Our Resident Artists for #GreensboroBound19

Our Resident Artists for #GreensboroBound19

In its second year, Greensboro Bound has launched a Resident Artists program designed to bring together literature and visual arts. Greensboro Bound’s resident artists will circulate among festival participants on Saturday, May 18, creating work that reflects the spirit and energy of the festival. Festival participants will have the opportunity to witness the artists as they work and interact with them as they conduct their projects.

In coordination with local partners in the arts—Elsewhere and the Center for Visual Artists—Greensboro Bound has selected the artists in residence for the inaugural year of the program: Burlington-based artist Hannah Barnhardt, and Greensboro-based photographer RJ Hooker.

Hannah Barnhardt is a visual artist working in illustrations, sketches, watercolor, and photographs. Her ongoing reportage project is based in the creation of live drawings. “I collect a lot of material for illustrative work from observing the world and drawing scenes like a reporter,” says Barnhart. For the festival, Barnhardt will produce large-format work that creates a real-time response to panel presentations.

RJ Hooker is a photographer whose work blends a documentary approach with close portraiture. Says Hooker, “I’m interested in amassing and displaying a record of direct, black and white portraits that speak to the diversity and humanity of Greensboro.” Hooker intends to work with as many different participants in the festival as possible, from attendees to volunteers to presenters. For his project at Greensboro Bound, Hooker will work in monochrome film and develop exposures through a traditional darkroom process.

Festival participants will have the opportunity to witness Barnhardt and Hooker at work, converse with them about their projects, and become part of their art throughout the full day of programming on Saturday, May 18. The resident artists will be working throughout the festival footprint—look for them at Scuppernong Books, the Triad Stage Cabaret, the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, the Cultural Center, the Greensboro History Museum, and the Greensboro Central Library.

Catching Up with GB18 Authors

Catching Up with GB18 Authors

Here at Greensboro Bound, we take pleasure in bringing you, not only authors you’ve read and loved, but writers you will love WHEN you read. Sometimes, we showcase emerging or underrepresented authors because we want to encourage a sense of adventure and an ever-expanding literary landscape.

We like to celebrate the success of our Festival authors and cheer as their books make their way into the wider world reaching broader audiences, sometimes changing shape to become songs, movies, or television shows.

In the week before we announce our 2019 line-up, we thought we’d share a partial list of some of the successes of 2018 Greensboro Bound authors over the last year.

Nikki Giovanni has not slowed down, even at 76. Read this interview with her from earlier this year in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Eddie Huffman, author of John Prine: In Spite of Himself, is working on a new book about Doc Watson.

Emilia Philips’ new collection, Hemlock, was recently published by Diode Editions.

Jim Minick has an essay titled How to Make Cornbread, or Thoughts on Being an Appalachian from Pennsylvania Who Calls Virginia Home but Now Lives in Georgia in Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy from West Virginia University Press.

Wayne Johns released his debut collection of poetry, Antipsalms, from Unicorn Press.

Hal Crowther’s Freedom Fighters and Hell Raisers was published by Blair. You can read the Publishers Weekly interview with Hal here.

Jessica Jacobs‘ collection, Take Me With You, Wherever You’re Going, was published by Four Way Books.

To Those Who Were Our First Gods, by Nickole Brown, was a Rattle Chapbook Series Selection.

Ashley Lumpkin published I Hate You All Equally: A Collection of Conversations and the Bull City Slam Team was a semifinalist at the National Poetry Slam.

Steve Mitchell has been book-busking in small towns with guitarist Ben Singer and recording Cloud Diary with live music. Cloud Diary was shortlisted for the Sir Walter Raleigh Award.

Beth Macy previewed Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America at last year’s festival before it was published. Her book has gone on to be a New York Times Bestseller, The New York Times Top 5 Books of the Year, on the Chicago Tribune and Washington Post Best Books of the Year lists, and it’s been optioned for film.

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, one of our UNDOCUPoets, published a new collection, Dulce, with Northwestern University Press and has recently completed his memoir, Children of the Land

Stacy McAnulty’s SUN! One in a Billion was named a Junior Library Guild Selection.

Dan Pink’s book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing became a New York Times and Washington Post bestseller.

Carmen Maria Machado’s work was featured in Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018, Best American Essay 2018, and Best American Short Story 2018. Her debut memoir, In the Dream House, will be published by Graywolf in October. Her short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties was optioned for television by FX.

 

Prelude To A Festival

Prelude To A Festival

“At the still point, there the dance is.” —T. S. Eliot

I haven’t introduced myself yet. I’m Deonna Kelli Sayed, the Festival Coordinator for Greensboro Bound. You may have seen me around downtown, or at the 2018 TEDx Greensboro, or behind the registration desk at a North Carolina Writers’ Network event.

