Archive for the ‘African American Authors’ Category

Fourth Annual Celebration of Diverse Literary Voices of Texas

May 12, 2020 Leave a comment


Fourth Annual Celebration of Diverse Literary Voices of Texas is going online with events at 10 a.m. on June 13, July 11, and August 8.

Get your coffee, pastry, and orange juice and join KAZI Book Review for some riveting discussions about books and writing on the second Saturdays of June, July, and August at 10 a.m.  What are the challenges of writing and publishing the first novel, your second book or your third book? With the collection of writers on June 13, we will be discussing novels that are in the literary, crime fiction, science fiction/fantasy genres, and a short story collection. We will explore not only the themes of their most recently published books, but their unique journeys in writing and publishing them. Meng Jin, author of the novel LITTLE GODS, and Richard Santos, author of the novel TRUST ME, just published their debut novels in 2020. For Rion Amilcar-Scott, his short story collection THE WORLD DOESN’T REQUIRE YOU, published in 2019, was his second book. And for science fiction/fantasy writer Nicky Drayden, ESCAPING EXODUS, published in 2019, was her third book. This will be just the first of three events planned for the Fourth Annual Celebration of Diverse Literary Voices of Texas. It is sponsored by KAZI Book Review and cosponsored this year by the Austin Community College Writing Department, Capital Metro, HEB, and Velva Price, District Clerk. This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department. To register click here.

On July 11 we will focus on civil rights with historians Peniel Joseph, author of THE SWORD AND THE SHIELD: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.; and  Brandon Winford, author of JOHN HERVEY WHEELER, Black Banking, and the Economic Struggle for Civil Rights.

On August 8 we will feature readings of unpublished work by local authors and college students, and recognition to outstanding fiction by student authors.

The Fourth Annual Celebration of Diverse Literary Voices of Texas is cosponsored by Austin Community College Creative Writing Department, HEB, Capital Metro, and Velva Price, District Clerk. The project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.

Registration information will be available soon.

Writers of Color Featured at Diverse Literary Voices of Texas February 22, 2020

February 12, 2020 Leave a comment
Alberta Phillips

In honor of Black History Month and communities of color, KAZI Book Review invites you to join us at the Austin Community College Riverside Campus, Building G, Room 8100 on Saturday, February 22 for the next event in the Diverse Literary Voices of Texas Writer SeriesIt features three panel discussions with writers discussing black journalism, familial love in young adult fiction, and the representation of justice in art.

The writer series kicked off January 23 at Huston-Tillotson University Library with a panel discussion on confronting white nationalism through literature and news.  On February 22 the event starts with a Black History Month panel on The Future of Black Journalism moderated by Alberta Phillips, Journalist and former Editorial Writer, Austin-American Statesman. The panelists will include:

              • Kahron Spearman, Freelance Journalist, Austin Chronicle
              • Billy Carr, News Director, KAZI 88.7 FM
              • Roxanne Evans,Owner, Evans Communication and former Chief Editorial Writer, Austin American-Statesman
              • John L. Hanson, Host and Producer of nationally syndicated radio series In Black America

Natalia Sylvester

Natalia Sylvester

The second panel is Forever Complicated: Familial Love & the Question of Belonging in YA, moderated by Natalia Sylvester, author of the forthcoming YA novel RUNNING (May 5, 2020).  The panelists are:

  • Ruben Degollado, author of THROW,
  • Addie Tsai, author of DEAR TWIN
  • Sherry Thomas, author of THE MAGNOLIA SWORD: A BALLAD OF MULAN.

Chaitali Sen

Chaitali Sen

And the final panel is Borderless: Conversations on Art, Action, and Justice, moderated by Chaitali Sen, author of THE PATHLESS SKY.  The panelists are:

              • Desiree Evans, MFA Fellow at the Michener Center for Writers at The University of Texas at Austin
              • Dena Afrasiabi, Publications Editor, Center for Middle Eastern Studies at The University of Texas at Austin
              • Fernando Flores, author of TEARS OF A TRUFFLEPIG

The Diverse Literary Voices of Texas is sponsored in part by PEN America, HEB, Austin Community College Department of Creative Writing and Black Student Success Committee, Capital Metro, and Velva Price, District Clerk.

Copies of the books of the authors participating will be available for purchase through a partnership with Malvern Books on February 22. A portion of the book sales will benefit Austin Community Radio. RSVP at EventBrite.

For more information contact Hopeton Hay via

PODCAST: Faith and Struggle in Lives of Ethel Waters, Mary Lou Williams, Eldridge Cleaver and Muhammad Ali

June 28, 2019 Leave a comment

Randal Maurice Jelks, author of FAITH AND STRUGGLE IN THE LIVES OF FOUR AFRICAN AMERICANS: Ethel Waters, Mary Lou Williams,Eldrige Cleaver, and Muhammad Ali, was the keynote author at the Celebration of the 10th Anniversary of KAZI Book Review on May 31 at the Carver Museum and Cultural Center in Austin, Texas.  In his book, Jelks examines their autobiographical writings, interviews, speeches, letters, and memorable performances to understand how each of these figures used religious faith publicly to reconcile deep personal struggles, voice their concerns for human dignity, and reinvent their public image.  Randal Maurice Jelks is Professor of American Studies and African American Studies at the University of Kansas.

I’d like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Dr. Jelks for participating in the KAZI Book Review 10th Anniversary Celebration.  I also would like to thank to Velva Price and journalist Alberta Phillips-Bledsoe for participating in a panel discussion on faith with Dr. Jelks at the celebration.


Enclosed is an interview I taped with Dr. Jelks about his book:

PODCAST: The Story of Integration at The University of Texas at Austin

June 22, 2019 Leave a comment

On December 16, 2018 I interviewed Virginia Cumberbatch, co-editor of AS WE SAW IT: The Story of Integration at The University of Texas at Austin.  Included in the interview are excerpts from an interview I previously did with retired Colonel Leon Holland in 2016, who was part of the first class of African Americans to enroll as undergraduates in 1956 at UT Austin.


Ret. Colonel Leon Holland


PODCAST: Interview with Austin Playwright Jeanette Hill

September 5, 2018 Leave a comment

On September 15, Jeanette Hill’s latest play, No Ordinary Days, will be opNo Ordinary Day Photoening at the Boyd Vance Theater at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center.  Her play explores how a black family deals with the mental illness of two family members.  Four actors from the play, Tawanna Jackson, Sabrina Simpson, Adaryll Perry, and Robert Walker, performed two scenes from the play live in studio.  To listen to the interview and performances click the link below.

PODCAST: 2018 Interview With Dr. Daina Ramey Berry, author of THE PRICE FOR THEIR POUND OF FLESH:

September 1, 2018 Leave a comment

THE PRICE FOR THEIR POUND OF FLESH: The Value of the Enslaved from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation  is a groundbreaking look at how slaves were the-price-for-their-pound-of-fleshvalued, and more importantly, how they valued themselves  through every phase of life, from birth to death and beyond, in early Daina Ramey BerryAmerica.  Dr. Berry is a Professor of History and African and African American Studies at The University of Texas at Austin.  I interviewed her live in the studio for the second time in August 2018, over one year after my original interview with her.  We discussed the need for a more comprehensive teaching of slavery in the schools, Kanye West’s unfortunate  statement that slavery was a choice, and the opening of the lynching museum in Alabama.

PODCAST: Lawrence Jackson Discusses Biography of Black Author Chester Himes

September 17, 2017 1 comment

In Lawrence Jackson’s monumental biography, CHESTER B. HIMES, readers are introduced to one of the most prolific and underrated Black writers of the 20th century.   Himes, who lived from 1909-1984, was the author of 17 novels and numerous short stories.  Himes was a black literary realist who used fiction to honestly express the rage he felt at racism, despite the criticism of some of his contemporaries that his perspective was too bleak.  It was his Harlem detective novels that paved the path for enduring financial success as two of those novels were made into movies in the 1970s, Cotton Comes to Harlem and Come Back Charleston Blue.

Lawrence P. Jackson is a Professor of English and History at Johns Hopkins University and also the author of RALPH ELLISON: Emergence of Genius.