Gracie Book Club Comes to the Bronx Museum of Art – Wed. Oct. 23

As you may know, some of First Lady of NYC Chirlane McCray’s projects have been her mental health awareness campaign and the creation of the city-wide Gracie Book Club in conjunction with the Gracie Mansion Conservancy.  Reading to Thrive—Great Books Exploring Mental Health melds the two together. This month’s pick is I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez. A discussion will be held at the Bronx Museum of  the Arts on Wednesday, October 23. Doors open at 5:30 pm and the event is from 6pm – 7pm. Tickets are free, you can reserve them here.

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Sixth Annual Bronx Book Fair – May 5, 11 am-7 pm

Mark your calendars – the sixth annual Bronx Book Fair is this Saturday, May 5 from 11AM- 7PM. Keep reading for more info:

This year’s fair will be keynoted by Noelle Santos, founder of The Lit Bar, the only bookstore in the Bronx.

The Bronx Book Fair is the borough’s premiere literary event and features a variety of diverse literary voices. This year the fair will welcome special guests poets Willie Perdomo and Sokunthary Svay, children’s book author Tiffany Papageorge, Dawn Aldrich, MD, author Annette Libeskind Berkovits, romance novelists Rebecca Brooks and Eartha Hicks Watts, storyteller, Thelma Ruffin Thomas, poet Carmen D. Lucca, author and poet Edward Currelley, readings, workshops, and panels. There will be special programs for children and families. National Writers Union and Book vendors will also be available.

All Bronx Book Fair activities are free of charge and open to the public. The full fair schedule can be found at bronxbookfair.com.

“We are excited to once again bring the Bronx Book Fair to our literary community,” said Michael Alvarez, Associate Director for the Central Bronx Neighborhood Libraries at The New York Public Library. “And this year, having Noelle Santos keynote, highlights the importance of turning a passion for literature into entrepreneurial opportunities to serve your community. Noelle is the perfect speaker to inspire participants in this year’s fair.”

“This year Bronx Book Fair activities will not only address the cultural and educational interests of the Bronx, but health issues as well,”  said Lorraine Currelley, Bronx Book Fair Executive Director. “We have a panel of health professionals, who will address issues such as mental health, obesity, hypertension, diabetes and asthma. We must avail ourselves of all opportunities to share information that can potentially save lives. The Bronx Book Fair will continue to work to create and implement programming, to enhance the literary and artistic experiences for community residents, toprovide opportunities for the Bronx literary community of poets and writers and advocate for reading and literacy.”

The Bronx Book Fair is sponsored by the New York Public Library, the Bronx Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Citizens Committee of New York City, the Poets Network & Exchange, Inc., Lehman College, Bronx Community College, Literary Freedom Project and Malcolm Entertainment, and through public funds from the New York State Department of Cultural Affairs.

AUDITORIUM

11:15 – 11:25 AM
Welcome – Jean Harripersaud, Bronx Library Center & Lorraine Currelley,
Bronx Book Fair

11:25 – 12:10 PM
Bilingual Reading & Book Launch
of My Yellow Balloon by Tiffany Papageorge.

12:20 – 1:00 PM
How to Get  Your Work Published
Carolyn Butts, Editor/Publisher, African Voices Magazine, Steve Bloom, writer. and Jennifer Bakercreator/host of the Minorities in Publishing podcast, and contributing editor for Electric Literature. Moderator: Gary Johnston, Publisher, Blind Beggar Press and poet

1:10 – 1:50 PM
Our Health: A Community Forum
Medical professionals and writers discuss health and self-care issues in underserved communities of color, the causes and how can we save our lives?
Dawn Aldrich, MD (Authority on cancer, obesity, diabetes & sickle cell anemia) Radhiyah Ayobami, MFA writes and workshops with pregnant teens and
Lorraine Currelley, MS MHC, Executive Director, Mental Health & Healthy Aging.

2:00 – 2:30 PM
Keynote Speaker –  Noëlle Santos, owner The Lit Bar: the only bookstore (and wine bar) in her native Bronx, New York. Member of the American Booksellers Association Advisory Council.
Introduction: Lorraine Currelley, Executive Director Bronx Book Fair.

NoelleSantos

2:40 – 3:10 PM
Librarian Panel – What to Read Next
Bronx Library Center Librarians: Elvira Ramos Paralles – Adult Librarian,
Elisa Garcia – Teen Librarian, Deborah Allman – Children’s Librarian
Moderator: Jean Harripersaud, Managing Librarian

3:20 PM
Featured Poet: Sokunthary Svay
author of Apsara in New York and the Cambodian American Literary Arts Association, Board President

3:45 – 4:25 PM
Silver: The Next Chapter-Sustaining a Career
Author/Poet/Multimedia Artist, Edward D. Currelley, Poet Carmen D. Lucca
and Thelma R. Thomas, Storyteller and Artistic Director Pearls of Wisdom Storytellers. Moderator: Poet Americo Casiano

4:35 – 5:15 PM
Women in Leadership: Arts, Activism & Social Responsibility
This panel will discuss stereotypical narratives of women in leadership & our responsibility as women to redefine and create empowering new paradigms.
Yolanda Rodriguez, Co-founder and Executive Director, BxArts Factory; Dairanys Grullon-Virgil, Co-founder, Mi Gente Latinx and Sister Circle Collective; and Poet
and Author Mercy Tullis-Bukhari. Moderator: Lorraine Currelley, Executive Director Poets Network & Exchange and Bronx Book Fair

5:15 – 5:45 PM
Protecting Your Literary Work
National Writers’ Union members Zigi Lowenberg, Stephanie Rogers, and Raymond Nat Turner.

5:45 PM
Featured Poet Willie Perdomo,
author of The Essential History of Shorty Bon BonSmoking Lovely, and Where
a Nickel Costs a Dime.

willie perdomo2

6:15 – 6:45 PM
Project X Performers (Youth Slam Poets)
Noel Quinones, Rebecca Rivera, Danyeli Rodriguez Del Orbe, and Gabriele Guajardo (Gigi Bella) & Alejandro Heredia. Facilitator: Peggy Robles-Alvarado

Rebecca Rivera


CONFERENCE ROOM

1:10 – 1:50 PM
From Start to Finish: Picking and Finishing the Writing Project You Want to Submit this Year
An interactive writing workshop meant to help writers decide how to narrow down their choices so they can finish and submit something in 2018! Will include in class writing prompts, planning guides, samples of projects and their path to publication, and handouts on viable new markets for starting writers.
Facilitator: Melissa Coss Aquino

2:30 – 3:10 PM
The Use of Photography in Writing
Facilitator:  John Maney

3:15 – 3:45 PM
Talking Romance: A Conversation with Rebecca Brooks and Eartha Watts Hicks
Romance writers Rebecca Brooks and Eartha Watts Hicks explore and discuss the multi-layered genre of romance writing.

4:00 – 4:40 PM
Thousand Worlds: Multidisciplinary Approach to Creative Writing
It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words but when you want to effectively create a multidimensional world with words in print, you need to develop a multidisciplinary skill set to challenge the notion of literature as a two-dimensional medium because art should always aspire to be larger than life. Facilitator: Orlando Ferrand

4:50 -5:30 PM
Fiction Presentation
Alcy Leya, author of “And Then There Were Crows” (published by Black Spot books) will be released on July 3rd and is the first in the Shades of Hell series.

Children’s Story Hour Room
Children’s Storytelling/Craft
Led by Bronx Library Center librarians


MAIN FLOOR CONFERENCE ROOM

12:40 – 2:00 PM
Literary Speed Coaching
Poets and writers: need assistance with writing or performance? Perhaps you have some ideas you need assistance with? Consult with one of our literary speed coaches: Radhiyah Ayobami, Mercy Tullis-Bukhari, Edward Currelley, and Aisha Sidibe.  Time Manager: Oscar Sanders

REGISTRATION OPEN NOW & ENDS MAY 4th, 2018!Click on link for details.
https://bronxbookfair.com/speed-coaching-sessions/

 

Photos courtesy of the Bronx Book Fair 🙂

Celebrate the Literary Culture of the Bronx at the 2017 Bronx Book Fair

Saturday, May 6, the Bronx Book Fair returns for an annual celebration of literature. This year’s line up is even better than ever (and I’m not just saying that because I’m facilitating a workshop and am on the planning committee!) Check out the schedule below:

11:00-12:00

Focus on Vendors
Kick off your day by browsing (and buying!) books from over 30 vendors in the Bronx Library Center’s spacious lower level. Vendors will be present throughout the event through 7:00 p.m.

AUDITORIUM

12:00-12:10

Welcome/Opening Remarks

Michael Alvarez, Associate Director for the Central Bronx Neighborhood Libraries at The New York Public Library
12:10-12:55

“The Business of Writing” : Literary Organizations discuss needed elements for a successful writing career.

