Primed for Some Literary Vibranium?

Readers say, "Austin African American Book Festival forever!"

This being the Year of Black Panther hasn't escaped the notice of Austin’s African American Book Festival. With the slogan "Literary Vibranium," the 12th edition on June 23 features local comics scribe Evan Narcisse (Rise of the Black Panther) and Paul Coates, father to Black Panther writer Ta-Nehisi Coates.

The African American Book Festival Committee (l-r): Peggy Terry, Carol Wright, AABF Founder and Director Rosalind Oliphant Jones, and Anne Boyd (Courtesy of African American Book festival)

Of course, AABF didn't invite Coates to be this year's keynote speaker based solely on his paternal connection to the man who keeps Wakanda's king mask-deep in adventures month to month. He's a vitally important publisher of African American literature, having run Black Classic Press for 40 years now. The press restores to print books about people of African descent that have been unavailable for years and may have been forgotten, such as Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing, edited by Amiri Baraka and Larry Neal, and the 1829 work David Walker’s Appeal by David Walker. It also published contemporary writings, with one of its most significant authors being Walter Mosely, the acclaimed creator of detective Easy Rawlins. That's not to say Coatest doesn't have a real Black Panther connection. but his is with the political activists. He worked with the Black Panther Party in the Seventies and has maintained with many of its members through the years.

Meanwhile, back in Wakanda: In addition to Narcisse discussing his comics work, graphic novelist John Jennings and AABF veterans Dr. Mark Cunningham and Dr. Peniel Joseph will analyze the current phenomenon of the superhero Black Panther.

But the festival will boast lots of literary excitement in which the name "T'Challa" won't ever be mentioned. Victoria Christopher Murray will read from her NAACP Image Award-winning novel Stand Your Ground. A session celebrating new writers will feature Brooke Obie, winner of the 2017 Phillis Wheatley Award for First Fiction for the debut novel Book of Addis: Cradled Embers. YA author Lori Aurelia Williams will help lead a storytelling workshop for teens with authors Dr. Daina Berry and Dr. Keffrelyn Brown. And illustrator Don Tate will lead young attendees in an art activity.

The festival is free and open to the public. It will take place Saturday, June 23, 9:30am-5pm at the Carver Museum and Library, 1165 Angelina. For a full schedule, visit the festival website.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

African American Book Festival, Carver Library and Museum, Black Panther, Paul Coates, Evan Narcisse, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Black Panther Party, Victoria Christopher Murray, Don Tate, Brooke Obie, John Jennings

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