Event Recap: Festival of the Word

Last March, the Sunday Best Reading Series hosted a day-long Festival of the Word at Hudson View Gardens in Northern Manhattan.  The program kicked off at 2PM with a children’s theater workshop focusing on social justice and stories about living in Washington Heights presented by Mino Lora and Veronica Liu for the People’s Theatre Project.  Proceeds from the gate admission for Festival of the Word went to the Voices program of the People’s Theatre Project, an after-school project for local teens aged 13 through 16.

Mino Lora, Director of the People’s Theatre Project.

Following the workshop, audience members gathered in The Lounge to hear readings by three literary artists who received 2012 NoMAA Individual Artist Grants to support their work.

Poet Lola Koundakjian, curator and producer of the Armenian Poetry Project.

Lola Koundakjian read poems from her newly published collection The Accidental Observer and also shared new work with audience members.  Lola received a 2011 NoMAA grant to help fund The Accidental Observer and received her second consecutive NoMAA grant this year. As curator and producer of the Armenian Poetry Project, Lola is not only busy with her own work but also dedicates herself to promoting the work of Armenian poets and exposing it to new and eager readers.

Veronica Liu, founder of Word Up Community Bookshop.

Veronica Liu, a local legend for her stewardship of both Washington Heights Free Radio and Word Up Community Bookshop,  talked to audience members about the literary journal for which she received funding from NoMAA this year. She shared her hopes the journal will become a community document for Northern Manhattan. She also revealed that the idea for  Word Up emerged at last year’s NoMAA grantee reading during the after-reception as she chatted with NoMAA director Sandra Garcia Betancourt.  The piece Veronica read was an ironic self-history that was at once a postmodern detective story and a reflection on the narcissism of youth; using a variety of texts and online archives to reconstruct the past, the narrator, on the verge of turning thirty, tried to figure out exactly what she did on her birthdays during her twenties.

Spanish writer Paquita Suarez-Coalla writes stories in her native language Asturian as well as in English. Her stories in Asturian reflect the interests and experiences of the Asturian people, who comprise one of Spain’s rich cultural and linguistic minorities.  Paquita read one of her stories which has been translated from her native Asturian into English as well as a story in Spanish about discrimination her sister experienced in school in the 1970s.

Spanish/Asturian writer Paquita Suarez-Coalla.

As always, the audio for this event has been archived at the Sunday Best Reading Series program page on the WHFR website for those who were unable to attend the event or who simply want to listen to it again in its entirety. Additional photos from this event are available on the Sunday Best Reading Series Flickr page.

Remember the Sunday Best Reading Series returns on Sunday, September 9 with readings by poets published by the celebrated Irish press, Salman Poetry.

Reading Announcement: Cake Mix Remix

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have had to reschedule “Cake Mix,” a children’s theatre and writing workshop with Mino Lora, which was originally to take place in January.  This event will now take place on March 4, 2012.  The event will become a double-header (Festival of The Word) with readings by the 2012 NoMAA literary grantees following the “Cake Mix” workshop.

The next event in the reading series is now on February 5, 2012—a program of delicious new fiction by Janice Eidus, Douglas Light, and Jonathan Baumbach.

You will receive the usual e-notices and reminders.  Meanwhile, so you can mark your calendars, here again are those dates:

February 5th:  New Fiction (Janice Eidus, Douglas Light, Jonathan Baumbach). The Lounge @ HVG, 4:00 pm.  $7 for readings and reception after.

March 4th: Festival of The Word in Northern Manhattan: a theatre/writing working for children by Mino Lora of the People’s Theatre Project followed by a reading by the 2012 literary grantees of the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance.  The Lounge @HVG,  exact time(s) TBD. Adults $7/children free.

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