08 December 2013

Guy Reads! Featuring H.N.I.C., Pure Bronx, Undisputed Truth, & Coming Home

Johnson, A. "Prodigy" & Savile, S. (2013). H.N.I.C.: An infamous novel. NY: Akashic/Infamous Books.
ISBN-13: 978-1-61775-232-2 | Paperback | 126 pages | $11.95 USD

If you don't have this novella in your library collection already, please be on the lookout for this 2013 release, H.N.I.C., penned by Hip Hop artist Prodigy of the group, Mobb Deep.

H.N.I.C. is sure to attract young adult male readers because of its snappy length as a novella, and its relatable characters, particularly the protagonist, Pappy, a hustler who happens to be a computer geek. Pappy wants to get out of the game but his best friend, Black, won't let him go. On the fake promise of a "one last heist", Pappy gets away with just his life, having to leave behind his past to strategically create his future, without Black. Black eventually catches up to Pappy, but time has moved on and the tables are turned as they fight to reign as the H.N.I.C. 

This novella is the launching release of the new publishing imprint, Infamous Books, in collaboration with the renowned independent publishing house, Akashic Books. H.N.I.C. is a good addition to a 16+ young adult collection in your school, public, or community-based library collection. The strong and thoughtful characterization of Pappy alongside the dark, pathologic antics of Black, provide a balanced lens to gaining an understanding of young manhood. The tension of good vs. evil between Pappy and Black will appeal to many male readers. There's also a romantic angle in the story that helps to soften the plot's edges. A nice, solid contribution to the hip hop / urban literature / street lit tradition, H.N.I.C. will circulate.

The Fall 2013 publishing season had quite a few important releases. Here are a few more titles that will be good "guy read" additions to your collections:

ISBN-13: 9781935883418 (A/YA)
ISBN-13: 9780399161285 (A/YA)
ISBN-13: 9781622500512 (YA)
Lastly, be sure to stock up on K'wan Foye's recently released, Animal 2: The Omen. StreetLiterature.com will be posting a full review of this read in the coming weeks.

12 November 2013

NEW READ! Animal II: The Omen, by K'wan Foye

For interviews and more information on K'wan Foye
please contact:
Donna Torrence

Amazon.com #1 “Top Rated Fiction” Bestselling Author
Set to release
On November 19, 2013

K'wan to Kick off Book Tour

November 8, 2013 –    K’wan Foye, one of this generations most talented and gritty writers, is set to release Animal II: The Omen on November 19, from Cash Money Content books, the book publishing arm of the iconic record label Cash Money Records.  Animal II: The Omen, Foye’s most anticipated release yet, is the follow up to last year’s #1 bestselling urban crime thriller, Animal.

Animal is Urban Lit’s newest hit series, with strong sales that have not slowed since its 2012 release.  The novel enjoyed unprecedented success with a #1 debut on Amazon.com’s list of “Top Rated Fiction,” and recognition by Library Journal as one of the “Top 5 Street Lit Novels of 2012,” along with a Library Journal starred “Pick of the Month” for October 2012.  Additionally, Animal is currently #2 on the Power List Best-Selling Books List compiled by Black bookstores.

With Animal II, Black Press Radio’s 2008 “Author of the Year,” K’wan Foye, continues the bloody saga of Animal, the infamous fugitive from K’wan’s well‑known Hood Rat Series, as he sets out on a complex and tragic quest in search of the truth. 

K’wan Foye’s previous novels include the bestsellers Welfare Wifeys (an African American Literary Award-winner), Section 8GutterStill HoodHood Rat,EveHoodlum and Street Dreams, all released by St. Martin’s Press.  K’wan has sold a cumulative total of 500,000 books.

Praise for K’wan
   “Animal is a masterpiece” – Ronald “Slim” Williams, Co-CEO Cash Money Records/
                    Cash Money Content
 “You don’t get more hood than K’wan” – Bryan “Birdman” Williams, Co-CEO Cash Money
                   Records/Cash Money Content

  “…the characters become so alive that watching them spin toward their inevitable ends
                  is heartbreaking.”  - Entertainment Weekly on “Street Dreams”

“The big draw here is the electric prose, which is imbued with profane, comic lyricism.”
                         - Publishers Weekly on “Hood Rat”

“K’wan ... produces thrilling plots, and his descriptive prose holds its own against many top-selling authors.”
                         - Library Journal on “Eviction Notice”

Catch K’wan at the following book signings in the following cities:
11/20                     Source of Knowledge bookstore, 867 Broad Street, Newark NJ, 5pm – 7pm

11/21                     TLJ Bookstore, New Location 4921 Suitland Rd, Suitland MD, 20747, 5:30 pm – 7:30pm

11/22                     Books A Million, 144 S. Clark St (Galleria Mall), Chicago, IL, 12Noon
                                Da Book Joint, 2311 East 71st St, Chicago, IL, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
11/23                     Dock Shop event, Location TBA, Dallas, TX, 3:00pm
                                The Dock Book Shop, Book Club hosted event, 6637 Meadowbrook Dr, Dallas TX, 7:00pm

11/29                     Books A Million, 901 East Market St, Suite 1285, Philadelphia, PA, 12Noon – 2:00pm
                                Black and Nobel, 1409 W. Erie Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, 5:00pm – 7:00pm

11/30                     Medu Bookstore, Greenbriar Mall Atlanta, GA, 2:00-4:00pm

For more info log onto www.kwanfoye.com.  Follow K’wan on twitter @K’Wan141 or @We_R_TeamAnimal and also find him at facebook.com/We Are #TeamAnimal.

For interviews and more information about Animal II or Cash Money Content books, contact:
Donna Torrence, mediasavvypr.com
email: donna@mediasavvyr.com, phone: 201.854.7082

About Cash Money Content
Cash Money Content (CMC) is a groundbreaking partnership that pairs the Cash Money Records brand with Atria Books, a division of the publishing powerhouse, Simon & Schuster.  CMC is publishing some of the most original and influential authors of urban fiction as well as life-changing books on success, motivation, money, health, and memoirs by some of the most prominent voices alive today.  Founded  by brothers Bryan "Birdman" Williams and Ronald "Slim" Williams, from the label that is home to multi-platinum recording artists like Lil Wayne, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Jay Sean, and Bow Wow, comes a whole new concept in book publishing.

For more information on Cash Money Content, log onto www.CashMoneyContent.com, follow on Twitter @CashMoneyBooks and on Facebook @CashMoneyContent.

About Cash Money Records
Cash Money Records is a legendary record company founded by brothers Bryan "Birdman" Williams and Ronald "Slim" Williams.  The record label has grown from the housing projects of New Orleans into a multi-million dollar urban empire and is considered the most successful independent record label in America as well as an enduring global street brand. Cash Money is home to chart-topping, multi-platinum recording artists like Lil WayneDrakeNicki MinajJay Sean, and Bow Wow.  Today, Cash Money operates as a subsidiary of Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company.

Animal II: The Omen
Ani                            by K'wan
Cash Money Content/Original
Pub Date: November 19, 2013
ISBN:  978‑1‑936399‑29‑1
eBook: 978-1-936399-30-7
Trim Size: 5 5/16 x 8 1/4
Price US: $14.99, Price CDN: $16.99
Format: Paperback
336 Pages

01 November 2013

Courthouse News Service: Urban Fiction Writer Loses Suit Over Bootlegs

Courthouse News Service
Urban Fiction Writer Loses Suit Over Bootlegs
     (CN) - Teri Woods, reportedly the first writer to put the urban fiction genre on The New York Times bestseller list, cannot sue over bootleg copies of her novels, a federal judge ruled.
     Teri Woods and her Philadelphia-based, "mom-and-pop" publishing company sued DeSean Williams aka Jimmie Benjamin and several others in October 2011, alleging they conspired to produce and distribute 70,000 bootleg copies of her copyrighted books for sale.
     Senior U.S. District Judge Robert Kelly in Philadelphia dismissed the claims against two of those defendants - Baltimore-based bookstore Urban Knowledge and its principal, Carl Weber - in May 2012.
     Some months later, Woods filed another suit against many of the same defendants.
     She claimed that bootleg copies of her books, including the three-part Dutch and Deadly Reigns series, appeared for sale on Amazon.
     Senior U.S. District Judge Robert Kelly in Philadelphia preserved claims for copyright infringement and false-light invasion of privacy against Gasch Printing this past April.
     In dismissing most claims, Kelly noted that the "threadbare complaint" failed to show the need for a permanent injunction on top of the remedies available for copyright infringement.
     "The complaint lacks the 'what, how, where and when' underlying a proper fraud claim and is devoid of any injection of precision or measure of substantiation of such claims," Kelly wrote. "Plaintiffs assert a blanket list of acts in support of their RICO claims against all six defendants in this case. Even taking these allegations as true, as we must for the purposes of this motion, we find the actions listed to be vague and conclusory. Plaintiffs neglect to outline the specific role played by each defendant in the alleged fraudulent acts. Rather, the complaint groups the defendants all together under generalized allegations and conclusions. Likewise, there are no specific facts asserting how these illegal acts were committed by each defendant. Additionally, there is no mention of where the illegal activities occurred. Finally, plaintiffs have neglected to specify a time-period as to when the events allegedly took place. Overall, we are left to guess at who committed the illegal activities and where, when and how they were committed."
     Relying on that ruling Friday, Kelly dismissed all claims against Urban Knowledge and Weber, holding that many of Woods' claims are precluded by res judicata.
     Woods' current allegations "replicate almost exactly word-for-word the factual allegations set forth by plaintiffs in Woods I," Kelly wrote, referring to the 2011 action. "Furthermore, plaintiffs' current claims would require the same witnesses and evidence as their claims in the prior suit. In light of these similarities and the fact that the Deadly Reigns series was copyrighted at the time of the first suit, we conclude that these claims were available to plaintiff in Woods I and should have been properly raised at that time. Consequently, plaintiffs' failure to include these claims precludes their injection into the current litigation."
     Back in 2010, Woods sued a Bronx nightclub, the Greenhouse, over its alleged discrimination toward black guests trying to attend her novel release party.
     Guests had filed a class action over the club's alleged discrimination in 2009.
     Woods' website says her books have generated over $15 million in gross revenue. She is touted as the first writer to put urban fiction on The New York Times bestseller list. 

25 August 2013

22 August 2013

NEW READ | Buck: A Memoir by MK Asante (2013)

Asante, M.K. (2013). Buck: A memoir. NY: Spiegel & Grau.
ISBN-13: 978-0812993417 | Hardcover | $25.00 USD

This memoir promises to be one of the most revered life stories depicting a contemporary young male coming-of-age in urban America, since Claude Brown's Manchild of the Promised Land and Piri Thomas' Down These Mean Streets. Author MK Asante is son of the founder of Afrocentricity, the legendary Black Studies scholar, Molefi Keti Asante

Born in Zimbabwe and raised in North Philadelphia, MK Asante paints a gripping portrait of what it means to be an American Black man coming of age in the streets of hip hop era Philadelphia. Asante is honest in his revelations of how family issues are often the "whys" for teens finding solace and identity in the streets. For those of us who follow the genre of Urban Literature, Asante's story is a welcome addition to the canon. Shucks, given its early stellar reception, this book may shove comparisons aside, to stand valiantly, on its own.

I particularly like the early review of Pierce Freelon (via Amazon.com) where he says: "MK has a fascinating story. His father is a famous scholar - the founder of Afrocentricity. His mother is drowning in prescription drugs and a broken household. His sister lives with dementia - literally in another universe. His role model is his older brother Uzi - constantly on the run from the law. And then you have Philly - the City of Brotherly Love - full of dime jawns, blunt smoke, hip hop, broken schools and young bucks. It takes [a] village to raise a child - and MK was BUCK wild!"

Book Description:
A rebellious boy’s journey through the wilds of urban America and the shrapnel of a self-destructing family—this is the riveting story of a generation told through one dazzlingly poetic new voice.

MK Asante was born in Zimbabwe to American parents: a mother who led the new nation’s dance company and a father who would soon become a revered pioneer in black studies. But things fell apart, and a decade later MK was in America, a teenager lost in a fog of drugs, sex, and violence on the streets of North Philadelphia. Now he was alone—his mother in a mental hospital, his father gone, his older brother locked up in a prison on the other side of the country—and forced to find his own way to survive physically, mentally, and spiritually, by any means necessary.

Buck is a powerful memoir of how a precocious kid educated himself through the most unconventional teachers—outlaws and eccentrics, rappers and mystic strangers, ghetto philosophers and strippers, and, eventually, an alternative school that transformed his life with a single blank sheet of paper. It’s a one-of-a-kind story about finding your purpose in life, and an inspiring tribute to the power of education, art, and love to heal and redeem us.

Additionally, MK Asante is a poet, with two poetry books to his credit: Beautiful. And Ugly Too (2005) and Like Water Running Off My Back (2002). He's also previously published a treatise on Hip Hop entitled, It's Bigger Than Hip Hop: The Rise of the Post-Hip Hop Generation (2009). For more information on his publications, visit his website at: http://mkasante.com/books/buck/.  Asante is an Associate Professor at Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD.

05 August 2013

New Read | Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape (coming November 2013)

Be on the look out to pre-order this critical anthology about Street Lit:

Norris, K. (ed). (2013). Street Lit: Representing the urban landscape. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. | Hardcover |  ISBN-13: 978-0810892620  | $38.00 USD

Here is the book description:

"Over the last few decades, the genre of urban fiction—or street lit—has become increasingly popular, as more novels secure a place on bestseller lists that were once the domain of mainstream authors. In the 1970s, pioneers such as Donald Goines, Iceberg Slim, and Claude Brown paved the way for novelists, poets, and short story writers who have embraced the subject matter of street fiction today, including Sister Souljah, Kenji Jasper, and Colson Whitehead.

In Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape, Keenan Norris has assembled a varied collection of articles, essays, interviews, and poems that capture the spirit of urban fiction and nonfiction produced from the 1950s through the present day. Providing both critical analyses and personal insights, these works explore the street lit phenomenon and help readers understand how and why this once underground genre has become such a vital force in contemporary literature. Interviews with literary icons David Bradley, Gerald Early, and Lynel Gardner are balanced with critical explorations of works by Goines, Jasper, Whitehead, and others.

With a foreword by bestselling novelist Omar Tyree (Flyy Girl) and an introduction by Norris that explores the roots of street lit, this book defines the genre for today’s readers and provides valuable insights into a cultural force that is fast becoming as important to the American literary scene as hip-hop has meant to music. Comprised of work by scholars, established authors, and new voices, Street Lit will connect with any reader wanting to grasp the significance of this sometimes controversial but unquestionably popular art form." - retrieved from Amazon.com.

This is an anthology of critical essays, edited by Keenan Norris, Ph.D.

30 July 2013

Checkin: Vanessa Irvin Morris quoted in Salon.com!

Please check out the newly released article, "I write street lit because that's the life I lived" via Sunday's issue of Salon.com (date: July 28, 2013). It is a very good interview with street lit author and publisher, Deborah Cardona, who has penned a few novels (under the name, Sexy) such as A Better Touch, Twofold, Chained, Butterfly and Butterfly II. Cardona is Latina American and sets her novels in Spanish Harlem. She is also CEO of the urban fiction publishing label, Deja Vu Publications. Salon.com highlights Cardona's contributions to the urban literature genre, and also provides some literary context within which the genre thrives (that's where my quotes come in - yay!). Please enjoy this article, it is very informative. :-)

For more information on Deborah Cardona, you can visit her on social media via Facebook and Twitter.
A special thank you to Marlisse Silver Sweeney for her work on this piece.

27 July 2013

21 July 2013

Takin' It to the Streets: Protests Emerge Across Nation in Response to Zimmerman Verdict

The New York Times has released a very good slideshow of images depicting yesterday's 100 rallies in support of Trayvon Martin around the nation.

Image of Trayvon Martin rally in Atlanta, GA, 07/20/2013, via New York Times.
If you're connected to me on social media, you'll know that I've been pretty vocal on Facebook and Twitter about this historic development in America's story. I've been posting daily: articles, commentary, images, and news developments all week. I have been unapologetic on these platforms about my content. No, my content has not been about libraries. No, my content has not been about street literature / urban fiction. No, it's not about education or hip hop. And, guess what? Some of it has been word-of-mouth info (shudder the thought).

As a librarian - an American librarian - an African American librarian - my intellectual mission is always more nuanced than my usual topics. Indeed, any librarian who is worth their education in gold, will at times, embrace a social stance for justice, that will be based on belief and experience - not someone else's facts and references. We're talking about real life here, and librarians do live it. If a librarian tells you otherwise - go to another library. Seriously.

As an American Black woman who is mother to 5 Black women who all dream of marrying and having families with Black men, it feels like the message that the Zimmerman Verdict sends is that American Black men's lives are worthless in the U.S. This in turn, makes Black women realize that their wombs are worthless, which in turn, means they - are worthless, too. This tells the Black American community that their lives do not count, that we are worth less than dogs (I do feel that the comparison to Michael Vick going to jail for dog-fighting is an appropriate parallel).

This verdict heralds in a tough time for American identity discourse because the injustice felt by the African American community (with the support of a wonderfully diverse American public) empowers us to have voice, to speak, to scream cosmically, our displeasure about being hated and how that hate is embedded within the infrastructure of this nation's systems.

But I believe that the scream is not from the verdict itself. I believe that this cosmic scream is in response to the verdict feeling like a band-aid being ripped off an old, festering wound, that just won't fucking heal. We realize that nothing has changed for Blacks in America, since 1619, just keepin' it real. Fundamentally, nothing has changed for us, in spite of the history in place that says things have (e.g. Civil Rights Movement, The Voting Rights Act (that has been gutted recently, also), Affirmative Action, President Obama's elections, to name a few). African Americans now realize with crystal clear clarity that in the nation of our birth, we are seen as sub-human. We are valued as less than animals. Since we know this is the biggest lie ever told: we're not havin' it.

Take that in for a moment, if you can. I mean really - take that in. Imagine you are born in a land where you are told from the cradle that you're a second class citizen --- the country's history tells you that and the country's infrastructure punctuates that, on a daily basis. In response, your family indoctrinates your humanity to set your mind and spirit in motion to navigate that reality in various ways so that you can at least survive childhood, if you're lucky. Coming of age into adulthood, it is anticipated that you will enjoy this human experience as a working, productive adult, free to worship your god, love your partners, take a walk alone or with friends (if you can do this without harassment), enjoy national pastimes alongside countrymen, create a family, get old, maybe travel a little bit, and make enough money to live out your life as best you know how.