I’m thrilled to meet you, and I’m glad you’re #GreensboroBound.

The T.S. Eliot quote above is considered to be one of the most beautiful sentences in the English language. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. At least, that’s what the Internet says. The Internet is known to be wrong, on occasion.

The sentiment expressed in the sentence, however, beautifully captures the muffled fury of A Prelude to a Festival: the four months prior to Greensboro Bound where our organizing machines quietly churn to deliver what will become four days of free programming during May 16-19, 2019.

Things may look still to you, but I assure you, things are anything but.

To plan a literary festival is a frenzy, at times. A joy! A clumsy dance! After all, we’re writers. We don’t know much about dancing.

To make a festival happen, it requires a troupe of donors, volunteers, community partners (like UNCG University Libraries), the City of Greensboro, lovers of cheese straws (more on that in a minute), an independent bookstore (Scuppernong Books), authors and readers who are enthusiastic to attend.

To make a festival happen takes blind faith, dumb luck, and nine months of honest work.

In the Beginning…

The very first Greensboro Bound meeting occurred in late 2017 over cheese straws and wine. A group of dedicated folks gathered and issued two very important edicts:

• Greensboro was getting a literary festival, dammit!
• Cheese Straws would henceforth be the official food of said festival.

(Perhaps the reader is unfamiliar with the Southern Cheese Straw. Again, the Internet offers its wisdom.)

A nonprofit, Greensboro Literary Organization (GLO) was formed. In less than nine months, we raised more than $120,000 and gathered together 80 authors, 5000 readers, and a few llamas for the May festival. Just so you know, a llama pooped in the library, much to the delight of the children. Every author received homemade Cheese Straws.

At Greensboro Bound, we take our edicts very seriously.

In the Fall of 2018, we curated a series, Immigration Stories, partially funded by support from the NC Humanities Council.  Another Greensboro Bound series, This Is Your Country On Drugs, featured Beth Macy, who also spoke during the 2018 festival. Greensboro Bound’s Authors Engaging Students program put authors in front of almost 6000 public school students in Guilford County, and we donated 500 books to classrooms and elementary school libraries. 

Listen, we weren’t kidding when we first huddled over cheese straws and declared that we wanted to organize literary stuff.

And now…

#GreensboroBound19 is happening. The official author reveal will drop during the first week in March. What I can share now: Zadie Smith is scheduled to deliver the Saturday night Keynote Address. Her presence at the festival is in partnership with the University of North Carolina Greensboro Libraries. Fred Chappell will perform with puppets, and young readers will enjoy interactive programming with Children and Young Adult authors.

As we enter our sophomore festival year, it’s time to introduce the motley assortment of writers and community-based individuals behind Greensboro Bound.

Author Hospitality and Green Room
• Ashley Sharkey | Greensboro Literary Organization Board
•Dabney Sanders | Greensboro Literary Organization Board | Project Manager at Downtown Greenway (Dabney is the maker of cheese straws, by the way.)

Author Engagement and Adult Programming Committee
• Dr. Gale Greenlee | Scholar on Black and Latinx girlhood and social change in Kids/YA literature
• Steve Mitchell | Author | Bookseller & Co-owner of Scuppernong Books
• Julia Ridley Smith | Author | University of North Carolina – Greensboro

Children and YA Programming Committee
• Cathy Bentsen | Retired Media Specialist with the Guilford County Public Schools
• Steve Colyer | Greensboro Literary Organization Board Member
• Dr. Gale Greenlee | Scholar on Black and Latinx girlhood and social change in Kids/YA literature
• Shannon Purdy Jones | Mom to Penny and Dominique | Bookseller at Scuppernong Books

Fundraising and Donation Relations
• Ashley Sharkey | Greensboro Literary Organization Board Member
• Cheryl Kersky | Experienced Fundraiser
• Dabney Sanders | Greensboro Literary Organization Board | Project Manager at Downtown Greenway
• Ellen Fisher | Children’s Author | Greensboro Bound’s Author Engaging Students Program
• Steve Colyer | Greensboro Literary Organization Board Member

Location Committee
• Glenn Perkins | Curator of Community History | Greensboro History Museum
• Andrew Saulters | Author | Owner & Publisher at Unicorn Press
• Marcia Woodward | Volunteer Extraordinaire for all sorts of Greensboro events

Vendor Liaison
• Wilson Lester | Greensboro Literary Organization Board Member | Executive Director of the Greensboro Community Development Fund

Volunteer Coordinator
• Paula Pierce | Board of Directors of Downtown Greensboro Incorporated

Prelude to Magic

I recall a subtle moment during last year’s festival. It was Saturday night when it felt too late to be called evening, but it wasn’t quite ready to become morning. The air, humid. A drizzle had colored the streets with a metallic sheen. A festival author stood on a Greensboro sidewalk and open her arms wide before she bellowed:

“I declare this city to be something grand!”

She put her arms down, hugged me, then said, “I love Greensboro!”
.
Her enthusiasm captured what many at Greensboro Bound felt during the festival weekend: the air seemed somehow changed, like the presence of writers had altered the cosmic alignment of downtown.

The volunteers listed above, as well as many others not yet named, will again turn downtown into something otherworldly during that third weekend in May. We hope to organize four days full of literary wonderment and awe. We hope that you, the reader, will be part of the magic.

Here’s to all the cheese straws we could possible eat between now and then.

See you soon.

Here’s some authors and audience members from last year: Carmen Maria Machado, Dan Pink, Nikki Giovanni, Lee Smith, audience members and lunchtime opera.

 

May-Lee Chai discusses Useful Phrases for Immigrants

May-Lee Chai discusses Useful Phrases for Immigrants

May-Lee Chai

Useful Phrases for Immigrants: Stories

Thursday, November 1 at 7pm   Scuppernong Books

With luminous prose and sharp-eyed observations, Chai reveals her characters’ hopes and fears, and our own: a grieving historian seeking solace from an old lover in Beijing, a young girl discovering her immigrant mother’s infidelity, workers constructing a shopping mall in central China who make a shocking discovery. Families struggle with long-held grudges, reinvent traditions, and make mysterious visits to shadowy strangers from their past—all rendered with economy and beauty.

With hearts that break and sometimes mend, with families who fight and sometimes forgive, the timely stories in Useful Phrases for Immigrants illuminate complicated lives with empathy and passion. Chai’s stories are essential reading for an increasingly globalized world.

“Chai’s stories alternate between depicting Chinese immigrants in the United States and migrants in China, reminding the reader of the ties between those who left their homelands and those who stayed. Immersive and complex, Chai’s characters confront questions about class, family, sexuality, love, longing and more. The sign of a strong collection is one where the stories work together to inform the reader, and Chai’s eight tales do just that.”

-Crystal Hana Kim, Washington Post

“Delving into fractured families, hoarded secrets, and the cultural and personal negotiations at the heart of the Asian American experience, May-lee Chai’s Useful Phrases for Immigrants is distinguished by writing as elegant and delicate as a snowflake.”

-Foreword Reviews

“The eight stories in this collection contain multitudes. May-lee Chai interrogates heavy subjects with a light touch. She grants each character the gift of a gleaming voice, rendering them as shaped by circumstances, while also transcending them. Useful Phrases for Immigrants is more than merely ‘useful’; this is essential reading.”

—Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage, judge of the 2018 Bakwin Award for Writing by a Woman.

“The nightmare is always that there’s one story and then your family — or you — are compared to it,” says Chai. “I would hope that Asian American readers would appreciate the diversity of the different characters… and feel that there is space for their own story to be told as well.”

May-lee Chai is the author of ten books, including the memoir Hapa Girl, a Kiriyama Prize Notable Book; the novel Tiger Girl, which won an Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature; and her original translation from Chinese to English of the 1934 Autobiography of Ba Jin. Her award-winning short prose has been published widely, including in Glimmer TrainMissouri Review,SeventeenCrab Orchard ReviewThe RumpusZYZZYVADallas Morning NewsChristian Science Monitor, and San Francisco Chronicle. The recipient of an NEA fellowship in prose, Chai is an assistant professor in the Creative Writing Department at San Francisco State University.

Immigration Stories, a joint project of Scuppernong Books and the Greensboro Bound Literary Festival, will explore the immigration and refugee experience in America through the lens of writing: fiction, non-fiction, and works for children. We’ll highlight the stories of the immigrant and refugee population as well as the issues, especially as they impact and affect the local community. Immigration Stories responds directly to these issues by providing the community with the opportunity to interact and engage in a series of public readings, panel discussions, and conversations with writers, scholars, and their neighbors. For more information, call 336-763-1919.

This project is made possible in part by funding from the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide non-profit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Pauls Bring the World to Children

The Pauls Bring the World to Children

The Pauls Bring the World to Children

October 26 at 5:30 pm  Scuppernong Books

Baptiste and Miranda Paul write children’s picture books, sometimes together and sometimes on their own. Their last book together was Adventures to School, which details how children from thirteen different nations travel to school each day, and their upcoming book (releasing in 2019), I am Farmer: Growing an Environmental Movement in Cameroon, tells the story of Tantoh Nforba, who is bringing clean water and organic gardens to his central African nation. The Paul’s work concentrates on the diversity of human experience, the diversity of our planet, and how individual efforts can bring about big changes. Find out more about them here. And here.

We are happy to host them, as a part of our series, Immigration Stories.

Baptiste Paul is a man of many talents—from woodworking to gardening to entertaining hordes of children for hours on end. Born and raised in the West Indies (St. Lucia), Baptiste is a native Creole/Patois speaker and enjoys roasting his own coffee and chocolate as well as eating anything he can cook on a grill. Baptiste holds degrees in environmental studies and political science from Bucknell University. His previous book is The Field, which, Kirkus Review called ‘an excellent picture book debut’.

Miranda Paul is an award-winning children’s author who has worked as a freelance writer, teacher, volunteer zookeeper, and more. She began writing in elementary school, thanks to her wonderful teachers. She also enjoys science, trivia, and board games. Most of Miranda’s heroes are ordinary people who do extraordinary things—including her own kidbots who invent all kinds of gadgets with their super-handy dad. Her previous books include One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia, Water is Water, and Blobfish Throws a Party. Her most recent book is Mia Moves Out which gives readers “the pleasure of seeing adoptee characters confidently negotiating a sense of home and belonging”, says Kirkus Review.

The Pauls will be visiting two Guilford County Schools, Archer Elementary and Lindley Elementary, on Thursday through Greensboro Bound’s Authors Engaging Students program, then will appear on Friday, October 26 at 5:30pm to talk about writing children’s books with Gale Greenlee.

Immigration Stories, a joint project of Scuppernong Books and the Greensboro Bound Literary Festival, will explore the immigration and refugee experience in America through the lens of writing: fiction, non-fiction, and works for children. We’ll highlight the stories of the immigrant and refugee population as well as the issues, especially as they impact and affect the local community. Immigration Stories responds directly to these issues by providing the community with the opportunity to interact and engage in a series of public readings, panel discussions, and conversations with writers, scholars, and their neighbors. For more information, call 336-763-1919.

Ali Noorani talks Immigration and Changing Communities

Ali Noorani talks Immigration and Changing Communities

Immigration and Changing Communities

with Ali Noorani, Executive Director, National Immigration Forum

Monday, October 22 at 7pm Scuppernong Books

What really drives America’s ongoing immigration debate? To answer this question, Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, interviewed nearly sixty local and national leaders across the nation, finding voices in faith, law enforcement, and business communities to paint a nuanced picture of America that looks beyond the blaring headlines to understand how communities across the country are confronting immigration and the changing nature of the American identity. In There Goes the Neighborhood: How Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Challenge of American Immigration, Noorani reaches across the political spectrum to offer a new approach to politics, one that confronts problems and pushes all parties outside of their comfort zone, in order to reach solutions.

Whether describing a pastor speaking to the need to welcome the stranger, law enforcement advocating for Muslim refugees, or a farmer’s wind-whipped face moistened by tears as he tells the story of his farm workers being deported, Noorani helps readers that America’s immigration debate isn’t about policy; it is about the culture and values that make America what it is. Especially now, when we feel our identity, culture, and values changing shape, the collective message from all the diverse voices in this inspiring book is one of hope for the future.

“An essential book to understand the fear, challenges, and opportunities on both sides of the immigration debate. This book, in many ways, explains why Trump won the election and why an honest debate on immigration is urgent. Your neighborhood depends on it.

-Jorge Ramos, Senior News Anchor, Noticiero Univision and America with Jorge Ramos

As its mission, the National Immigration Forum brings together moderate and conservative faith, law enforcement and business leaders to weigh in with media and policy makers in support of practical and commonsense immigration, citizenship and integration policies.

Ali Noorani is a frequent commentator and has appeared on The Diane Rehm Show, MSNBC, On Point, and Marketplace. He is an op-ed contributor to CNN.com, FoxNewsLatino

In Noorani’s Only In America podcast, faith leaders, law enforcement officials, business owners and others speak openly about the way culture, identity, and values are shaping and defining our country, and they offer a constructive way forward in the immigration debate.

 

Immigration Stories, a joint project of Scuppernong Books and the Greensboro Bound Literary Festival, will explore the immigration and refugee experience in America through the lens of writing: fiction, non-fiction, and works for children. We’ll highlight the stories of the immigrant and refugee population as well as the issues, especially as they impact and affect the local community. Immigration Stories responds directly to these issues by providing the community with the opportunity to interact and engage in a series of public readings, panel discussions, and conversations with writers, scholars, and their neighbors. For more information, call 336-763-1919.

This project is made possible in part by funding from the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide non-profit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.