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Harlem’s First Person Plural Reading Series invites writers to respond to our American crises. This is year four of this special reading.

Join us on Sunday, November 10th at Silvana in Harlem for an evening of politics, culture, history and catharsis featuring writers Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, Max S. Gordon, David Tomas Martinez, Nara Milanich, Ed Morales and Sarah Van Arsdale, hosted by Stacy Parker Le Melle. This is our fourth annual election-time reading and if we can judge by the three prior readings, this one will be exceptional. You’ll leave energized. The reading is from 6-8pm. Silvana is located at 300 W. 116th St near Frederick Douglass Blvd. Books sold by Word Up! Books. Admission is free. There will be cake!

About the Featured Writers:

Ibrahim Abdul-Matin is an urban strategist whose work focuses on deepening democracy and improving public engagement. He has advised two mayors on the best was to translate complex decisions related to the cost, impacts, and benefits of environmental policy and of capital projects on communities. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies on sustainability and innovation. Previously, Ibrahim developed tools to connect, train, and fund grassroots activists. Since 2018, Ibrahim has worked with governments, CBOs, and select corporate clients providing strategy and support around infrastructure policy, the land use process, strategies for climate adaptation and resilience. He is the author of Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet and earned his MPA at Baruch College’s Marxe School where he now lectures, serves on the Board of the International Living Future Institute and is a founding facilitator of the National Association of Climate Resilience Planners.

Max S. Gordon is a writer and activist. He has been published in the anthologies Inside Separate Worlds: Life Stories of Young Blacks, Jews and Latinos (University of Michigan Press, 1991), Go the Way Your Blood Beats: An Anthology of African- American Lesbian and Gay Fiction (Henry Holt, 1996). His work has also appeared on openDemocracy, Democratic Underground and Truthout, in Z Magazine, Gay Times, and other progressive online and print magazines in the U.S. and internationally. His essays include “Bill Cosby, Himself, Fame, Narcissism and Sexual Violence”, “Resist Trump: A Survival Guide”, “Family Feud: Jay-Z, Beyoncé and the Desecration of Black Art”, “A Little Respect, Just a Little Bit: On White Feminism and How ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is Being Weaponized Against Women of Color”, and “Sticks and Stones Will Break Your Bones: On Patriarchy, Cancel Culture and Dave Chappelle.”

David Tomas Martinez is the author of two collections of poetry, Hustle and Post Traumatic Hood Disorder, both from Sarabande Books. Martinez is a Pushcart winner, CantoMundo fellow, a Breadloaf Stanley P. Young Fellow, NEA poetry fellow, and NEA Big Read author. Martinez lives in Brooklyn.

Nara Milanich is Professor of Latin American History at Barnard College, Columbia University. She teaches and researches the history of family, childhood, reproduction, gender, and law. Her most recent book, Paternity: The Elusive Quest for the Father (Harvard University Press, 2019), came out in June and received coverage in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Salon, NPR, Scientific American, CNN, and Time, among other places. The book explores the quest for a scientific proof of paternity and the social questions that, over the course of the twentieth century, these new genetic technologies were called on to answer. One of the book’s arguments is that since the Cold War, genetic tests of parentage have been used in immigration proceedings to fix the racial boundaries of the nation. Milanich has also worked as a translator and legal assistant for Central American mothers and children incarcerated in the country’s largest immigrant detention center, located in Dilley, Texas. She has written about this experience in the Washington Post, Dissent, and NACLA: North American Congress on Latin America. Last semester, she taught a class on the asylum crisis and took her undergraduate students to work in the detention center.

Ed Morales is an author and journalist who has written for The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Jacobin, and The Guardian. He was staff writer at The Village Voice and columnist at Newsday. He is the author of Latinx: The New Force in Politics and Culture (Verso Books, 2018), Living in Spanglish (St. Martins, 2002), and The Latin Beat: From Rumba to Rock (Da Capo Press, 2003). His new book, Fantasy Island: Colonialism, Exploitation, and the Betrayal of Puerto Rico was published in September 2019 by Bold Type Press. Morales is also a poet whose work has appeared in Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Café (Henry Holt, 1993) and various small magazines, and his fiction has appeared in Iguana Dreams (HarperCollins, 1992), and Boricuas (Ballantine, 1994). He has participated in residencies as a member of Nuyorican Poets Café Live, touring as a spoken-word performer in several cities throughout the east coast, in California, Florida, Texas, and Denmark. Morales has appeared on CNN, Democracy Now, HBO Latino, CNN Español, WNBC-TV’s Visiones, WABC’s Tiempo, BBC television and radio, and The Laura Flanders Show, and hosted his own radio show, “Living in Spanglish,” on WBAI-FM in New York from 2015–2018.

Sarah Van Arsdale is the award-winning author of five books of fiction and poetry. She teaches in the Antioch/LA low-residency MFA program and at NYU, and leads writing workshops in Oaxaca, Mexico and Freeport, Maine. She co-curates the BLOOM reading series in Washington Heights.

About the Host:

Stacy Parker Le Melle is the author of Government Girl: Young and Female in the White House (HarperCollins/Ecco) and is a contributing editor to Callaloo. She was the lead contributor to Voices from the Storm: The People of New Orleans on Hurricane Katrina and Its Aftermath (McSweeney’s) and chronicles stories for The Katrina Experience: An Oral History Project. Her recent narrative nonfiction has been published in Callaloo, The Offing, Apogee Journal, The Nervous Breakdown, Entropy, The Butter, Cura, The Atlas Review, and The Florida Review where the essay was a finalist for the 2014 Editors’ Prize for nonfiction. Originally from Detroit, Le Melle is the founder of Harlem Against Violence, Homophobia, and Transphobia, and the curator and co-founder of Harlem’s First Person Plural Reading Series.

About Word Up Books:

Word Up is a multilingual, general-interest community bookshop and arts space in Washington Heights, New York City, committed to preserving and building a neighborhood in which all residents help each other to live better informed and more expressive lives, using books as an instrument of reciprocal education and exchange, empowering not only themselves, but their community. Word Up is run by volunteers from the uptown community. By hosting readings, concerts, screenings, art exhibitions, talks and workshops, community meetings, and other activities for kids and adults, we do our best to support and fortify the creative spirit unique to our diverse, uptown community.