Category: writing

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: AKALA

Kingslee James Daley (born 1 December 1983), better known by the stage name Akala, is a British Hip-hop artist, author, and political activist.

Born in 1983 to a Scottish mother and Jamaican father, Daley grew up in Kentish Town, London.

He chose the stage name Akala, a Buddhist term for “Immovable”, and started releasing music in 2003 from his own independent music label, Illa State Records. He released his first mixtape, entitled The War Mixtape, in 2004.

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Akala has given guest lectures at East 15 Acting School, and the International Slavery Museum as well as a workshop on songwriting at the School of Oriental and African Studies. He has also spoken at the Oxford Union.
He has also been involved in campaigns to decolonize the curriculum including giving a talk at the University of Leicester.

Akala is the author of Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire, Visions (Part One), and children’s book, You Can Do Anything: Hip and Hop.

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RECOMMENDED BOOKS: BLACK AND BRITISH: A FORGOTTEN HISTORY BY DAVID OLUSOGA

In Black and British, award-winning historian and broadcaster David Olusoga offers readers a rich and revealing exploration of the extraordinarily long relationship between the British Isles and the people of Africa.

Drawing on new genetic and genealogical research, original records, expert testimony and contemporary interviews, Black and British reaches back to Roman Britain, the medieval imagination and Shakespeare’s Othello.

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It reveals that behind the South Sea Bubble was Britain’s global slave-trading empire and that much of the great industrial boom of the nineteenth century was built on American slavery. It shows that Black Britons fought at Trafalgar and in the trenches of the First World War. Black British history can be read in stately homes, street names, statues, and memorials across Britain and is woven into the cultural and economic histories of the nation.

Unflinching, confronting taboos and revealing hitherto unknown scandals, Olusoga describes how black and white Britons have been intimately entwined for centuries.

POETS YOU SHOULD BE READING: MORGAN PARKER

Morgan Parker is the author of Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night (Switchback Books, 2015) and There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce (Tin House Books, 2017). She is a Cave Canem graduate fellow and a Pushcart Prize winner. With poet Angel Nafis she runs The Other Black Girl Collective, an internationally touring Black Feminist poetry duo.

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Her poetry has been featured in publications including Tin House, Poetry Foundation, and others. Her work was also included in Why I Am Not A Painter (Argos Books), The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop, and Best American Poetry 2016. 

She lives in Brooklyn.

FILMS BASED ON BOOKS: Trick Baby by Iceberg Slim

Iceberg Slim, the charismatic pimp turned author brought the gritty streets to the world of literature.

One of his most famous books, ‘Trick Baby’, tells the story of “White Folks,” a blue-eyed, light-haired, con-artist whose pale skin allows him to pass in the streets as a white man. Folks is tormented early in life, rejected by other children and branded a “Trick Baby,” the child conceived between a hooker and her trick. Refusing to abandon his life in the ghetto and a chance at revenge, Folks is taken under the wing of an older mentor, Blue.

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In 1972 Trick Baby was brought to the screen as a Blaxploitation-style film; directed by Larry Yust and starring Kiel Martin and Mel Stewart.

The movie was produced with a $600,000 budget and was produced independently.

Universal Pictures bought the film for 1 million dollars and the movie grossed 11 million dollars at the US box office.
The cast was not well known before the movie’s release.

 

FILMS BASED ON BOOKS: I, Tina: What’s Love Got to Do with It? by Tina Turner

Ike and Tina Turner were one of the rock sensations of the Sixties. Then Tina made a solo comeback and is now one of the top female performers on the pop scene.

This book tells the story that lies behind her success, from her first taste of stardom and the brutality which forced her to leave Ike and the “act”, through the years of obscurity to her return to prominence with her bestselling, award-winning album, “Private Dancer”.

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The screenplay was adapted by Kate Lanier. Both Ike and Tina Turner assigned rights to Lanier for their lives to be dramatized in the film.

In the United States, the film grossed almost $40 million and around $20 million in rentals. In the UK it grossed nearly £10 million.

 

ADRIAN DENTON’S RECOMMENDED BOOKS: The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor Lavelle

 

One of NPR‘s Best Books of 2016!

People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn’t there.

Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father’s head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops. But when he delivers an occult tome to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping.

A storm that might swallow the world is building in Brooklyn. Will Black Tom live to see it break?

