On April 8, Ruthless Good: The Great Austin Scavenger Hunt will dispatch dozens of teams from the Long Center to crack clues, solve trivia challenges, and discover photo-worthy landmarks and locales. But the rolicking hunt’s true aim is problem solving on a much grander scale–bolstering equitable community-wide access to health, education and work. . . .
As a relatively new Austinite, I was honored to join Kendra Scott, Mayor Steve Adler, Andy Roddick, Brooklyn Decker, Aaron Franklin, Celeste Flores and Earl Maxwell in a special video for Amplify Austin Day. . . .
It’s tempting to think of Angie Thomas’ YA novel The Hate U Give as being ripped straight from the latest headlines about an unarmed black person shot by the police. But that would miss the point that for many people, Thomas included, the news is not only news: it is lived experience—raw and achingly intimate. And the lives stolen are individual, particular to specific families, neighborhoods, and communities, not generic fodder for hashtags and sound bites. Thomas says she sometimes has to . . .
A particularly moving scene in the film Hidden Figures takes place not at NASA but in the public library of Hampton, Virginia. Mathematician Dorothy Vaughn steers clear of vocal civil rights protests on her way into the library. Yet her visit is cut short when a white librarian warns her: “We don’t want any trouble in here,” as she considers a computer programming text on a shelf. Vaughn’s only seeking knowledge — a book that can’t be found in the colored section — yet she and her . . .
Necessary and audacious, Mychal Denzel Smith’s assured debut, Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching, fuses memoir and cultural criticism to ponder an often-neglected question: How did you learn to be a black man? The way he scrutinizes the origin of his beliefs about black identity and masculinity is revelatory--and instructive. He mines his personal history as an Obama-era black millennial in the service of a larger vision: social transformation through personal awakening. As he . . .
Necessary and audacious, Mychal Denzel Smith’s assured debut, Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching, fuses memoir and cultural criticism to ponder an often-neglected question: How did you learn to be a black man? His answers are compelling. Even more, the way he scrutinizes the origin of his beliefs about black identity and masculinity is revelatory--and instructive. He mines his personal history as an Obama-era black millennial in the service of a larger vision: social transformation . . .
I was honored to stand with Austin's writing community and writers across the country for an evening of rapid-fire readings designed to renew our energy and help us find the language and stories we need to fight for a free, just and compassionate society. Participating writers included Sarah Bird, Elizabeth McCracken, Cyrus Cassells, Sasha West, Tammy Gomez, and Chaitali Sen. . . .
I interviewed bestselling author Zadie Smith live before a sold out crowd at Central Presbyterian Church in Austin on January 12th at 7 p.m. It was an honor to chat with Smith about her writing process and latest product--Swing Time. . . .
In The Firebrand and the First Lady, scholar Patricia Bell-Scott illuminates the unlikely friendship between two historic American women. Radical civil and women’s rights activist Pauli Murray and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt corresponded for years and swayed one another’s social justice aims and strategies. Their views never converged, but Bell-Scott makes a compelling case that they grew with and toward each other. “I started out being interested primarily in doing a biography, but then the . . .
26-year-old Brit Bennett’s sparkling debut novel, The Mothers, came of age over eight years and several drafts. She began penning the tale of youthful indiscretions and betrayals while just a teen. Then she carried it with her through college at Stanford and to MFA and postgraduate fellowship programs at the University of Michigan, where she torched and remade the story repeatedly. The pull of the characters and drama at Upper Room Chapel, a black church in a California beach town, kept her . . .