CBL Announces New Monthly Book Club



Beginning April 2020, The Center Will Read and Discuss

The Works of Black Authors Throughout The African Diaspora.

In March, at the beginning stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, Dr. Brenda M. Greene shared a note of hope to the cultural arts community-at-large. In an open letter to the community, Dr. Greene, the founder and executive director of the Center for Black Literature referenced a cross-section of Black artists and public figures to remind us all that: “In this time of despair, we can look to our musicians, artists and writers for sustenance. Our musical and literary artists bring us together and often act as agents for social change. Through their music and lyrics, they highlight critical issues and suggest ways that we can overcome. They are gifted visionaries, who through their insight, give us words and rhythms that feed our spirit and souls.”

That same month, Greene announced the newest program of the Center, the monthly book club. The online book discussion featured Edwidge Danticat’s powerful work, Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist At Work.” Though the best-selling collection of essays, Danticat “tells stories of artists who create despite (or because of) the horrors that drove them from their homelands,” the essence of the work focuses on artists who create during crisis.

The inaugural conference call book club gathering on April 29, 2020, was a tremendous success. Danticat made a guest phone appearance to dozens of people who called in from all over the country: New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, Iowa, Texas, and Massachusetts.


(please check here regularly for updates)

The next book selection for the October 2020 discussion will be The Truths We Hold: An American Journey by Kamala Harris (Penguin Press, 2019), scheduled for Wednesday, October 28, 2020, from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm EST via Zoom. A New York Times bestseller from Kamala Harris, one of America’s most inspiring political leaders and Joe Biden’s pick for his 2020 running mate, this is a book about the core truths that unite us, and the long struggle to discern what those truths are and how best to act upon them, in her own life and across the life of our country. Check out a recent review by Carlos Lozada in The Washington Post here. Please RSVP via writers@mec.cuny.edu.

As a reminder, below are the selections for the remainder of the year 2020. We want to ensure that you have enough time to read the selections.

NovemberThe Vanishing Half  by Brit Bennett (Penguin Press, 2020).
From The New York Times best-selling author of The Mothers, a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one Black and one White. Read more reviews and testimonials here.

December Praisesong for the Widow by Paule Marshall (Penguin, 1983).
From the acclaimed author of Daughters and Brown Girl, Brownstones comes a “work of exceptional wisdom, maturity, and generosity, one in which the palpable humanity of its characters transcends any considerations of race or sex” (Washington Post Book World). More information on the book and review here.

The Center for Black Literature will be honoring Paule Marshall at the 2021 NBWC  Biennial Symposium.