NYU Professor and Novelist Zadie Smith to Receive Langston Hughes Medal for Writing

Zadie Smith (photo via lithub.com)

via jbhe.com

Zadie Smith, the acclaimed novelist who is a professor of creative writing at New York University, has been selected to received the Langston Hughes Medal from the City College of New York. The medal honors writers of poetry, drama, fiction, biographies, and critical essays from throughout the Black diaspora. Professor Smith will honored on November 16 at City College’s annual Langston Hughes Festival.

Previous winners of the Langston Hughes Medal include James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Walter Mosley, Gwendolyn Brooks, Octavia Butler, August Wilson, and Edwidge Danticat. Smith is the author of five novels including her latest work Swing Time (Penguin Books, 2016). She also published an essay collection Changing My Mind (Penguin Books, 2009) and writes frequently for the New Yorker magazine and the New York Review of Books.

A native of London, Professor Smith is a graduate of Kings College of the University of Cambridge. She joined the faculty at New York University in 2010.

Source: Zadie Smith of New York University to Receive the Langston Hughes Medal : The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

AALBC.com’s 50 Favorite African-American Authors of the 20th Century

(photo via aalbc.com)

article via aalbc.com

1,826 readers cast votes back in 2001 for their favorite African-American authors. Here we share the 50 authors who received the most votes ranked in the order of the total number of votes received.  Below are the top 15.  To see the rest, go to: http://aalbc.com/authors/top50authors.php?

# 1 — (6.24%) Toni Morrison # 2 — (5.42%) Zora Neale Hurston # 3 — (4.82%) Maya Angelou # 4 — (4.71%) J. California Cooper # 5 — (4.33%) Alice Walker # 6 — (3.94%) Langston Hughes # 7 — (3.72%) E. Lynn Harris # 8 — (3.56%) James Baldwin # 9 — (3.23%) Terry McMillan # 10 — (3.18%) Bebe Moore Campbell # 11 — (2.74%) Richard Wright # 12 — (2.57%) Walter Mosley # 13 — (2.52%) Eric Jerome Dickey # 14 — (2.41%) Sheneska Jackson # 15 — (2.19%) Octavia Butler —Copyright AALBC.com.

Source: AALBC.com’s 50 Favorite African-American Authors of the 20th Century

Walter Mosley’s “Devil in a Blue Dress” Headed to Broadway

devil in a blue dress, denzel washington,

It was first a novel, then a film and now it’s headed to Broadway. “Devil in a Blue Dress” will be getting the theater treatment.  The popular film that starred Denzel Washington and Don Cheadle in 1995 — based on one of Walter Mosley‘s most popular works — is coming to the Great White Way.

“Devil in a Blue Dress” is a noir novel and film about a man in 1948 Los Angeles who loses his aerospace manufacturing job and turns to private detective work.

Mosley revealed the Broadway news when he was promoting his new book, “Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore.”  He has partnered with Jazz musician and composer Branford Marsalis to bring the work to the stage.  There’s no word on if Washington or Cheadle will reprise their roles from the film, but the production should begin within the next year.

article by Deron Dalton via eurweb.com

Russell Simmons Raises 1.5 Million Dollars for the Arts at Annual Art For Life Benefit

Russell Simmons raises 1.5 million dollars for the arts at annual Art For Life Benefit

Russell Simmons raises 1.5 million dollars for the arts at annual Art For Life Benefit. Michael Strahan, Nicole Murphy, Anthony Anderson, among others, were in attendance (photo by Nia Hamm)

Celebrities, activists, artists and media descended upon Bridgehampton, New York last Saturday July 28 to help raise more than $1.5 million — and counting — for Danny and Russell Simmons’ fourteenth annual Art For Life Benefit.  The event, held at Russell Simmons’ Fairview Farms East Hampton estate, helped to raise money for the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, which provides arts education opportunities for inner-city youth.

“It’s very important that kids get a chance to practice and appreciate art,” Russell Simmons said of his inspiration for the benefit and organization, because, “it informs everything that we do. Nothing happens without creativity.”  Guests included Michael Strahan, Nicole Murphy, Anthony Anderson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Star Jones, Angela Simmons and more. Youthful new faces such as Skylar Diggins, Olivia Culpo, Nana Meriwether, Melanie Fiona and Tahira Jose were also seen on the scene to bring attention to the importance of promoting culture among our youth.

Soledad O’Brien hosted the gala, while special performances included Estelle, Rick Ross and Maxwell. There was even a surprise performance by Doug E. Fresh.  This year’s theme, ‘A Field of Dreams,’ highlighted the creativity of New York City youth and honored individuals in the community for their contributions, career achievements and philanthropic work.

Honorees included Samuel Englebardt and William D. Johnson of Demarest Films, writer Walter Mosley, Ann Pasternak of Creative Time and filmmaker Tyler Perry.  Attendees agreed that the arts are an integral part of any child’s upbringing. “As a parent I want them to be able to read. I want them to be able to write and do mathematics. That’s all really important. But they also, to be human beings, have to understand how to express themselves,” Soledad O’Brien said.  The final amount raised by the Art For Life Benefit the will be announced when the online auction, hosted by Charitybuzz, closes on August 7.

article by Nia Hamm via thegrio.com

Walter Mosley and Countee Cullen to Be Inducted Into the NY State Writers Hall of Fame

Countee Cullen

Countee Cullen

Walter Mosley

Walter Mosley

On June 4, the New York State Writers Hall of Fame will induct eight outstanding authors – Walter Mosley, Countee Cullen, Maurice Sendak, Alice McDermott, Miguel Pinero, James Fenimore Cooper, Calvin Trillin and  Marilyn Hacker.   Mosley is best known for his Easy Rawlins novels Devil in a Blue Dress and Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned, while Cullen came to prominence as a poet during the Harlem Renaissance, publishing classics such as Color and Copper Sun.

Each honoree is inducted personally with a few words by a friend or representative, and the 2013 ceremony will be held at New York’s Princeton Club.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson