Monthly Archives: May 2018

Coverage of Ishmael Reed’s participation in the First Person Festival, and novel “Flight to Canada”

Spanish language news coverage from VilaWeb:

Ishmael Reed’s latest Counterpunch article discusses the end of Hollywood

From Counterpunch, Reed’s personally curated online magazine:

Wajahat Ali discusses with Hasan Minhaj how comedy could be used to heal America’s political climate

Wajahat Ali is a member of Before Columbus Foundation’s Board of Directors.

YouTube video footage from PEN America:

UCLA hosts discussion of Vaughn Rasberry’s “Race and the Totalitarian Century”

Rasberry received the 2017 American Book Award for Race and the Totalitarian Century: Geopolitics in the Black Literary Imagination

Will Alexander, Justin Desmangles, Robin D.G. Kelley, Vaughn Rasberry, Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, UCLA, May 15, 2018 (photo by Tatyana Ali)

Nancy Mercado delivers Keynote Address at Rutgers’ Rites of Passage Ceremony

Rites of Passage, a graduation ceremony for Black and Latinx students at Rutgers, invited Nancy Mercado to deliver its Keynote address in 2018. Mercado received the 2017 American Book Award for Lifetime Achievement. Event details can be read here: Video from YouTube:

CD Wright’s 1979 letter to Ishmael Reed

CD Wright commends the Before Columbus Foundation in a 1979 letter to its founder, Ishmael Reed.

CD Wright to Ishmael Reed 08.28.1979

Dear Ishmael Reed,
I sold the printing equipment in July and moved myself and the Lost Roads inventory to SF this month. Since I have been here I’ve had the flu, the blues, the hives, and a stopped up head. Now that’s all clearing up and I am ready to go back on line, finish my manuscript, continue with Frank’s work, and with Lost Roads, as well as, with some kind of employment. The latter being why I am writing to you. While I am aware the job I aspire to probably doesn’t exist, I’m still applying. As the publisher/editor and sole staff member of Lost Roads I’ve acquired some skills I’d like to put to use: I’ve learned the fundamentals of offset printing, done the typesetting, layout, camera work, stripping, plate burning, design, type and paper selection and ordering, silkscreening; coordinated distribution, edited manuscripts, handled correspondence, written grants, filled out legal forms, tax forms, done the mailing and the billing, etc., etc. I’ve spent my free time perusing the California literary scene, and the only one that makes any damn sense to me is the activity around Before Columbus, Y’bird, and Reed, Cannon and Johnson. With all those irons in the fire – even if all the printing and design work is jobbed out – you still have to maintain some semblance of a staff. Don’t you? If not maybe you have a lead or two for me. After three years as a grad assistant, two years on a grant, and a year running LR I am spoiled – I just don’t want to work for a fool. I want to work for who I want to work for – else I just don’t care what happens. I go to pot.

I have a standard resume if you want to see it.

And I have time at your convenience if you could talk to me about this.

I move into an apt this weekend but won’t have a phone for a few weeks. A message can be left for me at 552-5464 or a card at the LR p.o. would do. Meanwhile I may keep trying to reach you at Before Columbus.

My thanks, appreciation, the best,

CD Wright


Ishmael Reed’s play Life Among The Aryans to debut

“Life Among the Aryans” Opens May 31, 2018 in New York City at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Tickets can be purchased from Ticketfly:

John Keene speaks on elements of literary style

Keene’s Counternarratives received the American Book Award in 2016. “Literary style is the material articulation, in whatever genre and form, of an author’s attempt to record their vision, sensibility, and apperception of the world.” Speech originally delivered at Association of Writers/Writing Programs (AWP) Tampa Transcript From Literary Hub:

Laila Lalami examines divide between writers and critics

Lalami’s The Moor’s Account received the American Book Award in 2016. From Poets & Writers:

Ishmael Reed to join First Person Festival 2018 in Barcelona

Spanish language coverage from El Periodico: