The BackList

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Vibe Books To Start Street Lit Line

From PW Daily:

Vibe Books, Kensington Ink Publishing Pact
by Felicia Pride
After seven years, Vibe, the urban music and culture magazine, has ended its publishing relationship with Random House and has entered into a joint partnership with Kensington Publishing to co-publish a line of books called Vibe Street Lit under the Vibe Books imprint.
Beginning In January 2007, Vibe Street Lit will publish four trade paperback originals with a focus on fiction and will target the audience for Vibe and Vibe Vixen (its female counterpart). Rob Kenner, editorial director of Vibe Books, will acquire and edit for the imprint, working closely with Karen Thomas, Kensington editorial director. Kenner said initial titles will be announced soon.

"They know this marketplace and they hustle as hard as we do," Kenner said about the switch from Random House to Kensington, which has been increasingly focusing on the African American market. Although Kenner said he expects Vibe Street Lit to take the popular urban fiction genre to "another level," he emphasized that Vibe Books will publish other categories beyond "street-based" fiction and nonfiction.

The companies will work together, mutually agreeing on all aspects of the publishing program and hope to capitalize on marketing opportunities available through Vibe Venture, the magazine's parent company, through print advertising, contests, publicity, street marketing, events and internet marketing. Production, distribution, and subsidiary rights will be handled by Kensington. Manie Barron of the Menza-Barron Agency brokered the agreement.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Jamaican Writers Bus'

The New York Times has an article about Iron Balloons, the fiction anthology edited by Colin Channer, published by one of my favorite publishers, Akashic Books. The anthology features writers from Jamaica's Calabash Literary Festival.

The festival was great. Imagine sunny weather, beach atmosphere, jerk chicken (i love my jerk), reggae music and some of the best authors from around the globe reading and chilling. That's Calabash. It is a vacation for literary lovers.

Colin wrote a story in the collection that's hilarious, which is mentioned in the NYT piece. The first night, to kick off the Calabash festivities, Delroy Lindo read the story. Mind you, the story is written in the voice of an older Jamaican woman. Still Delroy was wonderful and pulled it off like the great actor he is.

What's great about Calabash is that it is action. Colin, Kwame Dawes and Justine Henzell saw a literary void in Jamaica and did something about it.

Marlon James, who wrote one of my favorite books of 2005, John Crow's Devil is a product of Calabash. He found his editor and publisher there. Look out for my interview with him in the next Mosaic Magazine.

So I've said a lot to say: Big up to Calabash. And to the spirit of action.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Did I lie to Harry Belafonte?

I've been writing for a long time. I self-published my first book at age 5, no bull. I mean I haven't published a book since then, but I've been in the game for a minute. Sidebar, don't you love when singers and rappers say they've been singing/rapping/performing since they were two years old?

Anyway. I've been writing for awhile, but never officially. I've never told anyone, when asked what I do, that I was writer.

So on my recent trip to Jamaica, I stayed a couple of days in Kingston. While chilling by the pool, who do I see chilling at the poolside restaurant? Harry Belafonte. WOW.

At first, I didn't want to bother him. You know he was chilling. Plus all these people were going up to him and I didn't want to be one of those...

But I changed my mind. I did want to be one of those.

So I go up to him and he's a gentlemen, real old school in the best way possible. We need more men like him. He drops wisdom without trying. Then he asks my friend and I about ourselves. And he asks me what I do, and I say, "I'm a writer."

Where did that come from? I have no idea. I wasn't necessarily trying to Big Up myself, but the words just seemed to flow.

So now I'm like, I don't want to be a liar. I don't want to let Mr. Belafonte down. I need to stop fighting the feeling. I need to embrace the writer side of me. And it was that simple, after all these years.

Yep, I'm a writer. That wasn't so hard. Oh and I'm officially working on several projects none of which are near finished!

BV has a blog

Shout out to Ken Gibbs at AOL Blackvoices. His blog More than Words is definitely welcomed. No disrespect to the AOL Book Maven who had the only blog on the site for awhile, but I was wondering why AOL Blackvoices didn't have a blog that talked about, uh, well Black authors.

Check it out when you get a chance.

He's making me look bad with all the visuals. I did say I was going to try to do more pictures...

BackList is coming. Do I keep saying that? Well it's so close I can taste it. I bet if you visit in the next week or so you're going to be completely surprised.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

A Hip Hop inspired literary journal

Check out my review of Bronx Biannual, a hip hop inspired literary journal. Man do we need one.

Thursday, June 08, 2006



Enter to win an autographed copy of JUMP AT THE SUN, Kim McLarin’s provocative new novel that USA Today compared to Terry McMillan’s, Waiting to Exhale, and Toni Morrison’s, Beloved.

Kim McLarin is giving away 10 autographed copies of her new novel. JUMP AT THE SUN (Harpercollins, July 2006) explores the challenges of mothering and being mothered in a complex world, witnessed through the lives of three generations. About JUMP AT THE SUN, USA Today wrote, “...her daring novel has the fire-breathing sass of Terry McMillan's Waiting to Exhale and the soul-searching depth of Toni Morrison's Beloved...honest and surprising and provocative...refreshing on a hot summer day.”

To enter, visit, read the excerpt from chapter 1 of JUMP AT THE SUN, and answer the following questions:

1) What is the full name of Grace’s mother?
2) On what day does Grace’s mother say she should be careful?

Send an email to with the following information:

1) Your answers
2) Name
3) Email address

Contest deadline: July 31, 2006
One entry per person. Winners will be randomly selected and notified by email. Winners will have to provide a mailing address to receive free copy. Names of winners will be posted on

Kim McLarin, is an award-winning journalist and the author of the critically-acclaimed novels TAMING IT DOWN and MEETING OF THE WATERS. She is a former staff writer for The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Greensboro News & Record and the Associated Press. She is currently writer-in-residence at Emerson College in Boston.

Reading group guide available at ISBN: 0060528494; William Morrow/Harpercollins; Release date: 07/03/2006

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Zadie Smith wins Orange Prize

Zadie won the Orange Prize for On Beauty. Well deserved.

BIBR launches new book review supplement

From BIBR:

Black Issues Book Review magazine Target Market News have announced the introduction of Blacks&Books, the first monthly book review supplement to be nationally distributed through black newspapers and editorially focused on books for African-American readers. Read full story.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Candy Licker

So has written their piece on street lit. I think it's now a requirement for media outlets to do at least one article about the phenonmenon sweeping the nation. This one is an extended review of Candy Licker by Noire. Once you bypass the stuff that you've read a million times before (the definition of street lit, an explanation of it's Donald Goines/Iceburg Slim roots, and details about the "dirty, violent" nature of the text) the author goes to extreme lengths to uncover the identity of Noire. Geez, he had mad time on his hands.