We can not believe tomorrow is our last gathering of The Hurston and Hughes Literary Circle™ for this summer!
The time really seemed to fly by from our first book, The Angel of Greenwood to our final conversation tomorrow with Every Body Looking.
The teens have engaged in discussions about historical moments, stereotypes, the danger of a singular narrative about being Black + American + Teen, “cheesy” stories and how those do matter, poetry, children’s images, and the importance of all of this set against the continued political climate around masks, vaccines, and what is taught in the nation’s high schools.
Two of the literary circle members were interviewed, independently, by reporters in Connecticut discussing their views of the value of a program like this and the impact it has made on their lives. You can read the article here.
As they all prepare for back-to-school, we are grateful to have been a small part of the summer. They are indeed the most brilliant young people in the world. I appreciate being entrusted to guide them in this Afro-diaspora literary experience.
What do we plan to do for next year?
We will take some time to evaluate the program, if it should remain virtual or go back to the origins of being a local literary experience for teens gathered together around coffee and books.The Covid19 pandemic continues to pose challenges to everyone between hybrids, all virtual, in-person-but-masked. This is becoming our new normal and like all in the arts, we are adjusting.
What is certain is that we will still be reading and still discovering authors. We were unable to host our author chats this year but hope to do so next year. That said, we were delighted that J.Elle – author of Wings of Ebony and Kim Johnson – author of This is My America – both considered our program worthy places for their books to be discussed.
To our teens, keep reading. It expands your world and makes an enormous difference in your outlook. It also adds to your education in ways that the traditional classroom can sometimes miss, especially now with school board conversations. A book is a passport in multiple ways.
To our parents, thank you. Simply that. We walk alongside you in this journey for literary liberation that celebrates the stories of being Black in the beautiful diaspora. As the American 2020 census revealed, this country is more People of the Global Majority. We look forward to engaging in partnerships with Asian-centered, Indigenous-centered, and Latinidad-centered programs.
Until June 14, 2022, always keep a book with you and if it is a Black author, support them by also buying from a Black bookstore. http://www.bookshop.org and visit those what we ordered from this year – Harriett’s Bookshop, Mahogany Books, Baldwin & Co., Semicolon, and Uncle Bobbies.
Follow us on Instagram – @tayefosterbradshaw or on twitter @lattegriot