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October 24, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

In-Person: An Evening with Raj Tawney & Vanessa Garcia


October 24, 2023
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Books & Books in Coral Gables
265 Aragon Ave
Coral Gables, FL 33134
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Books & Books presents…


in conversation with

Vanessa Garcia


Colorful Palate: A Flavorful Journey Through A Mixed-American Experience

(Fordham University Press, $24.95)

Tuesday, October 24th, 7:00 PM | Books & Books, Coral Gables


Books & Books is thrilled to present an evening with Raj Tawney and Vanessa Garcia to discuss Tawney’s moving and mouth-watering memoir Colorful Palate (Fordham University Press, $24.95). A timely self-examination of the “mixed” American experience featuring exclusive recipes and photographs from the author’s multicultural family.

This event is FREE and open to the public and books will be available for purchase the night of the event! Please RSVP only if you intend to join us.

About the Book:

As citizens continue to evolve and diversify within the United States, the ingredients that comprise each flavorful household are waiting to be discovered and devoured. In Colorful Palate, author Raj Tawney shares his coming-of-age memoir as a young man born into an Indian, Puerto Rican, and Italian-American family, his struggles with understanding his own identity, and the mouthwatering flavors of the melting pot from within his own childhood kitchen.While the world outside can be cruel and unforgiving, it’s even more complicated for a mixed-race kid, unsure of his place in the world. Turning to his mother and grandmother for guidance, Tawney’s assistance in the kitchen provided intimate moments and candor as he listened to the tales behind each culinary delicacy and the women who perfected them. Each lovingly prepared meal offered another opportunity to learn more about his extraordinary heritage. The ability to create delicious fare with his family wasn’t just a duty for the grand ladies who raised him; they were a survival tactic for navigating new and unknown cultures, not always willing to accept them at first or even a hundredth glance.

As Tawney examines both himself and his loved ones through the formative stages of his life, from boyhood through adulthood, he begins to realize, through all of the chaos and confusion, just how “American” he actually was.In this contemporary coming-of-age tale, Tawney tackles personal hot-button issues about race and identity through poignant, heartfelt moments centered around delicious meals. From succulent tandoori chicken to delectable arroz con habichuelas to scrumptious spaghetti and meatballs, Tawney shares his family recipes along with the intimate stories he overheard in the kitchen as he played sous chef to hundreds of recipes that not only span continents but come with their own personal histories attached. Colorful Palate is a tale of the mixed experience, one of the millions that rarely gets told, undefined by a single group or birthright, and unapologetic about its lack of classification.


About the Author:

Raj Tawney is a writer and journalist whose work largely reflects his New York-area upbringing and sensibility. Raised in an Indian, Puerto Rican, and Italian-American household, Tawney has explored his own race and identity through stories published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, NBC News, USA Today, Smithsonian Magazine, and many other outlets throughout the country.

About the Moderator:

Vanessa Garcia is a Cuban-American multidisciplinary writer — screenwriter, playwright, novelist, and journalist/essayist — who has written and worked for Sesame Street, where she’s been nominated for an Emmy (“Monster Meditation”), and won two Telly Awards (“Tamir On the Street”).

She’s the author of the novel, White Light, which won an International Latino Book Award and was one of NPRs best books of 2015. Her first Picture Book for children, What the Bread Says, launched October 1, 2022.

Vanessa also hosts a podcast about family with her own sister and mother called Never The Empty Nest, available anywhere you listen to podcasts.

She holds a PhD from the University of California Irvine in Creative Nonfiction. Her dissertation focused on Cuba.