolve Chocolate + Café. Find more information and register below.

Facilitated online book club discussions – limited availability through March 31, 2021

Explore anti-racism with a local social justice leader. This program is supported by a generous grant from the Equity Fund of the Whatcom Community Foundation.

Local social justice leaders Masa DeLara, Dr. Vernon Damani Johnson and Shu-Ling Zhao are available to join virtual book group discussions. Readers will have a safe space to discuss social justice themes in Washington Black and to explore how they connect with issues in our community. To learn more and to request a facilitator, complete the form HERE. Book clubs will also find downloadable discussion questions on the website.

Think, Drink and Dine – Book Club Kit or Three-Course To-Go Dinner

Washington Black Book Club Kit – available now through March 5, 2021

Take your virtual Washington Black book club discussion to the next level with a Think & Drink Book Club Kit from Evolve Chocolate + Café, on the mezzanine level of Village Books in Fairhaven. You’ll receive discussion questions, a themed cocktail or mocktail, and Whatcom READS bookmark and posters (while supplies last). Purchase at the counter. To order five or more kits, please call ahead, (360) 220-1898. Check Evolve’s website for their current hours.

Washington Black book with cocktail

$10, single serving
• Barbados Punch: Kraken rum, lime juice, falernum liqueur, angostura bitters, candied orange
• Or Virgin Punch (non-alcoholic): Seedlip botanical, lime juice, almond simple, angostura bitters, candied orange
• Discussion questions and Whatcom READS’ bookmark and poster (while supplies last).

Three-Course To-Go Dinner inspired by Washington Black – available March 4, 2021 only (limited availability)
Chef Christy Fox at Evolve Chocolate + Café has created a memorable menu to honor this year’s Whatcom READS title, Washington Black. Make reservations for curbside pickup then dine at home while watching author Esi Edugyan’s 7 p.m. March 4 virtual book talk. Register for the book talk HERE.

For meal reservations, PRE ORDER HERE.

Washington Black Three Course Dinner Menu
$35 per person
March 4, 2021
Pick up 4pm-6pm

Shaved Green Apple Salad

Farm Wild aquaponic greens, chokeberry reduction (aka aronia berry), toasted peanuts

Lacquered Salmon

applewood smoked coho salmon (f/v nerka) glazed with dark rum+black strap molasses,
sea salt smashed potatoes, cashew “hollandaise”, wilted greens

Saffron Rice Pudding

ginger infused coconut milk, basmati rice, toasted almond


Barbados Punch
Kraken rum, lime juice, falernum liqueur, angostura bitters, candied orange 10
Seedlip botanical, lime juice, almond simple, angostura bitters, candied orange 10

To reserve and schedule pick up: PRE ORDER HERE

See the complete list of Whatcom READS’ 2021 virtual programs and pre-register at whatcomreads.org/events.

About Whatcom READS: Now in its 13th year, Whatcom READS is presented by all the public and academic libraries in Bellingham and Whatcom County and community partner Village Books. Whatcom READS is generously supported by numerous community collaborators. Check out Washington Black or download the eBook or audiobook at the library or purchase it from Village Books, which donates 10% of all sales to Whatcom READS. Learn more at whatcomreads.org.

About the 2021 Selection: Washington Black by Esi Edugyan “is an enthralling meditation on the weight of freedom, wrapped in a rousing adventure story stretching to the ends of the earth.” (Renée Graham, Boston Globe)

Canadian author Esi Edugyan writes richly imagined and impeccably researched stories that illuminate complicated truths about race and belonging. She is only the third writer to twice win the Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada’s most prestigious literary award. Published in 2018, Washington Black was included in numerous best books of the year lists and shortlisted for the Booker Prize. In addition to being a beautifully written adventure story, Washington Black will amplify community discussions regarding racism and social justice.


Media contact: Mary Vermillion, mary.vermillion@wcls.org, (360) 305-3545