THE 26TH annual Celebration of Black Writing Festival has a full week of workshops, school programs, and family activities planned to promote literacy and the love of writing. The week culminates with a community tribute to poet
, who is receiving the festival's Lifetime Achievement Award.
The festival is presented by Art Sanctuary, a nonprofit cultural organization based at the Church of the Advocate. All week, authors and illustrators will visit schools in the Delaware Valley, and on Friday Giovanni will headline a school matinee at the Pearl Theatre, Broad and Oxford streets. And although the festival is committed to bringing literature to students, there are many programs to entice lifelong learners.
On Thursday, for example, state Sen. Vincent Hughes will host a provocative evening about black golfers from 6-8 p.m. at the Union League, Broad and Sansom streets. "Uneven Fairways," a documentary about barrier-breaker Pete Brown, the first African-American to win a PGA Tour event, will be screened and discussed. (This event is free, but you should reserve your seat through EventBrite.com.)
On Saturday, the festival will take over the Temple campus with programming for all ages. There will be workshops (how to get your poetry published and tips for freelance writers, among others), panel discussions (Malcolm X's influence on Philadelphia civil rights, for example), performances (Jean Baylor from the hit duo Zhane, winners of the citywide haiku-writing competition, music and dance by Misty Sol and Davina) and a book fair with author signings.
At the family pavilion, at Broad Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue, you can learn how to build a home library for your kids and how to turn your Nintendo-addicted son into a reader. Students from St. Francis de Sales School in University City will share their love of genealogy - they've spent the school year learning about their own ancestors. There's even a workshop on children's hair-care methods, conducted by Abenaa Timazee, owner of Brownstone Natural Hair and Barber Studio.
From noon to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, writers who have registered in advance can meet editors from HBF Publishers during the popular publisher's open-call event. It's a chance for writers to get advice and show their manuscripts to publishing pros during a 20-minute consultation. To participate you'll need to send the first 10 pages of your fiction or nonfiction manuscript and a one-page synopsis of your work to info@artsanc
tuary.org. (Bring hard copies to the open call.) This is sponsored by the Harlem Book Fair and Quarterly Black Book Review.
The festival will conclude with a concert by the Black Pearl Orchestra Company, performing classical music written by African-American composers, including Dr. George Walker, the first black composer to win a Pulitzer Prize. The concert, 7 p.m. Saturday at the Baptist Temple, Broad Street near Berks, is free, but you must reserve a ticket by sending an e-mail to Tickets@blackpearlco. org. (Give your name and the number of tickets you're requesting in the subject line, and in the body of the e-mail include your name, address and phone number.) Those attending the Nikki Giovanni Lifetime Achievement Award event on Friday evening will receive a complimentary ticket to Saturday's concert. For a full list of festival activities, go to www.artsanctuary.