Our annual Festival Weekend isn’t until November, but there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate literature here in Austin this summer. First up on the not-to-miss list: the Austin African American Book Festival at the Carver Museum and Library on June 22 and 24.
This vital community event, which was founded in 2007 by Rosalind Oliphant and Evelyn Martin-Anderson, brings readers and writers together and produces and facilitates collaboration, dialogue, creativity and activism. The AAABF has hosted many notable guests in the past ten years, including Terry McMillan, Beverly Jenkins, Sister Souljah, and Austin’s own Don Tate.
This year, for the 11th annual Austin African American Book Festival will host bestselling YA author Angie Thomas presenting her novel The Hate U Give on Thursday, June 22, at 6:30 p.m. Thomas’s #1 New York Times bestseller is a groundbreaking, thought-provoking novel inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, about a teen girl who is the only witness to her friend’s fatal shooting by a police officer, leading her to confront the reality of racial injustice in America and get involved in activism. It has received starred reviews from 8 literary journals, one of the highest amounts received for a young adult novel, and will be published in over 20 countries.
On Saturday, June 24, starting at 10 a.m., the AAABF will host events with novelist April Sinclair (Coffee Will Make You Black), author and Salon Magazine Editor-at-Large D. Watkins (The Cook Up), and keynote speaker UT Professor and author Peniel Joseph (Stokely: A Life, Dark Days, Bright Nights), whose keynote address is title “Black History, Literature, and Power in the age of Black Lives Matter.” You can also catch afternoon screenings and discussions of recent acclaimed and award-winning films “I Am Not Your Negro” and “Get Out,” as well as other programming throughout the day. The full schedule is available on the AAABF website.