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.

Advertisements

Event Announcement: Festival of the Word in Northern Manhattan, Sunday, March 4

On Sunday, March 4, please join the Sunday Best Reading Series at Hudson View Gardens for a special double-header event, Festival of the Word in Northern Manhattan. The afternoon’s festivities will start with a theater workshop for teens with Mino Lora of the People’s Theatre Project and Veronica Liu of Seven Stories Institute.  The workshop will be followed by a reading featuring three writers who received literary arts grants from the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (NoMAA) for 2012.

The theater workshop, Cake Mix: Instant Theatre, will take place in The Lounge at Hudson View Gardens from 1:30PM to 3:30PM.  The theme of this workshop, which is appropriate for kids aged twelve and up, is “My Neighborhood.”

The showcase of readings by NoMAA literary grantees will begin in The Lounge at 4PM. Readers will include Lola Koundakjian and Paquita Soares Coalla, as well as Veronica Liu, who will be participating in both part of the afternoon’s “double-header.”

The suggested contribution of $7 for adults will cover admission to both events, as well as drinks and snacks at the reception which will take place immediately after the event. Children (under 18) will be admitted without charge. Proceeds will benefit Voces/Voices, a theater and writing program for teens co-developed by People’s Theatre Project and Seven Stories Institute.

Please read on for more information about the artists who will be making this special literary festival possible.

*****

Poet Lola Koundakjian

Lola Koundakjian is an Armenian poet who has lived in New York City since 1979. She is the author of The Accidental Observer, a book of poems in three languages—Armenian, Spanish, and English. Her poetry has appeared online in alpialdelapalabra (Argentina), Armenian Poetry Project (New York City), The Literary Groong (University of Southern California), Mediterranean.nu (Sweden) and UniVerse (Chicago). Poems have also appeared in the Anthology Memoria del XX Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellin (Colombia), Armenian Weekly (Boston) and Pakin (Beirut, Lebanon).  Lola has read her work in Los Angeles, Rhode Island and New York City’s Cornelia Street Café, Bowery Poetry Club, UN Correspondents Association, the Northern Manhattan’s Art Alliance’s 2010 Art Stroll, and the Above The Bridge series on Bennett Avenue. Her work was translated into Spanish for the 20th International Poetry Festival in Medellín, Colombia where she read in 2010. For the past 20 years, Lola has organized evenings dedicated to the Dead Armenian Poets’ Society, and since 2006 has produced and edited text and audio for the multi-lingual Armenian Poetry Project.

Mino Lora, co-executive & artistic director of The People's Theatre Project

Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Mino Lora has been living and working as an actor, director, teaching artist and arts administrator in NYC since 2000. During her tenure with People’s Theatre Project, which she co-founded, the organization has won the prestigious Union Square Arts Award and Lora has received The Creative Power of Women Award from State Senator Bill Perkins for her “Outstanding work as a woman in the Arts”. She has been featured in newspaper and magazine publications in New York City and the Dominican Republic and has been invited to speak on various panels throughout New York City to share her experience as a Latina artist working to build community through theatre. Mino received her BA in English Literature and Theatre from Manhattanville College and her MA in Peace Studies and Conflict Transformation from the Graduate Institute. She also holds a certification as a peace mediator from the Washington Heights-Inwood Coalition. Mino and the People’s Theatre Project “firmly believe in theatre as a means for social change and are committed to creating a more just and peaceful world through powerful art.”

