My Favorite African Science Fiction and Fantasy (AfroSFF) Short Fiction of 2015

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Our man Dilman Dila – whose Commonwealth Award-nominated collection we’ll be discussing tomorrow – came in at #2 on this list of best African SciFi/Fantasy of 2015.

African Book Club – The First Wednesday of the Month
7-9PM, Octopus Literary Salon, Oakland, CA
Books available onsite.

ARTS/LITERARY: African Book Club: A Killing in the Sun (Uganda)

Wednesday, Feb 3, 2016, 7:00 PM

Octopus Literary Salon
2101 Webster St #170 Oakland, CA

18 AfroFriends Attending

For the 6th installment of African Book Club, we’ll be discussing A KILLING IN THE SUN, by Dilman Dila (Uganda). African science fiction is the new big thing (Check out Nnedi Okorafor on 1/17 at an epic panel on Afro-Futurism: https://www.facebook.com/events/1515160155444561/) and this collection of 10 stories from award-winning filmmaker and write…

Check out this Meetup →

Source: My Favorite African Science Fiction and Fantasy (AfroSFF) Short Fiction of 2015

6th Installment of African Book Club does African Sci-Fi

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ARTS/LITERARY: African Book Club: A Killing in the Sun (Uganda)

Wednesday, Feb 3, 2016, 7:00 PM

Octopus Literary Salon
2101 Webster St #170 Oakland, CA

10 AfroFriends Attending

For the 6th installment of African Book Club, we’ll be discussing A KILLING IN THE SUN, by Dilman Dila (Uganda). African science fiction is the new big thing (Check out Nnedi Okorafor on 1/17 at an epic panel on Afro-Futurism: https://www.facebook.com/events/1515160155444561/) and this collection of 10 stories from award-winning filmmaker and write…

Check out this Meetup →

I guest-edited a special issue of AWAY

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What a great way to start the new year – with the launch of the first of four travel magazines I’m guest-editing this year. This partnership with VONA/Voices Summer Workshops of Writers of Color is taking an important step in changing the landscape of travel writing.

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Please read the 7 essays at http://awayjournal.org/ and disseminate widely. Happy New Year!

The Logic of Leave-taking

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O: So, Honorable Pumpkin, I’m leaving.
Me: I believe you.
O: You believe me? What does that mean?
Me: Nothing! Good luck with your errands.
O: Oh, you mean because 4 hours ago I said I was gonna leave for church. Well, now I’m leaving for real.
Me: And I believe you.
O: Oh, you mean because 2 hours ago I said I was gonna walk around the lake. Yeah, but that was different. That plan changed long ago!
Me: Okay. See you.
Front door closes. Front door opens.
Me: Okay, now I don’t believe you.
O: Ha! I forgot my wallet. Now, I’m leaving.
Front door closes. Front door opens.
O: Sweetie, I forgot my phone. I’m gone.
Front door closes. Front door opens.
O: Yeah, M’s wife just called; she’s in town; I just came back ‘cuz I thought you’d want to know. Okay, bye.
Front door closes. Front door opens.
Me: Oh. My. God.
O: So, I got out to the car and realized I was hungry. And I left some plantain chips here, so I’m not really coming back; I’m just picking up the chips.
Me: I need a Valium.

Full circle: The New Face of Travel (9/22)!

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I was thrilled when curator-about-town Lisa Gray (my former Mills student and TA) asked me to host a themed reading for 14 Black Poppies/The Bloom Series. I chose the rich topic, BAD TRIPS, and decided to continue the personal touch by inviting Elaine Lee (one of the first people to publish me) and four folks I’ve taught or mentored through VONA Summer Workshops for Writers of Color, the San Francisco Writers Grotto and LitQuake.

The result is BAD TRIPS:  What do a global health epidemiologist, Bedouin-Finnish musician, immigrant rights activist, and host of a Black travel show have in common? From Navigating Tanzania’s Gay Underground to Crossing the Border on an Acid-trip. From Bottoming out at Burning Man to Flying off to Fight Ebola: It’s good stories come from BAD TRIPS! 3 writers + 1 poet + 1 storyteller + 1 singer/songwriter. Music by Hassan el-Tayyab of American Nomad.

Come see THE NEW FACE OF TRAVEL: Tuesday 22 September 7-9PM, Laurel Bookstore, 1423 Broadway, Oakland. Suggested $5 donation.

The Bloom collage

/// ELAINE LEE is a globetrotter and travel journalist. The editor of Go Girl: The Black Woman’s Book of Travel and Adventure, she has visited 56 countries and made two solo trips around the world. Her ground zero home is in Berkeley, and her cyberhome is www.ugogurl.com. Most recently she taped an episode of Bay Area Check, Please!

/// KARINA MUÑIZ is a Prose Fellow/MFA Candidate in the Community Engagement Program at Mills College, and the Political Director at Mujeres Unidas y Activas, a grassroots organization of Latina immigrants. An alumna of Voices of our Nations Arts Foundation/VONA, she holds Masters degrees in Urban Planning and Latin American Studies from UCLA.

/// TOM PYUN is a travel addict who works as a nonprofit consultant to support his habit. A queer Korean-American man, he lived and worked in Tanzania for two years where homosexuality was criminalized with 30 years imprisonment. He is a 2015 Voices of our Nations Arts Foundation/VONA Fellow and has been published in Reed Magazine.

/// SRIRAM SHAMASUNDER started writing creatively as an undergraduate in June Jordan’s Poetry for the People class at UC Berkeley. He is a doctor/poet who works at UCSF and runs the HEAL Initiative (@healinitiative), a program focused on building health workforce capacity internationally and in the Navajo Nation. He writes to keep his balance and bear witness.

