SCHOMBURG CENTER LITERARY FESTIVAL SCHEDULE
Lift Every Voice: 250 Years of African American Poetic Traditions
SEPT 17 @ 6:30 PM (ET)
Library of America, in partnership with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, presents the launch of Lift Every Voice, a nationwide celebration of the 250-year-long African American poetic tradition. The celebration is anchored by the publication of the anthology, African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song, edited by poet and Schomburg Center Director Kevin Young.
The evening will feature poets Nikky Finney (Love Child's Hotbed of Occasional Poetry), Sonia Sanchez (Shake Loose My Skin: New and Selected Poems), pulitzer prize winning poets Jericho Brown (The Tradition) and Tyehimba Jess (Olio ) and many more. Visit our Eventbrite page in September for a full list of participants and the program schedule.
SEPT 21 @ 7:00 PM (ET)
Between the Lines with Cullman Center Fellow Nicole R. Fleetwood author of Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration
Nicole Fleetwood and Elizabeth Hinton discuss Fleetwood’s new book, Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration, about how the imprisoned turn ordinary objects into elaborate works of art. The book is based on interviews with currently and formerly incarcerated artists, prison visits, and the author’s own family experiences with the penal system. In partnership with NYPL, The Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers
Nicole R. Fleetwood
Moderator, Elizabeth Hinton
SEPT 22 @ 8:00 PM (ET)
Audre Lorde: Radical Care and Political Warfare
Join us for a conversation with three extraordinary writers-- Roxane Gay, Mahogany L. Browne and Tracy K. Smith--as they discuss the clarion call of Audre Lorde's work in the context of today's political warfare and the recent republication of Sister Outsider and The Cancer Journals and a new publication The Selected Works of Audre Lorde.
Roxane Gay, editor of The Selected Works of Audre Lorde
Tracy K. Smith, provided a new foreword to The Cancer Journals
Mahogany L. Browne, provided a new foreword to Sister Outsider
Moderator, Salamishah Tillet
SEPT 23 @ 7:00 PM (ET)
250 Years of African American Poetry - The Collected Poems of Sterling A. Brown
Join us for an exploration of the poetry of Sterling A. Brown (1901–1989) and the republication of The Collected Poems of Sterling A. Brown edited by the late distinguished poet Michael S. Harper and a new foreword by award-winning poet Cornelius Eady. Brown was one of the most important and influential figures in the development of African American literature and criticism in the twentieth century.
Cornelius Eady, poet, musican, and co-founder of Cave Canem
JoAnne McFarland, artist, poet, and curator
Brian Gilmore, poet, writer, and law professor
SEPT 24 @ 1:00 PM (ET)
Conversation and Reading with Jacqueline Woodson
National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson has a celebrated career as a writer that spans 30 years. She won the 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest international distinction given to authors and illustrators of children's books. As the award site notes, Woodson has a prolific body of writing from picture books to young adult literature, all of which feature lyrical language, powerful characters, and an abiding sense of hope. She has served as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature (2018-19) and as the Young People’s Poet Laureate (2015-17).
Last year, Woodson released her second novel Red at the Bone, now available in paperback. On September 1, 2020 she published Before the Ever After. The stirring novel-in-verse explores how a family moves forward when their glory days have passed and the cost of professional sports on Black bodies.
and invited guests
SEPT 24 @ 2:30 PM (ET)
The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
Dean Atta will join us live from the UK to discuss his debut novel The Black Flamingo, awarded the 2020 Stonewall Book Award, and shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal, YA Book Prize and Jhalak Prize. Atta, named as one of the most influential LGBT people in the UK by the Independent on Sunday, is a writer who deals with themes of race, gender and sexuality.
Presented in partnership with Native Son
Moderator, Emil Wilbekin
SEPT 24 @ 4:30 PM (ET)
Back to School with Black Comics
and Graphic Novels
Cultural representation matters in literature for young adults and this panel features black comic creators whose narratives address school-aged protagonists and the social issues entangled with their coming of age stories and their education in and out of school. Through graphic novels, comic books, and web comics, these creators tell universal stories about young people through unique and poignant cultural voices.
Jerry Craft (New Kid, A Class Act); Greg Anderson Elysee (Is’Nana The Were-Spider); Liz Montague (Liz at Large); and Shauna Grant (Princess Love Pon).
Moderator, Deirdre Hollman EdM, Founder, The Black Comics Collective.
SEPT 24 @ 6:30 PM (ET)
Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh
Candice Iloh is a first generation Nigerian-American writer, teaching artist, and youth educator celebrating the debut of her novel Every Body Looking. Candice will read from her young adult, novel in verse and discuss her work with writer, organizer, and educator Mahogany L. Browne.
Moderator, Mahogany L. Browne
11:00 AM | URGENT LESSONS FROM JAMES BALDWIN
SEPT 26 @ 11 AM (ET)
Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own
Author Eddie Glaude, Jr. discusses his new work about Harlem’s own James Baldwin
In the story of Baldwin’s crucible, Glaude suggests, we can find hope and guidance through our own after times, this Trumpian era of shattered promises and white retrenchment. Mixing biography—drawn partially from newly uncovered interviews—with history, memoir, and trenchant analysis of our current moment, Begin Again is Glaude’s endeavor, following Baldwin, to bear witness to the difficult truth of race in America today. It is at once a searing exploration that lays bare the tangled web of race, trauma, and memory, and a powerful interrogation of what we all must ask of ourselves in order to call forth a new America.
Eddie S. Glaude, Jr
Moderator, Dr. Brian Jones, Schomburg Center
2:00 PM | THIS SKIN HAS BEEN OVER, UNDER, AND THROUGH
These books offer a window into Black imaginaries that traversed the waters of the Atlantic in search of freedom, safety, love, and opportunity. Geography: West Africa, Jamaica, USA
SEPT 26 @ 2 PM (ET)
A Tall History of Sugar by Curdella Forbes
A Tall History of Sugar tells the story of Moshe Fisher, a man who was "born without skin," so that no one is able to tell what race he belongs to; and Arrienne Christie, his quixotic soul mate who makes it her duty in life to protect Moshe from the social and emotional consequences of his strange appearance. The narrative begins with Moshe's birth in the late 1950s, four years before Jamaica's independence from colonial rule, and ends in the era of what Forbes calls "the fall of empire," the era of Brexit and Donald Trump.
Moderator, Dimitry Elias Léger
SEPT 26 @ 2 PM (ET)
In Sometimes I Never Suffered, his seventh collection of poems, Shane McCrae remains “a shrewd composer of American stories” (Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker). Here, an angel, hastily thrown together by his fellow residents of Heaven, plummets to Earth in his first moments of consciousness. Jim Limber, the adopted mixed-race son of Jefferson Davis, wanders through the afterlife, reckoning with the nuances of America’s racial history, as well as his own.
Sometimes I Never Suffered is a search for purpose and atonement, freedom and forgiveness, imagining eternity not as an escape from the past or present, but as a reverberating record and as the culmination of time’s manifold potential to mend.
Moderator, Rio Cortez, Schomburg Center
12:15 PM | Reading for Liberation
SEPT 26 @ 12:15 PM (ET)
When They Call You a Terrorist (Young Adult Edition): A Story of Black Lives Matter and the Power to Change the World
Patrisse Khan-Cullors' and asha bandele's instant New York Times bestseller, When They Call You a Terrorist is now adapted for the YA audience. From one of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement comes a poetic memoir and reflection on humanity. Necessary and timely, Patrisse Khan-Cullors’ story asks us to remember that protest in the interest of the most vulnerable comes from love. Leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement have been called terrorists, a threat to America. But in truth, they are loving women whose life experiences have led them to seek justice for those victimized by the powerful.
Moderator, Kadiatou Tubman, Schomburg Center
3:15 PM | UNTANGLING THE BINARY
When faced with circumstances that may force one person to contract, others find a way to expand. Explore what it means to live beyond expectations with this exciting group of authors. Geography: Nigeria, USA
SEPT 26 @ 3:15 PM (ET)
The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi
One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover her son’s body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. What follows is the tumultuous, heart-wrenching story of one family’s struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious. Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek’s closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens—and Osita struggles to understand Vivek’s escalating crisis—the mystery gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom.
Moderator, Eloghosa Osunde
FICTION - YA
SEPT 26 @ 3:15 PM (ET)
Wanda Smalls Lloyd’s Coming Full Circle: From Jim Crow to Journalism―with a foreword by best-selling author Tina McElroy Ansa―is the memoir of an African American woman who grew up privileged and educated in the restricted culture of the American South in the 1950s–1960s. Her path was shaped by segregated social, community, and educational systems, religious and home training, a strong cultural foundation, and early leadership opportunities. Despite Jim Crow laws that affected where she lived, how she was educated, and what civil rights she would be denied, Lloyd grew up to realize her childhood dream of working as a professional journalist. In fact, she would eventually hold some of the nation’s highest-ranking newspaper editorial positions and become one of the first African American women to be the top editor of a mainstream daily newspaper.
Wanda Smalls Lloyd
Moderator, Alexandria Neason
SEPT 26 @ 3:15 PM (ET)
Love from the Vortex & Other Poems by Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, Ph.D
Love from the Vortex & Other Poems (Kaleidoscope Vibrations, LLC), is poet and scholar-activist Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz’s first full-length collection. An archaeological exploration on love and intimacy, the book charts her journey of finding and losing love over the span of three decades with six different men who came into her life at various times, but also offers a universal take on what can happen when one seeks love and connection with others, and the lessons that follow when that connection and love is lost.
Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, Ph.D
Moderator, Rio Cortez, Schomburg Center
4:30 PM | READERS & WRITERS
SEPT 26 @ 4:30 PM (ET)
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo
READERS & WRITERS: A Conversation with Bernardine Evaristo and Roxane Gay
British writer Bernardine Evaristo is the award-winning author of eight books and numerous other works. Roxane Gay, a prolific writer and voracious reader wrote in her year end summary of reading that Girl, Woman, Other by Evaristo was her favorite book of 2019. Evaristo’s novel won the 2019 Booker Prize making her the first Black woman to win the prestigious award.
Moderator, Roxane Gay