Listen to the podcast of my December 6 interview on KAZI Book ReviewSimel E.J. Bey, author of THE MYSTERIOUS ONE OF KAPWERA ENGOLO and Willie S. Anderson, author of WYNTER, TAKE A BOW!:
MYSTERIOUS ONE OF KAPWERA ENGOLO
Based on the true story of Mestre Benedito, one of the innovators of the unique and beautiful martial art Capoeira, MYSTERIOUS ONE OF KAPWERA ENGOLO celebrates the life of a young man named Besege taken from his home and sold into slavery in the New World. Swiftly escaping to a multi-racial community of freedom fighters, Besege survives to witness turbulent times, including the birth of capoeira from a mix of African and native Brazilian arts, the abolition of slavery in Brazil, and the rise of Afro-Brazilian culture as an enduring force.Author Simel E.J. Bey is a Licensed & Board Certified Acupuncturist and teacher. Simel earned a bachelor’s degree in Radio, Film, and Print and his master’s degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. He is the CEO of Bey Acupuncture, a thriving and accolade-winning practice specializing in Oriental Medicine. He made his publishing debut in 2010 with Children’s Initiatic Tales: Stories from The Immortal Light, a collection of six original tales inspired by traditions of myth, spiritual folklore, and ancient fairy tales.
WYNTER, TAKE A BOW
Every child is gifted. Wynter, Take a Bow poetically illustrates the creative genius and exuberant spirit of one amazing little girl. Featuring phenomenally vivid art by Keturah Ariel, each illustration is simply beautiful. Wynter, Take a Bow is Willie S. Anderson’s first published children’s book. Though written primarily for youngsters, this brilliant “work of heart” is sure to inspire and rejuvenate the child in each of us. Keep the pages turning!Willie S. Anderson, M.Ed., is an educator, visionary, writer, speaker, sojourner, and community advocate. Blessed to live her passion through service, Anderson firmly believes that we must use our God-given talents to uplift our community. Ms. Anderson is abundantly blessed with supportive family and friends. She is especially grateful for her magnificent mama, two lovely, dynamic daughters; a dedicated, sensational son-in-law; and three energetic, brilliant “baby grands.” A native of Henderson, Tennessee, Anderson resides in Pflugerville, Texas.
Tune in at 8 a.m. CST for my interview with Elsie Augustave, author of the 2013 novel THE ROVING TREE, on KAZI Book Review. THE ROVING TREE follows a young Haitian adoptee, Iris Odys, through various journeys across the world. Odys is the rejected daughter of a Haitian maid and of the middle-class Haitian man who employs her. In addition to the struggle for identity of cross-cultural adoptees, the book explores themes of class, color and religion in Haiti.
I just finished reading a chapter about Ernest Gaines prizing winning novel, A LESSON BEFORE DYING, in Michael DeRell Hill’s book, THE ETHICS OF SWAGGER: Prizewinning African American Novels, 1977-1993. Set in rural Louisiana in the late 1940s, A LESSON BEFORE DYING is about a black teacher recruited by his aunt to educate a young black man wrongfully accused of murder on deathrow on how to be a man. It deals with the racial conflicts of the deep south and how despite the main character’s education, it doesn’t preclude him from bring treated as a second class citizen. I’m taping an interview with Hill Saturday. Here is a footnote from page 88 in THE ETHICS OF SWAGGER that caught my attention:
“Gaine’s responses to wrongful conviction and black middle class impotence featured humility as potentially edifying…For evidence of both popular and bourgois rebellion, see, respectively, Public Enemy’s classic album It Takes A Nation of Millions (1988) and the April 1990 Ebony cover story, “Success is the Best Revenge,” about Vanessa Williams…This portrait of bourgeois bliss engaged a specific triumph over racial prejudice, but the story’s title phrase emerged as a generic slogan of affluence as activism.”
In his book, Hill examines how prizewinning African American authors dealt with white literary expectations and incorporated black traditions in their novels including TonI Morrison’s BELOVED, Alice Walker’s THE COLOR PURPLE, Charles Johnson’s MIDDLE PASSAGE, Gaines’ A LESSON BEFORE DYING, and others.