/// HASSAN EL-TAYYAB is an award-winning singer/songwriter, author, educator, and cultural activist residing in San Francisco. His critically-acclaimed Americana act, American Nomad, performs regularly at festivals and venues up and down the West Coast and beyond. His memoir is forthcoming this fall from Poetic Matrix.

/// FAITH ADIELE, HOST is author of a travel memoir; subject of the PBS documentary My Journey Home; and co-editor of Coming of Age Around the World. She teaches at California College of the Arts, The San Francisco Writers’ Grotto, and Voices/VONA, where she’s established the nation’s first workshop for travel writers of color.

On being born biracial in Spokane & the Dolezal discourse

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I was born in a Home for Unwed Mothers in Spokane, Washington. Among the 50 white and 10 black girls, my white (Nordic-American) mother, pregnant by my black (Nigerian) father, was the only one who straddled both worlds. (Ironically, at the time she was reading Black Like Me, journalist John Howard Griffin’s account of medically darkening his skin and masquerading as black.) As soon as she could walk, the Home encouraged her to take me and go. Her outspokenness, plus her decision to keep me, at a time when unwed white girls were being shamed into surrendering their babies for adoption, challenged Home policy.

Young Holly & Faith sepia I’ve been to Spokane only once since then, a decade ago, on book tour. Mum accompanied me, and trip highlights included finding the Home where I was born and being trailed through town by skinheads in a rust (or bullet) -ridden car. (So essentially I’ve been chased from my birthplace twice.) A few years before, a white family friend and his black college roommate had been hospitalized after being chased and beaten with baseball bats for Friday night sport.

Based on our minimal interaction, Spokane has always represented whiteness to me. As someone quipped on Twitter this week, Spokane is so white that even the president of the local NAACP is white. (Thank God for the Dolezal jokes on BlackTwitter, because despite having been a diversity trainer in a past life, I no longer have what it takes to try to discuss race with whitefolks who aren’t my mum.) I’m currently on a writing retreat, trying to finish a book about my Afro-Viking family, and none too happy that once again my birthplace is the center of racial chaos. No, as I told my Nigerian husband this morning, I don’t want to talk about it. But I appreciate what some of my friends are saying (and the heat they’re taking for saying it):

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 10.52.42 AM In Black Like Who? Rachel Dolezal’s Harmful MasqueradeTamara Winfrey Harris, the author of “The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America,” says everything so you don’t have to.

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 10.55.38 AM In Transracial Lives Matter: Rachel Dolezal and the Privilege of Racial Manipulation, my friend and sister-biracial-born-in-a-home-then-raised-in-Washington-State, Lisa Marie Rollins (author/performer of the solo show, Ungrateful Daughter: One Black Girls Story of being Adopted into a White family… that aren’t Celebrities”) breaks down “transracial” and the “ownership model” of adoption.

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 10.47.28 AM For an expert academic take on the history of racial fluidity, my former student Daniel J. Sharfstein, author of “The Invisible Line: A Secret History of Race in America” explains that Rachel Dolezal’s ‘Passing’ Isn’t So Unusual.

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 11.04.18 AM My friend and sister-Pacific-Northwest-raised-Afro-Viking Heidi W. Durrow (author of “The Girl Who Fell From the Sky” and co-founder of Mixed/Remixed Fest) explains what it really means to look white and identify as black (authentically) in Identity, Race or Otherwise, Is Your Lived Experience.

Well, we’ve found the antidote: Study finds being exposed to Buddhist concepts reduces prejudice!

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Study finds being exposed to Buddhist concepts reduces prejudice and increases prosociality

In 3 separate experiments, researchers from Belgium and Taiwan have found that being exposed to Buddhist concepts can undermine prejudice towards others and lead to increased prosocial behavioral intentions.

Buddhism contains a variety of teachings and practices – such as meditation – intended to help individuals develop a more open-minded and compassionate personality. Unlike the 3 dominant monotheistic religions, it does not draw a sharp line between believers and unbelievers.

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“Unlike Christian and other monotheistic religious systems that paradoxically seem to encourage not only prosociality but also prejudice, Buddhist ideas favor both prosociality and outgroup tolerance, and these ideals seem particularly efficient (in leading to action) for people with relevant personality dispositions.”

https://authorrise.com/faith-adiel-/flyer/457-study-finds-being-exposed-to-buddhist-concepts-reduces-prejudice-and-increases-prosociality

I love how Western “science” keeps “proving” what Eastern philosophy has been teaching for centuries. True fusion!

It’s a Kwanzaa miracle! No longer an Octoroon.

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My VONA and Mixed Remixed Festival pal Mat Johnson, whose latest novel is out next week, has an essay in The New York Times Magazine, “Proving My Blackness,” on testing his racial DNA.

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https://authorrise.com/faith-adiel-/flyer/456-proving-my-blackness-mat-johnson-in-the-nytimes-magazine-

NEWS FLASH! – Retiring Cinema Owner To Give Away The Place + $20,000!

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If my love for the San Francisco Bay Area didn’t trump my love for cinema, I’d passionately throw my hat into this wacky ring at the opportunity to run a seaside cinema in the town where my Finnish foremothers first lived in America.

My Nigerian Husband, Cheryl Strayed & I. Again.

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Me: Sweetie, how’s your first trip to Canada?

O: It’s great! My only regret is that I forgot to pack WILD.

cheryl-strayed-wild

Me: Are you kidding me? Didn’t we just have a talk about not taking books off my nightstand, WILD in particular?

O: But I didn’t take it.

Me: But you planned to.

O: But I didn’t.

Me: Not because of The Rule! Just because you’re absent-minded. Which is why you would’ve left it in Toronto. With all my marks and annotations inside. When I have to teach it!

O: I don’t understand why you’re so agitated. You’re the one who asked how Canada was!

Me: Oh. My. God.