The Arrival: A Juneteenth Reading with bridgette bianca, F. Douglas Brown, Camari Carter-Hawkins, Natashia Deón, and Ashaki M. Jackson


June 18 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

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According to the National Museum of African American History & Culture: “Juneteenth marks our country’s second independence day. Though it has long been celebrated among the African American community, it is a history that has been marginalized and still remains largely unknown to the wider public. The legacy of Juneteenth shows the value of deep hope and urgent organizing in uncertain times.”

People across America and around the world are rising up to demand justice because Black lives matter. We are celebrating Juneteenth, its history and its lessons, with poets who’ll share their words with us. At an online gathering featuring bridgette bianca, F. Douglas Brown, Camari Carter-Hawkins, Natashia Deón, and Ashaki M. Jackson, we’ll be raising money for Black Lives Matter LA and other social justice organizations.

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About the BookSwell Read and Relate series

To keep connections alive between readers and writers during troubled times, BookSwell is organizing Read & Relate, a virtual video chat salon celebrating books, writers, and the literary life.

We’ll be using Zoom to conduct the salon and the feed will also be shared via Facebook Live and YouTube. Audio and video may be recorded and re-shared via BookSwell’s social media channels.

The Exposition Park – Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Regional Library of the Los Angeles Public Library system is a collaborating partner on the BookSwell Read & Relate series. The library hosts events online in support of the Library at Home program of the Los Angeles Public Library.

Fundraising

This event raised $2,850 for Black Lives Matter LA.

Feeling generous? Consider donating to these organizations as well:

About the Writers

bridgette bianca is a poet and professor from South Central Los Angeles. When she is not sharing her own poetry at venues all around Southern California, she co-curates two literary series, Making Room for Black Women and the Women’s Center for Creative Work Reading Series. be/trouble (Writ Large Press) is her debut collection of poetry.
• website: bridgettebianca.com
• IG: Instagram.com/bridgettebianca
• FB: Facebook.com/bridgettebianca

F. Douglas Brown is the author of two poetry collections, ICON (Writ Large Press, 2018), and Zero to Three (University of Georgia, 2014), winner of the 2013 Cave Canem Poetry Prize selected by US Poet Laureate, Tracy K. Smith. He also co-authored with poet Geffrey Davis, Begotten (URB Books, 2016), a chapbook of poetry as part of the Floodgate Poetry Series. Brown, an educator for over 20 years, currently teaches English and African American Poetry at Loyola High School of Los Angeles, an all-boys Jesuit school. He is both a Cave Canem and Kundiman fellow, and was selected by Poets & Writers as one of their ten notable Debut Poets of 2014. His poems have appeared in the Academy of American Poets, The PBS News Hour, The Virginia Quarterly (VQR), Bat City Review, The Chicago Quarterly Review (CQR), The Southern Humanities Review, The Sugar House Review, Cura Magazine, and Muzzle Magazine. He is co-founder and curator of un::fade::able – The Requiem for Sandra Bland, a quarterly reading series examining restorative justice through poetry as a means to address racism.

Camari Carter-Hawkins is the author of Death by Comb, a stellar body of poetry that seeks to normalize natural hair and find solid ground in an ever-changing world and Write Back to You, a guided journal for writing yourself back into your life. Camari leads journaling workshops all across Los Angeles and beyond. Her poetic works can also be found in Rise: An Anthology of Power and Unity by Vagabond Press and The Best of The Poetry Salon 2013-2018 Anthology. Camari is the 2018 Spoken Word, Voices Heard Women’s Amateur Slam Winner and performs her works nationally. She is the founder of Mama’s Kitchen Press, an anthology press that seeks to publish moments and stories we’ve shared in our mama’s kitchen.
• Instagram: @camaricreative www.instagram.com/CamariCreative
• Website: www.camaricarter.com

Natashia Deón is a NAACP Image Award Nominee and author of the critically-acclaimed novel, GRACE (Counterpoint Press). Awarded the 2017 American Library Association’s Black Caucus Award for Best Debut Fiction, GRACE was also named a New York Times Top Book 2016, a Kirkus ReviewBest Book of 2016, and a Book Riot, The Root, and Entropy Magazine Favorite Book of 2016.

