Organized by Atria senior editor Malaika Adero, the second annual UpSouth International Book Festival kicks off September 19-23 in Harlem for five days of the literary and performing arts. Artists scheduled to take part include historian Simon Schama, novelists Tina McElroy, Martha Southgate and Maryse Conde and children’s authors Faith Ringgold, Lisette Norman and Bernette Ford as well as musicians, dancers and other performing artists.
In addition to presenting a variety of writers, the festival attempts to show, “the link between the written word and the rest of the arts,” said Adero. The festival will feature a variety of performances and collaborations—including a performance involving music, dance and song based on Schama’s Rough Crossing, a history of the Atlantic slave trade. Last week the organizers held a pre-festival tribute to legendary poet, novelist, playwright and black political acitivist Amiri Baraka.
This year’s event will take place in a new facility—Harlem Stage/The Gatehouse at 150 Convent Avenue and 135th Sreet in Harlem—that holds just under 200 seats. “Its perfect for literary and performing arts events.” said Adero. UpSouth will also feature the Iranian novelist Shahmush Parsipur, author of Women Without Men from the Feminist Press, and a screening of Zarin, a short film by New York-based Iranian filmmaker Shirin Nashat, based on a Parsipur short story.
Adero acknowledged that while the inaugural UpSouth Festival was a critical success, “attendance was small. But our audience was enthusiastic and have been our best promoters for this year’s event.” For more information visit the UpSouth website.