“LaValle’s novella of sorcery and skullduggery in Jazz Age New York is a magnificent example of what weird fiction can and should do.”
Laird Barron, author of The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All

“[LaValle] reinvents outmoded literary conventions, particularly the ghettos of genre and ethnicity that long divided serious literature from popular fiction.”
Praise for The Devil in Silver from Elizabeth Hand, author of Radiant Days

“LaValle cleverly subverts Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos by imbuing a black man with the power to summon the Old Ones, and creates genuine chills with his evocation of the monstrous Sleeping King, an echo of Lovecraft’s Dagon… [The Ballad of Black Tom] has a satisfying slingshot ending.” – Elizabeth Hand for Fantasy & ScienceFiction

Source: https://www.mahoganybooks.com/9780765387868

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: DERRICK D. BARNES

Derrick D. Barnes is the author of the critically acclaimed picture book Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut (Denene Millner Books/Agate Bolden) which recently won the 2018 Erza Jack Keats award.

It was also a huge winner at the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards, taking home 4 awards: the Coretta Scott King Author honor, Coretta Scott King Illustrator honor, Newberry honor, and the Caldecott honor.

He is also the author of the best selling chapter book series entitled Ruby and the Booker Boys (Scholastic). His 2011middle-grade hardcover classic We Could Be Brothers was re-released in paperback in 2017 by Just Us Books.
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Prior to becoming a published author, Derrick wrote best-selling copy for various Hallmark Card lines and was the first African American male staff writer for the company.

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To see more of this author’s work, visit the site  – https://derrickdbarnes.com/

Interview with Author: Kester Grant

Q: A Court of Miracles on Goodreads?

Yes! Add it to your TBR list here

Q: Where can I pre-order A Court of Miracles?

Nowhere yet! I shall keep ya’ll posted.

Q: When is A Court of Miracles being published?

ACOM will be published in the United States and Canada in 2019 by Knopf, Random House, and in the UK by Harper Voyager, and a whole bunch of other countries that are listed on the BOOKS page. I don’t have anything more specific on a month, day, or international pub dates yet but I will try to share them as I receive them.

Q: Is A Court of Miracles the first in a series?

ACOM is the first in a trilogy. Book 2 is scheduled for publication Fall 2019 and Book 3 in Fall 2020.

Q:How diverse is A Court of Miracles?

As a writer of color, representation is very important to me. I tried my best to introduce a diverse cast to the all-white narrative of Les Miserables, the main character of ACOM, Nina, is a POC and so are many of her compatriots. I also drew on my own personal experiences with prejudice surrounding religion, class and race to illustrate the contrasting societies of the diversity-rich Miracle Court, and the all-white nobility/royal court.

Q: What are your thoughts on Rudyard Kipling’s imperialistic world-view and Disney’s versions of the Jungle Book? 

As a Mauritian Indian-Creole whose great-great grandmother was brought from India as a slave, representation is very important to me. ACOM is not based on Disney’s Jungle Book rather it is based on Kipling’s original Jungle Book stories, subverting Kipling’s narrative to free it from its sometimes problematic roots.

Q: Enquiries about foreign rights, permissions, blurb requests, or other business stuff ? 

Please contact my agent JOSH ADAMS

 

 

Source: https://www.kestergrant.com/faq/

ADRIAN DENTON’S RECOMMENDED BOOKS: FLY BETTY BY TREASURE BLUE

Cash Money Content’s own Harlem-bred literary giant Treasure Blue, brings you Fly Betty, the third installment in the acclaimed Harlem Girl Lost series.

IN THE MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR A YEAR ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY THERE IS a secret society of women that few are privy to. All of these women are vying for one thing – an opportunity to live a luxurious, lavish lifestyle by snagging a rich and famous singer, rapper or athlete.

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Betty Blaise, or Fly Betty to those who truly know her, was not in it to be a wife or even the baby momma of a wealthy public figure – she had her sights set higher, much higher. While most of these women use sex as their weapon of choice, Betty, a senior majoring in psychology, has developed skills she learned from her mother’s diaries that prove much more powerful.

Up until now Betty has lived her life according to her own strict rules and standards, refusing to compromise for anyone, even if it potentially meant shielding herself from true love. But when she encounters a man that she would never have anticipated falling for in a million years, the very tools she used so effectively against men begin to turn against her – and deadly consequences are sure to follow.

Recommended by Simon & Schuster UK  –
http://www.simonandschuster.co.uk/books/Fly-Betty/Treasure-Blue/9781936399314

POETS YOU SHOULD BE READING: SAFIA ELHILLO

Safia Elhillo  is well-known for her spoken word poetry and is the author of The January Children (University of Nebraska Press, 2017) and the chapbook The Life and Times of Susie Knuckles

Elhillo has been praised for her work and has been the recipient of several prestigious poetry awards.

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Her poems have appeared in many publications and Elhillo is also a founding member of Slam NYU, the 2012 and 2013 national collegiate championship team, and was a three-time member and former coach of the DC Youth Slam Poetry team. She is a Cave Canem fellow and serves as poetry editor of Kinfolks Quarterly.

Follow her on Twitter here – https://twitter.com/mafiasafia?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor