Calling all writers, rappers, musicians, orators, dancers, and artists of all kinds! Join us for the monthly Word Up Open Mic—first Fridays of the month. A collaboration between Wash Heights Music Fest (Jason Rosario) and Washington Heights Artist Movement (Lethy Liriano) with Know Ideas. All ages and persuasions, gather to share, learn, and experience together.
The inaugural title for our new book club in partnership with TwentyTwenty Books is Halsey Street by Naima Coster! Eventbrite RSVP info to come. Penelope Grand has scrapped her failed career as an artist in Pittsburgh and moved back to Brooklyn to keep an eye on her ailing father. She’s accepted that her future won’t be what she’d dreamed, but now, as gentrification has completely reshaped her old neighborhood, even her past is unrecognizable. Old haunts have been razed, and wealthy white strangers have replaced every familiar face in Bed-Stuy. Even her mother, Mirella, has abandoned the family to reclaim her roots in the Dominican Republic. That took courage. It’s also unforgivable.
An engrossing debut, Halsey Street shifts between the perspectives of these two captivating, troubled women. Mirella has one last chance to win back the heart of the daughter she’d lost long before leaving New York, and for Penelope, it’s time to break free of the hold of the past and start navigating her own life.
Naima Coster is a native of Fort Greene, Brooklyn. She holds an MFA in fiction from Columbia University, an MA in English and creative writing from Fordham University, and a BA in English and African American studies from Yale. The recipient of numerous awards, her stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Guernica, Arts & Letters, Kweli, and the Rumpus. A former editor of CURA and a former mentor of Girls Write Now, Coster is also a proud alumna of Prep for Prep, the leadership development program in New York City aiding high-potential minority students in public, charter, and parochial schools. She currently teaches writing in North Carolina, where she lives with her family. Halsey Street is her first novel.
Join us for a special story time (puppetry performance and book signing) with Callaloo! Callaloo: The Trickster and the Magic Quilt completes the trilogy in the Callaloo children’s books series written by Marjuan Canady and illustrated by Nabeeh Bilal. In search of a long lost patch from her grandmother’s quilt, Zoe and her friend Winston travel to the Gullah Sea Islands where they meet the slick-talking Bruh Rabbit, who tricks them into handing over their quilt and vanishes to the magical island of Sankofaland. With time running out, Zoe and Winston enlist the help of some new friends to catch the trickster and find the missing patch before it’s too late. Appropriate for Ages 3-7. This book features a foreword by Paula Whaley (visual artist and sister of James Baldwin).
When Darnell L. Moore was fourteen, three boys from his neighborhood tried to set him on fire. They cornered him while he was walking home from school, harassed him because they thought he was gay, and poured a jug of gasoline on him. He escaped, but just barely. It wasn’t the last time he would face death. What happens to the black boys who come of age in neglected, heavily policed, and economically desperate cities that the War on Drugs and mass incarceration have created? How do they learn to live, love, and grow up? Where should they turn when history rejects their very existence? Darnell explores these questions in his memoir NO ASHES IN THE FIRE: COMING OF AGE BLACK AND FREE IN AMERICA.
In bold and inspiring prose, Darnell traces his life from his childhood in Camden, a city scarred by uprisings and repression; to his search for intimacy in the gay neighborhoods of Philadelphia; and, finally, to the movements in Newark, Brooklyn, and Ferguson where he found his voice and his calling as a leading organizer with Black Lives Matter, a movement that recognized him and insisted that his life counted. Moore reminds us that liberation is possible if we commit ourselves to fighting for it, and if we dream and create futures where those who survive on society’s edges can thrive.
At Word Up, Darnell will be in conversation with Mychal Denzel Smith, New York Times–bestselli
The event will be introduced by Memphis Washington, founder of the Q&T Meetup at Word Up. Continue reading Word Up Reading: NO ASHES IN THE FIRE, Darnell L. Moore in conversation with Mychal Denzel Smith