Readers & writers, ink: contributors to an anthology create an alliance.
The writers began meeting for personal "chat-and-chew" sessions and to celebrate their birthdays, forming a literary kinship as well as sisterly friendships. During this time, Ora Wills, an editor of the anthology and a member of the Society, fondly recalls one member stating, "Since we call ourselves Readers & Writers, Ink, we need to do more than read our own writings. We need to read."
Writers Form Reading Club
In 1996, the group became also became a book club. The women share readings of their own poetry and prose each December and read the literary works of Edwidge Danticat, Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison and Dorothy West, as well as other notable authors the rest of the year. "Through continued reading, we've affirmed ourselves and each other," says Mamie Hixon, assistant professor of English at the University of West Florida and associate editor of their collections. Volumes III and IV of When Black Folks Was Colored were published in 1995 and 1998.
Now Readers & Writers Ink members make local radio and television appearances, sharing their book of the month with a listening and viewing audience. They keep abreast of events at the Cannes and Sundance Film Festivals and discuss a film each year. They have analyzed such screen works as The Old Settler, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, Bamboozled, Good Fences and Monster's Ball. University professors frequent the group and have generated lively debates on the Dominican experience depicted in Junot Diaz's Drown and the colonization in India covered in Arundhati Roy's book The God of Small Things. During an examination of Memoir of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, the group dined at a Japanese restaurant where the owner provided insights into Nipponese customs. The group paired with an all-white book group to discuss a collection of essays about race.
Impacting the Community
Through collaborations with Pensacola Junior College and the University of West Florida, Readers & Writers, Ink has had considerable impact on the Pensacola Bay area's artistic and literary life. They produce and participate in a local African American poetry reading program, Our Voices Are Many. People of all races and ages have attended. The group has produced four such events and received funding from the Florida Humanities Council to implement another program that will celebrate W.E.B. Du Bois's Souls of Black Folks.
Brought together by a common interest in writing, the book club helps each writer follow her own passions. "Today's book clubs function as vehicles for discussion, enlightenment and recreation," says Wills. "As the discussions of books about women and women's roles in society trigger personal revelations from members, we gain insight and strength from our reading."
The Club: Readers & Writers, Ink
Location: Pensacola, FL
Book Preferences: Books that provide cerebral stimulation and a source for not only philosophical discussion but also healthy debate; books with new voices and new dimensions and perspectives
Number of Members: 12 women
How Often They Meet: The last Saturday of each month
Last Book Read: Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany by Hans Massaquoi. Perennial, January 2001 $14.95. ISBN 0-060-95961-4
Group's Reaction: Club members were fascinated and intrigued
Next Book: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, Little Brown & Company, June 2002. $21.95 ISBN 0-316-66634-3
How They Choose Books: Member recommendation, best-seller list, new books, C-SPAN and Oprah Book Club picks
For more information about ordering When Black Folks Was Colored (Volume One, ISBN 0-964-35922-7; Vol. 2, ISBN 0-964-35920-0; Vol.3, 0-964-35921 9; Vol. 5, 0-964-35923-5), contact the African-American Heritage Society at 850-469-1299, or e-mail them at AAHS90@Bellsouth.net.
Pat Houser is a contributing editor at BIBR. To have your club mentioned, e-mail her at email@example.com.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||books & clubs|
|Publication:||Black Issues Book Review|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2004|
|Previous Article:||Precocious kid authors: three youthful writers make their own successful way into print.|
|Next Article:||Nubian Heritage: a flagship in Harlem.|