On sale TODAY, Colson Whitehead’s THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD (Doubleday) is the newest Oprah’s Book Club 2016 selection, announced Tuesday morning by OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network and O, The Oprah Magazine. Mr. Whitehead says, “When I got the call, I let out a stream of loud, joyful expletives – which was awkward because my plane had just landed and everyone looked at me like I was crazy. Oprah has introduced so many wonderful books to people, from The Song of Solomon to The Sound and The Fury, that I’m honored and grateful that The Underground Railroad is joining such great company. You write the best book you can, and hope it finds its way. This is the best kind of sendoff.”
In his sixth novel, Mr. Whitehead tells the harrowing story of Cora, an indomitable teenage slave and her desperate bid for freedom from an antebellum cotton plantation in Georgia circa 1850. THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.
The novel has earned starred pre-publication reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal and Booklist. Entertainment Weekly and the New York Times Book Review have named The Underground Railroad as one of the most anticipated books of 2016.
The cross-platform book club selection kicks off with Oprah’s interview with Mr. Whitehead in the September issue of O, The Oprah Magazine (on sale August 9), in which he describes how and why he came up with the idea to make the Underground Railroad an actual train, complete with conductors, stations and tracks. Oprah.com will feature video clips of Oprah speaking with Mr. Whitehead about the book. The Oprah Book Club page on Goodreads will encourage book discussion and sharing.
As readers complete their journey through THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, they can engage online at the Book Club hub (oprah.com/bookclub) and through a variety of digital and social media platforms. Oprah.com will feature a series of original interviews with Winfrey and Whitehead, a reading guide, and Winfrey’s favorite passages from the book.
Readers will also have the opportunity to participate in the book club and answer weekly questions via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. A stream of reader tweets (#OprahsBookClub), Facebook posts and Instagram photos from around the world will provide a snapshot of what participants are thinking, feeling and sharing as they read the book together. Whitehead will participate in a book club discussion Q&A on O, The Oprah Magazine’s Facebook page moderated by Leigh Haber, Books Editor, on Wednesday, August 24 at 3:00pm EST.
In June 2012, Oprah Winfrey reintroduced her popular book club as an interactive, multi-platform reading club that harnesses the power of social media, bringing passionate readers together to discuss inspiring stories. After being selected as the club’s inaugural book, WILD by Cheryl Strayed (Knopf) returned to the top of The New York Times bestseller list and spent six consecutive weeks at #1. Other selections include THE INVENTION OF WINGS by Sue Monk Kidd (Viking), RUBY by Cynthia Bond (Hogarth) and THE TWELVE TRIBES OF HATTIE by Ayana Mathis (Knopf). THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD is the club’s fifth selection.