Jamillah R. Gabriel, librarian at Purdue University’s Black Cultural Center, has launched a new start-up subscription box venture that each month will send a newly released book written by a Black author to subscribers of the service. Subscribers also will receive four or five book-themed items with their new book that mirror prominent themes in the featured book as well as catalog cards and spine labels. The Call Number service, scheduled to debut in November, will start at $35 per month. Gabriel told JBHE that “I have selected the first book but I’m keeping that under wraps at the moment.”
Gabriel states that “These days there is a subscription box service for just about anything: fitness products, beauty products, even razors. However, after reviewing many literary subscription box sites I realized there were no book subscription boxes that highlighted Black literature. The lack of diversity in the publishing industry also spurred my decision to test the waters of entrepreneurship in an endeavor that would promote diverse literature in an easily accessible way.”
Natalie Graham, assistant professor of African American studies at California State University, Fullerton, has been selected as the winner of the 2016 Cave Canem Poetry Prize from the Brooklyn, New York-based Cave Canem Foundation. The nonprofit organization was founded by Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady in 1996 to remedy the underrepresentation and isolation of African American poets in the literary landscape.
Dr. Graham will receive a cash prize and have her manuscript – Begin With a Failed Body – published by the University of Georgia Press in the fall of 2017. She joined the faculty at California State University, Fullerton in 2013.
In describing her award-winning poetry collection, Dr. Graham said “the collection contains poems that are often dark — reimagining iconic religious, literary, and historical figures. They imagine a haunted Southern landscape where history is inescapable. When they speak of nation, religion or family, they often ruminate on the individual body’s frailty in the face of these larger, sturdier structures.”
Dr. Graham holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from the University of Florida and a Ph.D. in American studies from Michigan State University.