KAZI Book Review will feature excerpts from interviews with four authors appearing at the Texas Book Festival on the October 11 edition of KAZI Book Review on KAZI 88.7 FM:
- Attica Locke, author of the novel PLEASANTVILLE, a murder mystery set in 1996 revolving around a campaign to elect Houston’s first black mayor,
- James McGrath Morris, author of EYE ON THE STRUGGLE, a biography of the Black newspaper white house correspondent Ethel Payne,
- Laila Lalami, author of a historical novel about the first Black to explore America, THE MOORS ACCOUNT, and
Vu Tran, author of a mystery novel about the search for an enigmatic Vietnamese woman, DRAGONFISH.
The Texas Book Festival is October 17-18 and more information about all the authors appearing is available at texasbookfestival.org.
Be sure to tune in Monday, October 12, for the Monday edition of KAZI Book Review which will feature an interview with Wendell Pierce, author of a memoir about his efforts to rebuild the New Orleans neighborhood he grew up in after Hurricane Katrina, THE WIND IN THE REEDS: A Storm, A Play, and the City That Would Not Be Broken.
About the Book
In her debut collection of short fiction, GHOST SUMMER Tananarive Due escorts us down the supernatural path with stories that raise the anxiety of readers, subtlely growing the fear and fright. Due takes us to Gracetown, a small Florida town that has both literal and figurative ghost; into future scenarios that seem all too real; and provides empathetic portraits of those whose lives are touched by Otherness. Featuring an award-winning novella and fifteen stories—one of which has never been published before—GHOST SUMMER: STORIES, is sure to both haunt and delight.With these stories set in Florida and Georgia, in the past and the present, Due brings a uniquely African American voices to these tales of fright.
About the Author
Tananarive Due is a former Cosby Chair in the Humanities at Spelman College (2012-2014), where she taught screenwriting, creative writing and journalism. She also teaches in the creative writing MFA program at Antioch University Los Angeles. The American Book Award winner and NAACP Image Award recipient is the author of twelve novels and a civil rights memoir. In 2010, she was inducted into the Medill School of Journalism’s Hall of Achievement at Northwestern University.
KAZI Book Review contributors Peggy Terry and Evelyn Martin joined me in a live interview July 27 to discuss MANCHILD IN THE PROMISED Land. Listen to the interview:
Published in 1965, MANCHILD IN THE PROMISED LAND is a semi-autobiographical novel widely regarded as one of the most realistic and poignant portrayals of everyday life for the first generations of African Americans who grew up in northern cities during the 1940s and 1950s. In it, Claude Brown chronicles his coming of age in Harlem with both fondness and sadness, lamenting the many in his neighborhood, including his younger brother, who fell victim to the persistent violence, poverty and alcohol and drug addiction that plagued the community. Claude Brown died in 2002.
2015 marks the anniversary of two significant books by African Americans: the 25th anniversary of the publication of MIDDLE PASSAGE by Charles Johnson and 50th anniversary of the publication of MANCHILD IN THE PROMISED LAND by Claude Brown. Both books will be featured on KAZI Book Review’s July 27 edition at 8 a.m. CST on KAZI 88.7FM. Charles Johnson won the National Book Award for Fiction for MIDDLE PASSAGE, only the second African American to win the award for fiction at that time.
In the first segment of KBR, I discuss the origins of MIDDLE PASSAGE with its author Charles Johnson. The novel’s protagonist is Rutherford Calhoun, a newly freed slave and irrepressible rogue, desperate to escape unscrupulous bill collectors and an impending marriage to a priggish schoolteacher. He jumps aboard the first boat leaving New Orleans, the Republic, a slave ship en route to collect members of a legendary African tribe, the Allmuseri. Thus begins a daring voyage of horror and self-discovery.
Charles Johnson, a 1998 MacArthur fellow, is the S. Wilson and Grace M. Pollock Endowed Professor of English at the University of Washington in Seattle. His fiction includes Dr. King’s Refrigerator, Dreamer, and Middle Passage, for which he won the National Book Award. In 2002 he received the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
MANCHILD IN THE PROMISED LAND is a semi-autobiographical novel widely regarded as one of the most realistic and poignant portrayals of everyday life for the first generations of African Americans who grew up in northern cities during the 1940s and 1950s. In it, Claude Brown chronicles his coming of age in Harlem with both fondness and sadness, lamenting the many in his neighborhood, including his younger brother, who fell victim to the persistent violence, poverty and alcohol and drug addiction that plagued the community. Claude Brown died in 2002. KAZI Book Review contributors Evelyn Anderson and Peggy Terry will join me to discuss the significance of the book.