Through a full lifespan there may be days when being "black in America" is not a salient issue. Note I said - through a full lifespan. If you're lucky, there are days when you get through racial hardships with a graze, not with a gunshot wound to the chest. You brush it off your back and keep it movin'. In between the usual bullshit of "being born Black", there are better days. Trayvon Martin's baby and childhood pictures show "better days" ... but being Black in America, the message is clear: you only get one time, one chance, one encounter, one day, one slip-up, that can make or break your very existence. Here's the problem: America's streets are landmines littered with banana peels.

Thusly, this verdict makes it crystal clear: in spite of the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, voting rights, Affirmative Action, Barack Obama, Oprah, Tyler Perry, Spike Lee, Jazz, Black Hollywood, Hip Hop, African American literature, the existence of a Black economic elite, The Cosby Show, Black lawyers, teachers, ministers, librarians, social workers, intellectuals, Supreme Court justices, authors, singers, athletes, inventions, scientists, activists, parents, and on and on .... at the end of the day - no African American accomplishment or contribution matters to mainstream America. Yous black. Your skin color means you are sub-human. You don't count. Your life is not worth a damn. Thanks for all the basketball games and music, but your children's lives are not worth a damn. Your ancestors and everything they went through, for mainstream America, we don't give a hot damn - yous an animal that can be shot dead on the streets because we said so; better yet, because we feel like it. And in a court of law - we AGREE on that fact, yo.

Imagine how that feels when that reality hits you. When you really, really understand with clarity that you can even have the most powerful person on the planet look like you, come from a similar heritage than you, marry one of your sistahs, hail from one of the most identifiable hoods in the nation, and by his own painful acknowledgement, not even HE, not even his life, his wife, his children's lives - are worth a damn. At the end of the day. For real, for real.

That's the reality of what the Zimmerman Verdict has illuminated upon America as a whole, in my opinion; and that's a deep, bitter pill to try to shove down a nation's throat. And that is why American Black people are angry/frustrated/disappointed/disillusioned, and why President Obama interrupted the Press Corps on Friday to break it down for mainstream America, and why you even have celebrities like Jay Z and Beyonce on the streets marching in protest. Because they too realize that with all their so-called political power, hollywood or hip hop royalty, and incredible money and accomplishments, their lives are not worth a copper penny to American society. No matter how hard they work - their LIVES - their heartbeats are worthy of just one thing: a bullet. Given Jay Z's work, I'm not surprised that he feels some kind of way about that idea. It makes sense that he's on the streets with the people.

So if you are not African American or Latino American or a person of color in America - and all this "Trayvon Martin drama" is starting to get on your nerves, or you look at patrons in your library, or students in your classroom and feel some kind of way because you just "don't get it" - try to put yourself in our shoes. Try. Look at your family and at yourself in the mirror and ponder what it feels like to have to accept that your land of birth doesn't value your life - at all.

Think about how that feels since you KNOW you're a human being, and you KNOW you're a child of God. Think about how you can be born and raised, standing, breathing, and living in a country, walking on soil that your ancestors bled and died on, to come to the sobering realization that your very existence is at war with the very grounds you walk on - every moment. of every day. 24-7. all your life. For real, for real? That's a reality that any sane person would not be able to digest. You don't have to be Trayvon Martin or look like Trayvon Martin, or share a cultural heritage and history with Trayvon Martin to understand that somethin' ain't right with the American cultural consciousness.

So in kind, just think of America as going through a huge digestive problem right about now. Because truth be told, that is exactly what is going on - as a nation we're trying to figure out how to digest one more piece of poison called injustice that smells horribly of manure. We're resisting because we're full of this poison and we're sick because of it - all of us - black, white, brown, yellow, polka-dotted, - whatever. As Americans, we're bloated with being force-fed inhumane ideas about who and what we are to one another.

We're constipated with the scourge of racism that is a cancer in our hearts, minds, and guts. So resistance to the verdict is not going to feel good to any of us. And an ideological balm may not be enough to soothe the aches and pains of ancestral memory. Thus, think about what will be required to bring this  organism called America to full health - and you'll have a deeper understanding of how the anger and frustration and tears of Black America must be healed by us all. Personally, I feel like America owes Black people a 400-year old apology.

Thank you for listening.

17 July 2013

Popular street lit series announces second volume

Born in It 2: Author RL Welch Announces Second Volume of Gripping Street Lit Series (via SBWire)
Fusing the power of politics with the unpredictable greed of ‘the street’, Welch’s ‘Born In It’ series has already struck a chord with readers from coast to coast. Telling the compelling story of a drug lord who seeks public office as a Senator…

16 July 2013

'Trayvon Redux', poem by Rita Dove

Rita Dove, former poet laureate of the United States, penned a poem inspired by George Zimmerman's acquittal in the shooting death of unarmed African-American teen Trayvon Martin. Published July 16, 2013 via TheRoot.com.

    Trayvon, Redux

    It is difficult/to get the news from poems /yet men die miserably every
    day/for lack/of what is found there./Hear me out/for I too am concerned/
    and every man/who wants to die at peace in his bed/besides.
    William Carlos Williams, “Asphodel, that Greeny Flower”

    Move along, you don't belong here.
    This is what you're thinking.  Thinking
    drives you nuts these days, all that
    talk about rights and law abidance when
    you can't even walk your own neighborhood
    in peace and quiet, get your black ass gone.
    You're thinking again.  Then what?
    Matlock's on TV and here you are,
    vigilant, weary, exposed to the elements
    on a wet winter's evening in Florida
    when all's not right but no one sees it.
    Where are they – the law, the enforcers
    blind as a bunch of lazy bats can be,
    holsters dangling from coat hooks above their desks
    as they jaw the news between donuts?

    Hey!  It tastes good, shoving your voice
    down a throat thinking only of sweetness.
    Go on, choke on that.  Did you say something?
    Are you thinking again?  Stop! – and
    get your ass gone, your blackness,
    that casual little red riding hood
    I'm just on my way home attitude
    as if this street was his to walk on.
    Do you do hear me talking to you? Boy.
    How dare he smile, jiggling his goodies
    in that tiny shiny bag, his black paw crinkling it,
    how dare he tinkle their laughter at you.

    Here's a fine basket of riddles:
    If a mouth shoots off and no one's around
    to hear it, who can say which came first –
    push or shove, bang or whimper?
    Which is news fit to write home about?

    © 2013 by Rita Dove

Source: http://www.theroot.com/buzz/trayvon-redux-rita-dove

05 July 2013

Resource | In Plain Sight: Poverty in America

I have been revisiting this new blog site, courtesy of NBC News. It is called "In Plain Sight: Poverty in America". For those of us who are perpetually concerned about people who live in poverty, this is a very good resource. To access the blog, go to: http://inplainsight.nbcnews.com/

In Plain Sight screenshot
In Plain Sight: Poverty in America website, July 5, 2013.

16 June 2013

VIDEO: "The Block" by Akua Naru feat. Drea D'Nur

Every once in a while I post music that tells the stories of the streets because street lit and hip hop inform one another quite intimately. Hip hop artist Akua Naru's piece, "The Block" paints a hauntingly vivid picture of the harsh realities that happen on "The Block". Enjoy and share this video with adults and teens at your library and in your classrooms. They will love Queen Akua Naru; they will hear her call.

15 May 2013

Street Smart: Urban Fiction in Public Libraries

Today I presented a webinar with the Public Library Association entitled, "Street Smart: Urban Fiction in Public Libraries". In this presentation I traced the history of street lit, characteristics of current-day street lit, and a plethora of resources for the genre. I've embedded the presentation below:


05 May 2013

Spring 2013 Reads: StreetLiterature.com's Recommendations

Hi there; Happy Spring! Listed below are my top Street Lit recommendations for this season. If you are a librarian, feel confident to purchase these titles for your patrons. If you are a teacher, you may see your students walking around with these titles in their backpacks or bumping into walls while walking and reading these fantastic stories. I hope you will read them too!

Souljah, Sister. 2013. A Deeper Love Inside: The Porsche Santiaga Story. NY: Atria. 
Hardback | ISBN-13: 978-1439165317 | $26.99 USD | 432 pages

Finally, after a decade or more of a wait, we get the answers to all the questions that The Coldest Winter Ever left us with. What happened to Winter? What happened to the fallout of the Santiaga family? How did Midnight wind up with the twins? How did life turn out for everyone?

Through the eyes and experiences of the middle child, Porsche, we learn the devastating effects of the disintegration of a drug lord's family. A must read. A must have for all public library collections.

I was interviewed by Drexel University about my reading response to A Deeper Love Inside. Feel free to read my review.

Blue, Treasure E. 2013. Fly Betty: A Harlem Girl Lost Novel. NY: Cash Money Content.
Paperback | ISBN-13: 978-1936399314 | $14.95 USD | 416 pages

Author Treasure Blue is a rare writer who can really tell a women's story. In this installment of his Harlem Girl Lost series. Fly Betty is a mother-daughter story, illustrating how the sins of the parent are often paid with the life experiences of the child.  

All the elements of Street Lit ring strong in this story: girl from the hood who tries to move up and out of poverty by any means necessary, overcoming the street violence of prostitution, and surviving drug addiction. 

Fly Betty is a redemptive story of a young woman seeking to break the cycle of her mother's past and pain. Highly recommended for all public libraries.

Clark, Wahida. 2013. Honor Thy Thug. NY: Cash Money Content.
Hardcover | ISBN-13: 978-1936399390 | $22.99 USD | 320 pages
Ebook | ISBN-13: 978-1-936399-40-6 | $9.99 USD |  

Released just 2 weeks ago, Clark's latest Thug Love novel is already boasting a 5-star rating on Amazon.com (with 217 customer reviews). Clark hit the New York Times Bestsellers list during the first week of the novel's release, making it her fourth appearance on the stellar publication roll call. Needless to say, Honor Thy Thug is a must-have title for your library or personal collection.

Book Description: "Urban lit’s favorite ride or die couple, Trae and Tasha, are back as they fight to hold onto their volatile relationship which gets closer to exploding with each passing day. Their friends, Angel and Kaylin, are caught up in their own drama which pits brother against brother in a final showdown. Faheem and his wife Jaz, face their worst nightmare which almost takes them totally out of the game. Meanwhile, Kyron, who brought Trae to the brink of murder and Tasha to the edge of insanity, is back and hell bent on revenge.

When Trae makes the deadly decision to work for the most violent Chinese crime organization in the city and renew a business relationship with Charli Li, the one woman who can never be trusted, his rocky marriage and life are threatened. Tasha is forced to step in, and things get really crazy. Can Trae escape the grips of the mob with his life and hold on to his wife? Honor Thy Thug will leave you gasping for more." - Amazon.com.

Other titles to consider:

T. Styles. 2013. RedBone 2: Takeover at Platinum Lofts.
NY: Urban Books. 
Pprbck | ISBN-13:  978-1601625403 | $14.95 USD | 343 pp.

What readers are saying:
Action packed. "Thrilling." "3 thumbs up." "T.Styles is one of the best in the game."

Santiago, Nisa. 2013. Face Off: Part 4. The Baddest Chick Series.
NJ: Melodrama Publishing. 
Paperback | ISBN-13: 978-1934157664 | $14.99 USD | 272 pages

What readers are saying: 
"Great Read!" "I read this book in one day." "I love all of Nisa Santiago's work."

Mill, Meek. 2013. Tony Story. G Street Chronicles Presents. 

Jonesboro, GA: G Street Chronicles.

Paperback | ISBN-13: 978-1938442704 | $14.99 USD | 256 pages

Set in the streets of Philadelphia, from which hip hop star Meek Mill hails, this story is sure to please.

An Important Resource for School Libraries

Please check out this excellent presentation by Chicago high school librarian, K.C. Boyd, on collection development for street lit in school libraries. Definitely worth the time.

Save the Date! Street Lit Webinar May 15th

31 March 2013

Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond (Call for Submissions)


Forthcoming anthology gathers “tales from Afrofuturism and beyond”
Co-editors Bill Campbell and Edward Austin Hall are pleased to announce that their forthcoming anthology, Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond, has already attracted a diverse array of story submissions. Nonetheless, with the May 1 deadline looming for the end of the collection’s submissions phase, the editors hope to see yet more genre fiction by, for, and/or about persons of color.
Washington, D.C.-based Campbell, who initiated the project, describes its genesis and goals this way: “When we look up at the night sky, space is black as far as the eye can see. Yet when we read novels about it or watch something on TV or in the movie theater, it is white beyond all comprehension. With this collection, we hope to give space some much needed … color, shall we say (and other genres, of course).”

Hall, a longtime Atlantan, said of the acquisition process for Mothership, “We’ve been extraordinarily lucky. In just the last few days we accepted several stories, including ones from Nisi Shawl, Eden Robinson, and Junot Diaz. I can’t wait to see the stories yet to come, though, whether from practiced hands or exciting new talents.” 

More information about the project (including guidelines for submission) and the anthologists appears online: http://mothershipconnect.com/index.html
Hall and Campbell are available for interview via edwardahall@gmail.com and 404.755.7575 or muthaship1@gmail.com and 301.456.6439, respectively.

21 March 2013

2013 SLBAM Winners and Honorees

The Street Lit Book Award Medal (SLBAM) Committee is proud to announce the award winners for 2012 publications. The following winners and honorees were nominated based on popularity of books as read by the public in school, academic, and public library settings. In other words, the SLBAM honors what street lit readers are reading and deeming as the best authors and titles for the 2012 publication year.

1) A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball by Dwayne Wade
2) Empire State of Mind:  How Jay-Z Went from Street Corner to Corner Office by Zack O'Malley Greenburg
3) Purpose: An Immigrant's Story by Wyclef Jean

SLBAM Feedback:
-- “The New Jim Crow has seen an amazing resurgence in its reprint edition, becoming an important read for many.”
-- "People won't stop asking for The New Jim Crow."
-- "My students enjoy A Father First … learning how Wade, a homeboy from Chicago, juggles fatherhood and the NBA."

1) Get It Girls by Treasure Blue
2) Murder Was the Case by Kiki Swinson
3) Coca Kola by Nisa Santiago

SLBAM Feedback:
-- "For a second year in a row, K'wan keeps readers flocking to the library looking for his latest release."
-- "It always boils down to K'wan and Treasure Blue. This year, the battle between K'wan and Treasure Blue can be compared to Holyfield and Tyson."
1) How to Get Out of Your Own Way by Tyrese Gibson
2) Shattered by Kia Dupree
3) Back to Me by Earl Sewell

SLBAM Feedback:
-- "Many of my students began their pre-teen years reading Nikki Carter’s So For Real series and now have graduated to her Fab Life series. It's great to see Nikki Carter honored."
-- "My young library patrons love Nikki Carter."
-- "Tyrese Gibson's book is the talk among teens at my school."
-- "DuPree does it again and takes her readers on an emotional rollercoaster ride."
-- "My teens can't get enough of books written by Sewell."


SLBAM Committee Feedback:

-- "Readers are voraciously enjoying Animal!"

-- "The character Animal is one of the most ruthless yet misunderstood characters in modern day Street Literature."

-- "Animal is a masterpiece... a continuation of setting the high standard for Street Lit..."


For 2013, the SLBAM Committee honors Essence (magazine) bestselling author K'wan, for his continuous commitment to raising the bar for the literary quality of Street Lit. K'wan approaches his stories with a Dickens-esque quality, paying deep attention to social ills that motivate his characters to live the lives they live in his stories. K'wan is also cited for his prolific writing career with having authored 20 very popular novels, plus two novellas, and has been featured in three anthologies, all within the past decade, offering a solid foundation upon which contemporary Street Lit continues to evolve. Readers love K'wan. Case in point, one SLBAM Committee member shared: "After an intense debate, my book discussion group picked K'wan."


Methodology: The SLBAM Committee conducted three nomination rounds where they reported on field research of patron readership and reader response to street lit in libraries. The committee discussed all nominated titles. The "Emerging Classic" category recognizes a street lit-plotted or -themed book that was published during or before the year of nomination but continues to be in popular demand by the reading public. Another special category, "Author(s) of the Year", recognizes an author or writing team whose publications were particularly well-received by the reading public during the nomination year. Aside from the "Emerging Classic" category, books eligible for SLBAM nomination were required to be published between January 1, 2012 - December 31, 2012.

For more information about the Street Lit Book Award Medal (SLBAM) or if you are interested in participating on the committee, contact: vanirvimorris@gmail.com. For a historical listing of SLBAM Awards, visit: http://www.streetliterature.com/p/slbam.html.

2013 SLBAM Committee Members:

K.C. Boyd, M.Ed., M.L.S., is the Library Media Specialist at the acclaimed Wendell Phillips Academy High School in Chicago, IL. Boyd is a nationally sought-out lecturer on street lit, and she blogs about young adult street lit/urban fiction at http://theaudaciouslibrarian.blogspot.com/.

Marvin DeBose, Sr., M.L.S., is an Adult/Teen Librarian with the Free Library of Philadelphia (PA). An often sought-out panelist for discussing street lit in libraries, Marvin manages the largest street lit public library collection in Philadelphia, and also runs a teen street lit book club where they discuss their readings at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/277733218945733/.

Connie Farley is Reference Technician for St. Louis (MO) Public Library where she runs an Urban Lit Discussion Group that boasts a diverse membership coming from several African and Caribbean nations.

D.L. Grant, Jr., M.L.S., is an Assistant Branch Manager with the San Antonio Public Library System. Grant is studying for his doctorate's degree in English studies.

Patrice Grimball-Smith is a Librarian Assistant in Young Adult Services for the Charleston County Public Library System in Charleston, South Carolina.  She is also President of the Readers in Motion Bookclub, http://facebook.com/ReadersInMotion.

Takiyah Jemison, M.L.S., is currently Head of the Cataloging Department at Fayetteville State University. She has a B.A in History and she received her Master in Library Science from North Carolina Central University. She is an avid reader of different genres such as psychological thrillers, urban literature, and true crimes.

Vanessa Irvin Morris, M.L.S., Ed.D., is the convener of the Street Lit Book Award Medal (SLBAM) Committee. She is the author of the Street Literature blog at http://www.streetliterature.com, and the award-winning publication, The Readers Advisory Guide to Street Literature (2011). Vanessa teaches library and information science at a private research university in Northeast USA.

StreetLiterature site *ON HIATUS*

Greetings, This site is *on hiatus* until further notice. There are reasons: 1/ Since street lit has become pretty mainstream in publicat...