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Literary giants Ishmael Reed and Haki Madhubuti in town

Herb Boyd | 5/12/2016, 6:51 p.m.
There are two opportunities for folks in the region to spend time with the eminent author Ishmael Reed.
Haki Madhubuti clintonfoundation.org

There are two opportunities for folks in the region to spend time with the eminent author Ishmael Reed. Thursday, May 12, he will be at Sister’s Uptown Bookstore and Friday, May 13, he will be at the Harlem Arts Salon. At each session, Reed, in town to promote his latest book, “Black Hollywood Unchained—Commentary on the State of Black Hollywood” (Third World Press), will be joined by Haki Madhubuti, the poet and publisher of Third World Press.

Madhubuti, fresh from a speaking and signing in Texas, is attending mainly to give his author moral support. At Sister’s, several of Madhubuti’s books will be available, including his most recent, “Taking Bullets: Black Boys and Men in Twenty-First Century America Fighting Terrorism, Stopping Violence, and Seeking Healing.”

It is rare to have such prominent and prolific writers in town at the same time and at the same place. