Create Dangerously is the One Book, One Philadelphia selection

Edwidge Danticat’s collection of essays, Create Dangerously, originally published in cloth by PUP and now in paperback by Vintage, has been selected for the One Book, One Philadelphia reading program. What this means is that the Free Library of Philadelphia is encouraging all Philadelphians (Is that what they are called?) to read the book and will sponsor a series of events — readings, lectures, film screenings — to foster a dialogue around the issues in the book.

Create Dangerously is a beautiful, moving book that presents Edwidge’s thoughts on what it means to be a writer; what it means to be an immigrant writer; and what it means to be an immigrant writer, writing outside of your homeland. I love the title of this article announcing the selection: “Creating dangerously, reading collectively”, as it really captures one of the themes in the book: an author may write at their own peril in order to bring important ideas about human rights to a global audience.

While I know many will pick up the paperback for economic reasons, I hope some people will opt to purchase the hardback edition. It is such an elegant and provocative package — with a printed case and a little slip of a dust jacket that is hand-printed — that it would be a lovely addition to anyone’s personal library (especially since it can be found on some online retailers for a mere $3-$4 more than the paperback!).

Edwidge Danticat on Creating Dangerously

In recent weeks, we’ve had tremendous good news. Not only has Create Dangerously won OCM Bocas Prize for Nonfiction, but author Edwidge Danticat was announced as the winner of the Harold Washington Literary Award joining earlier winners like Barbara Ehrenreich (2010), Walter Mosley (2007), Grace Paley (2002), Isabel Allende (1996), and Ralph Ellison (1992). This is an amazing honor and we extend our congratulations to Edwidge!

Edwidge Danticat at the Cambridge Forum

I don’t know how I missed this video before today, as this was taped in November. It’s still worth a watch now:

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The American Crawl reads “Create Dangerously”

If you haven’t picked up a copy of Create Dangerously yet, now’s a great time. The American Crawl is reading the book over the next few weeks and you can follow along in sort of a virtual book club.

If you want to get a jump start, try watching this video interview with GritTV:

More GRITtv


BOOK FACT: African American fraternal orders waged legal fights to defend their right to exist—fights that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where African Americans ultimately prevailed. Involving some of the lawyers who later went on to work with the NAACP, this struggle won some of the major victories in the quest for equal civil rights in America.

What a Mighty Power We Can Be:
African American Fraternal Groups and the Struggle for Racial Equality

By Theda Skocpol, Ariane Liazos, & Marshall Ganz

The authors demonstrate how African American fraternal groups played key roles in the struggle for civil rights and racial integration.

From the nineteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries, millions of American men and women participated in fraternal associations–self-selecting brotherhoods and sisterhoods that provided aid to members, enacted group rituals, and engaged in community service. Even more than whites did, African Americans embraced this type of association; indeed, fraternal lodges rivaled churches as centers of black community life in cities, towns, and rural areas alike. Using an unprecedented variety of secondary and primary sources–including old documents, pictures, and ribbon-badges found in eBay auctions–this book tells the story of the most visible African American fraternal associations.

We invite you to read chapter one online:

Edwidge Danticat interviewed by Zocalo

Also available on the Zocalo site.

Lawrence P. Jackson at New York Institute of Humanities

This photograph was taken at the mid-November launch for Lawrence P. Jackson’s new book, The Indignant Generation. Thank you to the New York Institute of Humanities for playing host and assembling a wonderful audience. We can’t imagine a better place or time to launch this new project. To view a video of Jackson describing the meticulous research he conducted while writing the book, please visit this web site.

Shown in the picture, left to right, are Mark Greif, Darryl Pinckney, Lawrence Jackson, and Rhoda Levine.

Edwidge Danticat on Democracy Now

This was taped earlier this morning. Edwidge will also be on Leonard Lopate this afternoon.

Edwidge Danticat on Tavis Smiley, October 29

Edwidge Danticat will be interviewed on Tavis Smiley this Friday evening. I hope you have a chance to tune in to hear her discuss her new book Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work.

Lawrence P. Jackson speaks on The Indignant Generation at Morgan State University

Last Friday, I posted a picture of two gentlemen and asked readers to identify the person holding a copy of The Indignant Generation. As promised, I am revealing the answer here: Lawrence P. Jackson is shown speaking to David Wilson who is the President of Morgan State University, a school both of Jackson’s parents attended in the 1950s.

Speaking before a luncheon crowd of 100 at Morgan State University’s Student Center, Baltimore native Jackson impressed the crowd with a history lesson, a Morgan State University history lesson. Jackson, Professor of English and African American Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, spoke for an hour about the impactful careers of Morgan English teachers Nick Aaron Ford and Waters Turpin. Jackson cataloged the travails and triumphs of each men’s careers during the era of segregation. The lecture began with a shocking account of the violence black professors faced during the 1940s. Ford and Turpin both resisted the oppressive system. Jackson claimed that Dr. Ford, who served Morgan from 1946 through the 1970s, possessed a “black critical independent spirit.” Novelist Waters Turpin grew up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and published important works in the second half of the 1930s. Jackson suggested that Turpin’s obscurity today was due to his artistic vision which was too elegant for the Marxists and too militant for the assimilationists.

The lecture was drawn from Jackson’s new book The Indignant Generation: A Narrative History of African American Writers and Critics, 1934-1960. The 600 page literary and cultural history is being published by Princeton University Press in mid-November. The audience included Morgan’s new president David Wilson, the school’s provost T. Joan Robinson, and the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts Burnie Hollis Jr. Agnes Edwards, a Morgan graduate and former student of both Drs. Ford and Turpin, said, “I didn’t know any of that, but I am glad that I do now.” When asked which portions of the new research he would use, Dean Hollis, another former student and friend of both men, smiled broadly and said, “All of it!”

**This text taken from Emory University’s event press release.

Who’s that holding Lawrence P. Jackson’s The Indignant Generation?

The file name might give you a hint, but make your guess known below in the comments for this post. I’ll reveal the identity of this reader and the location and purpose of the event on Monday.

Edwidge Danticat on Newshour last night

Edwidge had two sell-out events in Washington DC at Busboys & Poets and Politics & Prose. Next up, she is in Los Angeles for an event with the ALOUD series at the Los Angeles Public Library on October 26th. See you there!