Founder of REDEEMED, a non-profit that pairs professional writers with those who have been convicted of crimes, Deón is a practicing criminal attorney, law professor, and creative writing professor at UCLA and Otis College of Art & Design. Deón is the mother of two and is the creator of the popular L.A.-based reading series’ Dirty Laundry Lit and The Table.

Ashaki M. Jackson is the author of two chapter-length books – Surveillance (Writ Large Press) and Language Lesson (Miel). Jackson is an alumna of Cave Canem and VONA. She is co-founder of Women Who Submit and an executive director for The Offing Magazine. Readers can find her work in Prairie Schooner, Obsidian, 7×7 LA and Faultline among other publications. Jackson earned an MFA (creative writing) from Antioch University Los Angeles and a Ph.D. (psychology) from Claremont Graduate University. She lives in Los Angeles.

BookSwell Intersections Season 2 Episode 2
an interview with Yodassa Williams

The coronavirus crisis can’t stop art!

Cody Sisco interviews Yodassa Williams about her debut fantasy novel, The Goddess Twins, coming of age and finding one’s voice, black girl magic and creativity, and the revelatory experience of going to Burning Man.

Yodassa Williams shows off her new novel, The Goddess Twins, in the magical locale of Lake Merritt, Oakland, CA

Yodassa Williams is a powerful conjurer of black girl magic (70 percent Jedi, 30 percent Sith). A Jamaican American writer, speaker, and award-winning performing storyteller, an alumna of the VONA/Voices Travel Writing program and the Fortify Writer’s Retreat, and the creator of the podcast The Black Girl Magic Files, Yodassa (Yoda) launched Writers Emerging, a wilderness writing retreat for women of color and non-binary people of color, in 2019. She grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently resides in the Bay Area. The Goddess Twins is her debut novel.

Listen Now

Link to BookSwell Intersections Podcast on Spotify

Writing Better Futures in Times of Crisis

Description

Is dystopia a model for living or a warning to prevent? Could certain narratives, (such as the zombie apocalypse/every man for himself scenario) be dangerous to societal thinking? How can science fiction and speculative narratives promote community mindedness in an uncertain future? Is it the responsibility of the author to create stories with all these ideas in mind?

To debate these questions, we’re gathering science fiction and speculative fiction authors who’ve written utopian and dystopian stories. BookSwell Read & Relate vidchat salon host Cody Sisco will welcome guest host Kate Maruyama along with guest authors Cecil Castellucci, Matthew Kressel, PJ Manney, Nisi Shawl, and Sherri L. Smith.

Watch Now

BookSwell Read & Relate: Writing Better Futures in Times of Crisis

About BookSwell’s Read & Relate vidchat salon

To keep connections alive between readers and writers during troubled times, BookSwell is organizing Read & Relate, a virtual video chat salon celebrating books, writers, and the literary life.

We’ll be using Zoom to conduct the salon and the feed will also be shared via Facebook Live. Audio and video may be recorded and re-shared via BookSwell’s social media channels.

The Exposition Park – Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Regional Library of the Los Angeles Public Library system is a collaborating partner on the BookSwell Read & Relate series. The library hosts events online in support of the Library at Home program of the Los Angeles Public Library.

Cecil Castellucci is the award winning and New York Times Bestselling author of books and graphic novels for young adults including Shade, The Changing Girl, Boy Proof, Soupy Leaves Home, The Year of the Beasts, Tin Star, The Female Furies and Odd Duck. In 2015 she co-authored Star Wars Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure. She is currently writing Batgirl for DC Comics and The Little Mermaid for Dark Horse Comics. Her two newest graphic novels are Girl on Film (Boom!) and The Plain Janes (Little Brown). Her short stories and short comics have been published in Strange Horizons, Tor.com, Womanthology, Star Trek: Waypoint, Vertigo SFX: Slam! and many other anthologies. In a former life, she was known as Cecil Seaskull in the ‘90s indie band Nerdy Girl. She has written two opera librettos Les Aventures de Madame Merveille (World Premiere in 2010) and Hockey Noir: The Opera (World Premiere 2018). She is the former Children’s Correspondence Coordinator for The Rumpus, a two-time MacDowell Fellow. She lives in Los Angeles.

