The BackList

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Haki Madhubuti's new memoir

There's a feature/review in the Chicago Sun Times of Haki Madhubuti's new memoir (which I'm reppin). The reviewer was "mezmorized not only by Madhubuti's prose, but by his raw honesty." She then goes on to say that YellowBlack is, "destined to become a classic in the tradition of Richard Wright's Black Boy."

You don't hear a reviewer say they were mezmorized too often. And comparisons to Black Boy. That's big.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Time 100 Novels of all time

Check out what Time deems as the 100 Novels of all time. They've got some good ones on here. They don't have too many real recent ones, although I noticed White Teeth.

But we're not even going to get into how many I HAVE NOT READ. Ughh, the pressure. I should go on a reading sabbatical.

I did go on a classic reading tour (where you don't have to leave the comfort of your home), still plugging through, some "classics" bore the hell out of me and I feel myself reading them just because. That isn't that fun.

But then others I am mad that I am just getting around to reading them.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Caryl Phillips on writing and the image of black men

Check out an interview with Caryl Phillips that is pretty on point.

New Issue of Backlist Up

Oh my goodness, this issue took me forever to get out. But I think it came together nicely.

Wanna hear it? Here it go.

Stacia Brown interviewed the ever-honest and wonderful warrior writer, asha bandele. Soul-brother-writer-number-one, Mark Anthony Neal, interviewed actress-turned-novelist, Denise Nicholas. I got a chance to probe Scott Poulson-Bryant, the author of the soon-to-be-released book that everyone will be talking about, Hung. There’s a feature where four fabulous writers discuss being first-time novelists and Danielle Jackson has contributed a piece about the sometimes understated importance of black publishing houses. Also check out my new feature, called Editor's BackList, where I pick the books I'm checking for.

Folks are lovin Freshwater Road

So I know that I had to read Freshwater Road by Denise Nicholas, but it is even more urgent now.

For one, Mark Anthony Neal contributed a profile of Denise Nicholas for BackList. Which is wonderful. I thought it was cool for him to interview her, especially since he said he used to have a little crush on her.

Valerie Boyd, author of Wrapped In Rainbows (the dope, dope biography of Zora Neale Hurston) also did a profile of Denise Nicholas in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

This is also great news for independent publishing: Agate out of Chi-town.

Gwendolyn Brooks Conference

I wish I could be there...

October 19–22 15th Annual Gwendolyn Brooks Writers Conference. Chicago State University. Invited guests include Idris Goodwin, Octavia Butler, Sonia Sanchez, Kalamu ya Salaam, Amaud Johnson and many more.

Lorraine and James Editor Jasai Madden will be at the Cordell Reed Student Union Building. Meet Jasai and get your copy of Lorraine and James Vol. 1 Issue 1. For more details go to

African Voices Seeking Volunteers

AFRICAN VOICES is looking for volunteers and interns for our 2005-2006 SeasonAFRICAN VOICES, a not-for-profit cultural arts organization, is dedicated to fostering cultural understanding and awareness through literature and the arts.

Established in 1992, African Voices publishes a quarterly literary magazine and sponsors literary readings, art exhibitions, writing workshops and other community programs. We also co-organize REEL SISTERS OF THE DIASPORA FILM FESTIVAL & LECTURE SERIES with Long Island University, Media Arts Dept., Brooklyn Campus. Interested volunteers should respond to our volunteer coordinator at

Volunteers will help us organize and promote the following programs:

Cultural Circle Conference: The Circle Conference connects writers and visual artists with resources they need to pursue careers in publishing and the arts. The Circle offers information on grants, writing programs, retreats for artists and writers, artists' residencies and other programs. One of the forums popular workshops is a panel on protecting and promoting literature and art on the Internet.

Ellie Charles Artists Awards Benefit & Scholarship Program: African Voices presents the Ellie Charles Artists Awards to honor artists, community activists and other educators for their contributions to society. The program is an annual benefit for African Voices. Past honorees include poets Sonia Sanchez and Amiri Baraka, photographer Gordon Parks, actress Ruby Dee, and award-winning authors Walter Mosley and Wole Soyinka.

Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival: Reel Sisters is an annual film festival co-organized with Long Island University, Media Arts Dept., Brooklyn Campus during Womenâ's History Month. The three day festival screens more than 25 films by women of color across the globe and provides opportunities for women filmmakers. For information visit

Rhymes, Rhythms & Rituals: Founded in 1997, Rhymes is a poetry concert in the park series featuring local bands, poets and a children's storytelling corner. The summer series has hosted concerts in Prospect Park, Fort Greene Park, Bryant Park, Marcus Garvey Park and Empire Fulton Ferry State Park. Past concerts have featured legendary jazz percussionist Roy Ayers, poets Lynne Procope, DuEwa Frazier, Mos Def, Michelle Courtney Berry, Saul Williams, asha bandele, The Universes, Amiri Baraka and Jessica Care Moore.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Changes in Black Publishing, Per PW

Parts of this article originally appeared in the October 7, 2005 issue of PW Daily

Harlequin announced that it was purchasing BET Books from Black Entertainment Network, a subsidiary of Viacom. The sale, which will be finalized in December, will give Harlequin three major African-American imprints: Arabesque (which was founded by Kensington Books in 1994 and sold to BET in 2000), Sepia and New Spirit. As part of the deal, Harlequin will take over distribution of the imprints from Kensington.

Christine Saunders, Harlequin's public relations manager, says the purchase is "very much in keeping with the theme" of what the house is already publishing. The purchase will give Harlequin some 400 new titles, and bring BET's editorial staff into the fold. BET Books' publisher, Linda Gill, will move into Harlequin's New York office along with "two or three other editors," Saunders says.

Kensington has also established a new business with Urban Books, best known for its "street lit" fiction. In a joint venture, with Kensington handling distribution, the two companies have set up Urban Soul. The new imprint will expand Urban Books' offerings into women's fiction.
For its part, Urban Books, owned by Carl Weber, has just acquired a small independent house called United Brothers Books. With the purchase, Urban Books will establish another new imprint Urban Mass, which will launch in March 2006 with the release of LaTanya Williams' Mixed Messages and Roy Gle's Is It a Crime. Urban Mass will focus on offering one new title and one mass market reprint (from Urban Books' backlist) each month.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Get Your BackList t-shirts


You can purchase a BackList t-shirt online.

Just imagine how cool you'll be rocking some of the most influential and creative black writers on a t-shirt!

Also peep out the new BackList logo (designed by the fabulous Jose Benitez, who also designed the t-shirts) and my new tagline: Keeping Books In Style.