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 . . .
Hi, it's Maya, and I'm back with another 5-Star Read. I'm so excited to share Patricia Bell-Scott's, The Firebrand and the First Lady," with you. This book is wonderful for so many reasons. In particular, I really loved that it's a portrait of a friendship. The two people in the friendship are these extraordinarily influential historical figures. On one hand we have Eleanor Roosevelt. Then, on the other hand we have Pauli Murray. . . .
Grace Bonney's In the Company of Women offers inspiration and advice from 100 women who are makers, artists, and entrepreneurs. Rather than telling long, drawn out life stories of the women, it really cuts to the heart of their stories by asking some specific questions about what inspires them, what obstacles they've overcome. The candid responses she received are really inspiring to readers, and also the fact that there are so many different women offering these insights into pivotal . . .
Hi, I'm Maya, and I'd love to tell you about the I, Too, Arts Collective. This is a new non-profit initiative being launched by author Renée Watson to preserve and build on the legacy of poet, Langston Hughes. I was so excited when I heard that Renée was doing this, because, like so many people, I have enjoyed the poetry of Langston Hughes since I was a little, little kid. In fact, I still have my very first book of poetry, which is called My Black Me: A Beginning Book of Black Poetry, which . . .
I’m a sucker for debut novelists, so if I could break away from my desk midday, I would hustle over to Holy Grounds Coffee, located inside St. David’s Episcopal Church, to hear from Mary Helen Specht, author of Migratory Animals. The moving, if melancholy, story grapples with notions of home, family and belonging. See event details here. Christina Soontornvat, author of The Changelings (Sept. 10 at 3 pm at BookPeople Local author Christina Soontornvat is a generous . . .
I read picture books to my daughter for nearly five years before I gained a deep appreciation for the form. Sure, I read them daily and with enthusiasm (mostly). But I read them the same way I would read a chapter book or an illustrated dictionary. That is, I read them as if the pictures were servant to the text, secondary and utilitarian. If I referenced a picture at all, it was to capture Zora’s attention with quick questions like: What color is her shirt? or How many ducks do you . . .
Hello, it's Maya, and I'm back with another five-star read. The year's half over, but I still would like to spend today talking about Shonda Rhimes's "The Year of Yes." This is a fantastic book that's not really just about saying yes to everything that comes your way. It's really a book about pushing through discomfort to do some of the things that are really worthwhile for your personal and professional development. The kinds of yeses Shonda is giving are unlike anything most of us are . . .