Matthew Kressel is a writer & software developer. He is a three time Nebula Award Finalist and a Eugie Award Finalist. His short fiction can be found in Lightspeed, Clarkesworld, Analog, io9, Nightmare, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2018 Edition, and The Best Science Fiction of the Year – Volume 3, as well as many other magazines and anthologies. As a coder, he created the Moksha submissions system, in use by many of the largest SF publishers today. He is the co-host of Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series in New York with Ellen Datlow. Find him online at @mattkressel or at www.matthewkressel.net.

PJ Manney is the author of the P.K. Dick Award-nominated (R)EVOLUTION, book 1 in a series with (ID)ENTITY, and the upcoming trilogy’s end (CON)SCIENCE, as well as non-fiction about technology, future humans, and empathy-building through storytelling. She was a former Chairperson of Humanity+, teleplay writer (Hercules–The Legendary JourneysXena: Warrior Princess, numerous TV pilot scripts) and film executive.

Kate Maruyama‘s first novel was Harrowgate (47North, 2013). Her short works have appeared in Arcadia MagazineControlled Burn, and Stoneboat; on SalonDuendeEntropy, and in an upcoming Asimov’s among other journals; as well as in numerous anthologies, including Winter Horror Days (Omnium Gatherum Media, 2015) and Halloween Carnival 3 (Hydra, 2017). Maruyama edited Nicole Sconiers’s speculative short fiction collection, Escape from Beckyville: Tales of Race, Hair and Rage (Spring Lane Publishing, 2011), has been a jury chair for the Bram Stoker Awards, and is a two time juror for the Shirley Jackson Awards. She teaches at Antioch University Los Angeles in the MFA and BA programs among other places. She writes, teaches, cooks, and eats in Los Angeles, where she lives with her family.

Nisi Shawl is an African American writer, editor, teacher, and journalist best known for their science fiction and fantasy dealing with gender, race, and colonialism, including the Nebula finalist novel Everfair. Their most recent publication is the collection Talk Like a Man, part of PM Press’s Outspoken Author series. They live in Seattle, where they’re working dilegently on their next novel, Kinning, a sequel to Everfair.

Sherri L. Smith is the author of seven award-winning young adult novels, including the 2009 California Book Awards Gold Medalist, Flygirl, and the cli-fi speculative novel, Orleans. Her books appear on multiple state lists and have been named Amelia Bloomer and American Library Association Best Books for Young People selections. She teaches in the MFA Writing program at Goddard College in Vermont. Her newest novel is The Blossom and the Firefly. Learn more at www.sherrilsmith.com

About Cody Sisco

Cody Sisco is an author, publisher, and literary community organizer.

As an author, Cody’s speculative fiction straddles the divide between plausible and extraordinary. His Resonant Earth Series includes two novels thus far, Broken Mirror and Tortured Echoes, and a short story prequel, Believe and Live. Altered Bodies, the third volume in the series, is due out in early 2020.

In 2017 Cody co-founded Made in L.A., an indie author co-op dedicated to the support and appreciation of independent authors. His imprint, Resonant Earth Publishing, markets and promotes the Made in L.A. annual fiction anthology.

Cody is a Los Angeles Review of Books / USC Publishing Workshop 2017 Fellow and a co-organizer of the Los Angeles Writers Critique Group. His startup, BookSwell, makes the LA literary landscape easier to navigate, introduces readers to new writing, and interweaves digital and real-life literary experiences.

About BookSwell

BookSwell is a literary events and media production company dedicated to connecting readers and writers.

We help make the book scene easier to navigate, introduce readers to new writing, and interweave digital and real-life literary experiences.

Our passion is elevating underrepresented voices in publishing, including writers of color and LGBTQ, female/nonbinary, and indie writers.

Active Giveaway: Signed Copy of Decoding Sparrows by Mariano Zaro

Our journeys to the present moment have all taken different twists and turns and making connections can be remarkably tenuous in our chosen homelands. Author and poet Mariano Zaro brings a potent nostalgia and intimate observations to the task of tracing a journey from his boyhood Spanish village to his coming of age and arrival in California.

DECODING SPARROWS by Mariano Zaro, published by What Books Press: “These poems explore the author’s boyhood in a Spanish village, his coming of age and his arrival to California in his 20’s. A series of characters marginalized by society interact with the speaker and help him understand his uniqueness and difference. Intimacy, sexuality, and desire are expressed in spare, narrative language.”

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