A Photograph Brought to Life: A Novelist Reimagines Dorothea Lange's 'Migrant Mother'

This event took place on:
Tuesday, March 19, 7:15 - 9:00pm
  • Los Angeles Central Library's Mark Taper Auditorium
  • 630 W. Fifth Street
  • Los Angeles, CA 90071

Courtesy of ALOUD

Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children, age 32. Nipomo, California. "Migrant Mother" by Dorothea Lange, 1936; Library of Congress photo collection

Marisa Silver

A Photograph Brought to Life: A Novelist Reimagines Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother"

Tuesday, March 19, 7:15 PM [ALOUD]

In conversation with poet and memoirist Meghan O'Rourke

FREE/Reservation recommended. For FREE reservations, and more information, please visit www.lfla.org/aloud or call 213.228.7025.

Many generations have been moved by Dorothea Lange’s iconic image of “Migrant Mother,” photographed during the Great Depression. In her decades-spanning new novel, Mary Coin, author Marisa Silver presents a brilliant reimagining of the story behind that arresting face. In today’s world, bombarded with visual imagery and the need for information, Silver brings into question: What’s in a picture?

Marisa Silver is the author of the short story collections Babe in Paradise , named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year, and Alone With You.She has written three novels, No Direction Home , The God of War, and most recently, Mary Coin.  Silver made her fiction debut in The New Yorker, has won the O. Henry Prize, and her work has been included in The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, as well as other anthologies.

Meghan O'Rourke is the author of the best-selling memoir The Long Goodbye  and the poetry collections Once and Halflife. She is an award-winning cultural critic and a former editor at The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Slate.

Unless otherwise indicated, ALOUD programs take place at the Los Angeles Central Library's Mark Taper Auditorium, 630 W. Fifth Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071.



ALOUD is one of the many free programs the Library Foundation makes possible at the Los Angeles Public Library. Most ALOUD author programs are followed by book signings.  To help sustain this valuable cultural exchange, at least one copy of the author’s book must be purchased from the Library Store if you wish to participate in the post-program book signing. Proceeds support the Los Angeles Public Library.  Library Foundation members receive a 15% discount on all Library Store purchases.


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