Panelists: Kevin Larimer, Editor-in Chief of Poets & Writers Magazine and Michael Mejias, literary agent at Writer’s House. Moderated by Americo Casiano Jr
1:00-1:45

The Bronx “Book Desert”: Fighting Back through Public Libraries and New Bookstores
Panelists Noëlle Santos (Lit Bar), Oren Teicher (American Booksellers Association), Melissa Coss Aquino (Bronx Community College) and Gesille Dixon (Director of Bronx Libraries for the New York Public Library) will discuss the lack of bookstores in the Bronx and what the borough is doing about it. Moderator: Robert Farrell.
2:00-2:30

Keynote Speaker

Kevin Young, poet, essayist, Director of the Schomburg Center for

Research in Black Culture and incoming Poetry Editor of the New Yorker Magazine.

Introduction: Michael Alvarez, Associate Director for the Central Bronx Neighborhood Libraries at The New York Public Library
2:40-3:25

The Next Chapter

Our panel of writers and poets will discuss their writing and publishing careers, sharing their personal experiences as young writers to present.Topics to include ageism, genderism, racism, their thoughts on the key to longevity and what’s the next chapter to a long and distinguished career? Writers and poets at all levels as well as those interested in literary pursues will appreciate their insights.

Panelists: Edward D. Currelley, Ed Friedman, Kate Rushin, and Carmen D. Lucca. Moderator: Lorraine Currelley
3:30-4:00

Get to Know Your Library

Bronx Library Center staff discuss the roles of librarians and the importance of reading and literacy in the Bronx.  Facilitators:  Jean Harripersaud, Managing Librarian of the Bronx Library Center and Michael Alvarez, Associate Director for the Central Bronx Neighborhood Libraries at The New York Public Library.
4:05-4:50

We’re Here!

LGBTQ writers of color discuss opportunities, support, writing, and social justice issues under the new presidency. Panelists: Imani Rashid, Meriam Rodriguez, and Orlando Ferrand. Moderator: Charles Rice-González
5:00-5:45

A Weaving of Voices

A poetry and spoken word presentation featuring Cyd Charisse Fulton, Gha’il Rhodes Benjamin, Jesus “Papoleto” Melendez and Noel Quinones. Facilitator: Oscar Sanders
6:00-6:45

Musical Performance

Jackie Flowers Quartet performs

6:45-7:00

A Gathering of Community

CONFERENCE ROOM (Upper Level)

12:40-2:00

Speed Coaching

Poets and Writers: Need assistance with writing or performance? Perhaps you have some ideas you need assistance with? Consult with one of our Speed Coaches: Mercy Tullis-Bukhari,  Edward D. Currelley, Peggy Robles Alvarado & (Coordinator), Lorraine Currelley. Ramatu Mohammad (Time Manager). ALL SESSIONS ARE FREE, but are limited and early registration is required.  Click on link for details.

CONFERENCE ROOM (Lower Level-C1)

12:10-12:55

Women’s Literary Workshop

The Abuela Stories Project will be at The Bronx Book Fair. Award winning performance poet Peggy Robles- Alvarado and Bronx blogger Lisa Gomez will facilitate a workshop using The Abuela Stories Project Book as a tool to generate original writing. Writers of all ages, identifiers, genres and levels are welcome. To end our workshop, participants will share their work to cheers, claps and finger snaps in our open mic! The Abuela Stories Project Book will be available for purchase but will not be required for the workshop. Join us for an afternoon of Abuela Stories at The Bronx Book Fair! For more information on The Abuela Stories Project Please visit abuelastories.com
1:00-1:50

“How to Publish” Getting Your Work Out.

Facilitator Gary Johnston will talk to attendees about how to get your work published.
2:45-3:30

Zine Publishing and Beyond

Learn different ways of self-publishing, and walk away with ideas on how to create, print, and distribute your own publication.  Facilitators: Margot Terc, Ana Maria Hoffman, and Tammy Lopez.
3:45-4:30

Funding Literary Artists and Literary Institutions (Nonprofits).

Facilitated by Americo Casiano, this workshop will focus on basic funding available to both the writer of creative literature (fiction and poetry) and nonprofit organizations whose focus is the Literary Arts and/or whose mission is the promotion of the fine arts in which creative literature (fiction and poetry) serves as one of its programming focuses. It will begin with a short summary of the funding landscape in general and then focus on the central theme of the workshop.
4:35-5:20

Youth on the Mic

A youth poetry and spoken word presentation, featuring Oyindamola Shoola (Bronx Community College), Rebecca  Perez (Bronx Community College), Gabrielle O’Connor (Lehman College), Dimitrios Lefas (Lehman College), and Sasha Smith, BCC alum and Poetry Project 2016-2017 Emerge-Surface-Be Fellow. Facilitated by Melissa Coss-Aquino.
CHILDREN’S STORY HOUR ROOM (2ND FLOOR)
11:00-11:45

Children’s Programming: Bilingual Storytime

Stories, music and movement!
1:00-1:45

Family Time

A program for the family (Parents with children are invited to participate in reading aloud and craft.  Each child that attends will be given 1 free book.

2:00-2:45

Mother’s Day Card Making

Each child will make a card for Mother’s Day

As always, the fair is FREE! It’ll be held at the Bronx Library Center, 310 E. Kingsbridge Rd.

 

Bibliophiles Unite! Bronx Book Fair May 7 & 8

The Bronx Book Fair is back and better than ever (and I’m not just saying that because I’m on the planning committee this year!) Now a two-day event, the Bronx Library Center will serve as host to a diverse array of authors, poets, publishers, and discussions on the literary landscape of the Bronx.  Best of all, it’s free and open to all ages.

Front Post card-2

Q & A with Bronx Book Fair Participant Edward Currelley

Next in the Bronx Book Fair Q&A series is Edward D. Currelley, an author and artist. He was awarded honorable status by Writer’s Digest for Stage Playwriting in 2008. His children’s book “I’m not lost, I’m with you” and young adult novel “That Krasbaum Kid” will be published this year. He is the president of Pen To Mind Books & Child Development Concepts, Inc.

edwardcurrelley

What brought you to the Bronx?

Originally I’m from Manhattan, Harlem.Thirty or so years ago my sister Lorraine Currelley planted roots in the Wakefield section of the Bronx. There was so much development in the literary arts that she encouraged me to move there, I did, with her.

Does the Bronx play a role in your writing? If so, please explain.

Yes, the Bronx is one of the few remaining untapped sources of raw talent. I’ve witnessed and participated in programs sponsored by various Bronx organizations and facilitated by Lorraine, writers that had no voice, now publishing, poeting, doing open mic performances. I find it very inspiring. The Bronx is so large with so many voices you don’t have to go far to be heard in a significant way.

What are you most looking forward to at the Bronx Book Fair?

I’m looking forward to connecting with other artists, to expand my scope, to understand what the community needs and want to read, what kinds of literature will make a difference. Positive impact, that’s what I hope to have and find.

What would you like attendees to take away from your reading?

Joy, fun, a little excitement to get involved with reading more and/or writing. Sharing their inner voice.

Please tell us about any current or upcoming projects you are working on that we can look forward to.

Besides being a co-feature at The Bronx Book Fair on May 7th, 2016 at 4:50pm I’ll also be co-featuring at Poets Network & Exchange, Inc. at the Countee Cullen NYPL, 104 West 136th Street NYC on April 23rd, 2016. My short story “Fractured Soul”will be published in Writing For Peace’s 2016 anthology edition of Dove Tales, Metaphor Magazine’s 5th issue due April 2016 will feature three of my poems from an up coming collection.

Edward Currelley will be participating in A Weaving of Voices: An Intergenerational Poetry Reading on May 7th at 4:50 pm.

***Full disclosure: I am a part of the planning committee for this year’s Bronx Book Fair. ***

 

Bronx Book Fair Q & A with Charlie Vázquez

This month, I will be doing a series a interviews with participants in this year’s Bronx Book Fair.  I am currently on the planning committee and am so excited to introduce you to some of the amazing writers that will be a part of this amazing literary event.

First up is Charlie Vázquez, the Director of the Bronx Writers’ Center as well as Editorial Trance CCO and NYC Coordinator for Festival de la Palabra de Puerto Rico.
 
CharlieBridge

Are you from the Bronx? If so, which neighborhood?

 

I was born in Fordham Hospital in 1971 and grew up near Crotona/West Farms in my earliest years. We moved to Fordham in the mid-1970s and then to the Olinville neighborhood where my mother still lives. I live in the Pelham Parkway area currently.

 

Does the Bronx play a role in your writing? If so, please explain.

 

The Bronx plays a very major role in everything about me. The stigma that being a Bronxite carried (and still carries) has given me the propulsion and fearlessness for writing whatever I feel like expressing, whether that be about my Puerto Rican and Cuban heritage, growing up poor, or identifying as a queer man later in life. Writing from marginalized perspectives takes a lot of courage and armor in the face of judgement and criticism–a radical act if you think about it. That energy has found its way into everything I’ve ever written, whether poetry or erotic fiction. If people would like to know more they can follow my Facebook author page.

 

 What are you most looking forward to at the Bronx Book Fair? 

 

This will be my third year at the Bronx Book Fair. What I love most about it is that it creates the opportunity for local readers to learn about local authors. Disengagement with literature is a serious issue that we need to address. One way of doing this is by supporting local authors who are publishing books with diverse protagonists and children-of-color.

 

What would you like attendees to take away from your talk? 

 

As relates to publishing, that there are options. Not to fall too quickly into the self-publishing platform out of temptation for instant gratification. Writing can be a solitary act, but writers benefit from finding peer groups and writing circles where they can share their work, to get the feedback necessary for making it the best it can be before publishing it. All books, regardless of style and voice, should be looked over by someone with a critical eye to make sure grammar and formatting are professional enough. Your book’s quality is a direct reflection of how professional you are.

 

Please tell us about any current or upcoming projects you are working on that we can look forward to. 

 

We’re collaborating with PEN World Voices for our Bronx:Africa exhibit in late April and we’ll be hosting three Poetry Town Halls (a new program I created) from April through June. We also have a fiction writers group that meets once a month at the Poe Park Visitor Center. That info can be found on our website and folks can write to me directly to request being added to the Bronx Writers Center newsletter.  My email is charlie@bronxarts.org.

 

Charlie Vázquez will be participating in the  Getting Published: How to Get Your Work in Readers’ Hands panel.

Bronx Book Fair, Saturday May 30

This Saturday, May 30, 2015 the Bronx Book Fair will be held at the Bronx Library Center featuring workshops, talks, and readings from local authors. Plus, it’s totally free!

Read below for more information:

The Bronx Book Fair is dedicated to engaging and growing the
community of poets and writers in the Bronx and to connecting those
literary artists to readers and booklovers of all ages. Through
readings, workshops, and presentations our goal is to engage the
community with a variety of literature and programs that will broaden
access to Bronx literary artists, increase library usage, and
encourage a love of books and reading.

BRONX BOOK FAIR SCHEDULE
12:00-12:25
• Music: NuyoRican School Poetry Jazz Ensemble is a performance
ensemble grounded in the idea of providing creative literature in
performance.

12:30-12:55
• Poetry performance by Grammy Award-winning poet J. Ivey
• Storyteller Thelma Ruffin Thomas

1:00-1:55
• Contributors to the Bronx Memoir Project will read personal
selections from the book.
Bronx Heroes ComicCon! Connect with great comic book artists from
the Bronx and NYC area.

2:00-2:25
Bronx-born Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa will read from her book
Daughters of the Stone.
• Workshop: Writing Womanhood: Telling Our Stories in Our Voice,
facilitated by Peggy Robles Alvarado and Lorraine Currelley

2:30-3:25
• Legacy Women, an all-women’s traditional musical group rooted
in Afro-Dominican and Afro-Puerto Rican rhythms and traditions, bring
their unique blend of drumming, song, and dance

3:30-4:25
• Librarian Panel Discussion: Engaging Readers: Adults, Teens and
Children. Presented by the Bronx Library Center/NYPL

4:30-4:55
• Poetry Reading: Urayoán Noel of Canto Mundo, Brian Francis of
Cave Canem and Cathy Linh Che of Kundiman Poetry Reading

5:00-5:55
• BRIO Reading: Bronx Recognizes Its Own award winners Froilan Kali
Ramirez and Nahshon Ratcliff read from recent work.
• Open Mic hosted by Five Boro Story Project. Poets, register
early, limited space.

PEN World Voices Literary Conference THIS THURSDAY, May 7, 2015

This Thursday at the Bronx Museum, join writers from across the world for a day of writing workshops and author discussions featuring authors such as Chantel Acevedo, Billy Kahora (pictured below), and Boubacar Boris Diop. And did I mention it’s free?

Read below for more information.

“The Bronx is an immigrant borough and deserves worldly literary programming,” says Bronx Writers Center Director Charlie Vázquez. “The Bronx Council on the Arts was extremely excited to participate on this project and we’ll continue this win/win/win partnership for the benefit of Bronxites borough-wide.” Info and RSVP: http://bronxarts.orgBillyKahora