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.
Embarrassing – can you believe I forgot the password to my updated website and blog so haven’t been able to post?! (Not that I’m all that conscientious to start with – especially when tons of things are happening of the multiculti sort. Which sort of defeats the purpose. Ah well.)
Anyway, for the first time I’m championing a crowdfunding cause (1) because it supports publication of a book I’ve long been wanting to compile / read / teach and (2) because funders get a bar of gourmet chocolate! I don’t know any of the folks involved, so I’m not getting any chocolate kickbacks.
Click here to find out about African Lives: An Anthology of Memoirs and Autobiographies. Cool, huh?
The first book of its kind
As far as I know, no one has ever before published an anthology that brings
together a collection of African authors — men and women of all ethnic groups,
born and raised on the continent — telling the stories of their own lives in
their own words.
I was recently asked to blurb The Chalk Circle: Intercultural Prizewinning Essays, a new anthology that’s already racking up awards and sales records. One of my previous VONA students is in it, and the Introduction is by VONA faculty member David Mura. A great teaching tool!
The launch party is this Friday (May 4) in San Francisco at Books Inc. in Opera Plaza, 601 Van Ness Avenue, at 7 PM. The book’s release arrives just in time for the annual World Day for Cultural Diversity Dialogue and Development on May 21st, as proclaimed by the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Editor Tara L. Masih will open the program, and authors will sign books after the reading. Refreshments will be served.
The Chalk Circle has already garnered several accolades:
- Featured title, NewPages’ “New & Noteworthy Books” list
- Winner, 2012 Skipping Stones Honor Award in the Multicultural/International category
- Featured title, Amazon’s “Hot New Releases” list
Tara L. Masih has assembled a stunning collection. Disregard the textbook-sounding title and gaze upon the mosaic-like cover. The range of cultural diversity and personal complexity packed into this slim, beautiful volume is staggering and far outstrips any other collection out there. These now-American writers and travelers experience the intercultural encounter at home, overseas, within their own communities, families, and selves. The voices range from adult journalists and Peace Corps volunteers to the children of Nazis and refugees. For some, like Third Culture Kids and the children of survivors, their histories and true identities are hidden, and it is through engaging with food and spirituality, photographs and music, family stories and private letters, global and personal history, that they are able to recover and share the nuances of life on our globalizing planet. Each story is a polished, multi-faceted gem of unprecedented color and clarity, which together form a glittering necklace that redefines what it is to be intercultural—that is, human—in the world today. This is a book I will be teaching and recommending to friends and strangers again and again.
–Faith Adiele, Coming of Age Around the World: A Multicultural Anthology; Meeting Faith: The Thai Forest Journals of a Black Buddhist Nun
June 24-30, 2012, University of California, Berkeley
Each summer developing and experienced writers in all genres come from around the country and globe to work and build community with renowned writers of color. In choosing our faculty we select only internationally celebrated authors who are known for their excellence as writers and their sensibilities toward political and cultural issues. All of our workshop leaders are inspiring and proven teachers experienced with diverse populations.
Summer 2012 Faculty: Elmaz Abinader, Faith Adiele, Junot Diaz, M. Evelina Galang, Minal Hajratwala, Randal Kenan, Maaza Mengiste, David Mura, Willie Perdomo and Patricia Smith. As usual, this summer is going to be killer! Mark your calendars for the all-star faculty reading on Thursday June 28!