Celebration of Black Writing Festival

With the theme “Word Play: Let’s Have Some Serious Fun!”, Art Sanctuary’s 27th Annual Celebration of Black Writing Festival – the nation’s only literary festival of its kind – will offer 11 days of literary discussions, workshops, panels, and film screenings, with a few comic book writers and a bit of skate-boarding thrown in for a healthy dose of fun!

 


Kicking off Monday, May 23rd with NPR’s Michel Martin, host of “Tell Me More” doing a special Celebration of Black Writing program in conjunction with WURD and WHYY and concluding on Saturday, June 4 with an all-day outdoor-indoor festival at Temple University, this year’s theme was created to recognize unique styles of writing from comic strips to haikus, blogs to novels. This year’s event will highlight more non-traditional literary forms like graphic novels and comedy writing. We will also have workshops geared toward writers from a variety of genres, from advertising to erotica.

One of the major highlights of the festival is the Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony, taking place this year on Thursday, June 2, and honoring legendary storyteller J. California Cooper, an award-winning author of almost a dozen novels, 17 plays and several short story collections, including Homemade Love, the 1986 winner of an American Book Award.  Past recipients include renowned poet, writer, commentator, activist and educator Nikki Giovanni, poet Sonia Sanchez, and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Charles Fuller.

For almost three decades, Celebration of Black Writing has sought to deepen the city of Philadelphia’s literary life and polish its tourist shine with a rich infusion of African-American writers in all genres. A one of a kind literary feast, Celebration of Black Writing provides writers an opportunity to discuss their work with up to 1,500–2,000 students, and another 2,000–3,000 people participate in panels, workshops, teachers’ symposium, Family Pavilion, main stage, and other events. The Celebration features up to 100 professional and aspiring writers, editors, publishers, scholars, spoken-word artists, playwrights, and filmmakers.

Events will take place at various venues all over the city, including Art Sanctuary’s headquarters at 628 South 16th Street and the home venue The Church of the Advocate at 1801 W. Diamond Street. The lineup for the 11-day festival includes:

Monday, May 23
3:00pm-5:00pm
Michel Martin hosts Radio kick-off with WURD and WHYY
The Dorrance H. Hamilton Public Media Commons
150 N. 6th Street, Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia, PA  19146

5:00pm-7:00pm
“RAAMP It UP” with AAMP
Spoken Word/Open Mic; Storytelling + Whisper Booths (Story Slam Style)
African American Museum of Philadelphia
701 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Thursday, May 26
6:30pm-9:00pm
Screening and discussion of Tanya Elaine Hamilton’s “Night Catches Us”
628 South 16th Street
Philadelphia, PA  19146

Friday, May 27
6:30pm-10:00pm
Open mic hosted by Bassey Ikpi
comedians, storytellers
628 South 16th Street
Philadelphia, PA  19146

Saturday, May 28
1:00pm-4:00pm
“Can You Hear God Crying?”
Music Liberation Orchestra
Event for families affected by incarceration
Church of the Advocate, 1801 W. Diamond Street

Wednesday, June 1
7:00pm-9:30pm
Red carpet screening of filmmaker Ed Shockley and Arise Academy School student’sshort film
University of the Arts: Ellen and Ronald Caplan Center for the Performing Arts
Terra Hall
211 South Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA  19107

Thursday, June 2
6:30pm-8:00pm
Lifetime Achievement Award Ceremony
Honoree: J. California Cooper
Church of the Advocate, 1801 W. Diamond Street

Saturday, June 4
All-day festival (11:00am – 5:00pm)
Workshops, panels, live performances, outdoor book fair, and more.
Temple University – Ritter Hall Annex
Cecil B. Moore between Broad Street and 13th Street

Sponsors include Independence Blue Cross, the AmeriHealth Family of Companies and PECO.

For more information and to get a full listing of the festival’s lineup, visit www.artsanctuary.org or call 215-232-4485.

About Art Sanctuary
Founded in June 1998, Art Sanctuary is an African-American arts and letters organization devoted to presenting outstanding regional and national talent in the literary, visual and performing arts. Art Sanctuary’s mission is to bring visionaries – live and in person – into direct contact with the community. In 2010, Art Sanctuary moved from its original home at the Church of the Advocate, a Historic National Landmark in the heart of North Philadelphia, to 16th & Bainbridge Streets in South Philadelphia. In addition to Celebration of Black Writing, Art Sanctuary hosts monthly programming that includes African Dance, Storytelling Circles, and Open Mic/Live Music events. Art Sanctuary is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization headquartered in Philadelphia, PA. For more information, please call 215-232-4485or visit www.artsanctuary.org.