Writer Veronica Liu

Veronica Liu’s writing, comics, photography, and silkscreen prints have been published in Broken Pencil, Quick Fiction, Get Ahead, and Pax Americana. Her short films have been screened at LadyFest East and the Arlene Grocery Picture Show, and her radio show Far Too Canadian was featured in the Village Voice Best of New York 2001. An audio collage piece that Veronica created in 2008 in St. Petersburg and Moscow will be released on Palanquin Records in the near future. Locally, she has presented her work at KGB Bar, South Street Seaport’s Melville Gallery, Bowery Poetry Club, Cornelia Street Café, Pete’s Candy Store, Happy Ending, and La Pregunta.  She has received grants from Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, Manhattan Community Arts Fund, New Yorkers for Better Neighborhoods/Citizens Committee of New York City, and the Goodman Fund, and she has been a finalist for Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction and Family Matters awards. Veronica is cofounder of Fractious Press, Word Up community bookshop, and Washington Heights Free Radio (WHFR.org). She has been on the organizing committee for the New York State Council on the Arts’s literature division convenings since 2007, and director of the non-profit Seven Stories Institute since 2010. By day, she works as an editor at Seven Stories Press.

Writer Paquita Suarez Coalla

Paquita Suárez Coalla is a Spanish writer and a professor at Borough of Manhattan Community College (City University of New York). She is co-founder of Latino Artists Round Table (LART), a cultural group that organizes readings and conferences of Hispanic writers from all the different regions of Latin America, the United States and Spain. She has published two books of short stories in Asturian, her native language. Pa nun escaeceme has been translated into Spanish–Para que no se me olvide–and English–So I Won’t Forget. El día que nos llevaron al cine has been translated into Spanish–La mio vida ye una novela. It is based on testimonies depicting the life of rural women from Asturias. Paquita is also the editor of the anthology Aquí me tocó escribir, an anthology of New York Latino writers; her work has been included in the anthology Dos orillas: Voces en la narrativa lésbica / Two Shores: Voices in Lesbian Narrative. As a literary critic she published in 1994, in México, the book La literatura fantástica en la obra de Adolfo Bioy Casares.

Other Literary Events: Revolutionary Doctors, Word Up Rent Party, The Local Word at Le Cheile

Due to the rescheduling of “Cake Mix,” the writing and theater workshop for children with Mino Lora of the People’s Theater Project that was originally calendared in January, the next Sunday Best Reading Series will not take place until February 5. But Northern Manhattan is bustling with plenty of great literary events this holiday season.

If you are hankering for some deep literary discussion (with a film!), go hear Steve Brouwer talk about his book on revolutionary doctors in Cuba and Venezuela at Word Up Community Bookstore on Wednesday, December 14.  Speaking of Word Up, if you are as excited and relieved as we are that the bookstore remains open and want to help ensure it continues to survive, please attend Word Up’s 1st Rent Party on December 17.  And if you’re just in the mood to hear some good, old-fashioned great writing by authors who live in Northern Manhattan, stop in at the Irish pub Le Cheile at 181st Street and Cabrini Boulevard on December 13 for Washington Heights’ newest literary reading series, The Local Word. Read below for more details about these events.

Steve Brouwer at Word Up Community Bookstore: Wednesday, December 14th, 6- 9pm

Steve is the author of Revolutionary Doctors: How Venezuela and Cuba are Changing the World’s Conception of Health Care. He will discuss the book and present a 27-minute documentary film about Cuban doctors in Nicaguara by Victor Casaus. Free. 4157 Broadway at West 176th Street. Take the A train to 175 Street.

Word Up Community Bookstore, First Month’s Rent Party: Saturday, December 17th, 6-9pm

Food, drinks, music. Celebrate the first six months of Word Up in Washington Heights! $10.

http://wordupbooks.wordpress.com/about-us/

The Local Word: A Fortnightly Evening of Live Literature: Tuesday, December 13th, 8–10pm

The Irish restaurant Le Cheile (839 W. 181st, corner of Cabrini Boulevard) is hosting a new reading series featuring Northern Manhattan writers called “The Local Word.” Come out to hear and support local literary artists at The Local Word’s inaugural event on December 13, featuring the work of poets David Eye, Stephanie Berger, John Deming, and Lisa Marie Basile, and music by Tamara Jaton and John Deming. 

Holiday cheer to all friends of the Sunday Best Reading Series!

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.

%d bloggers like this: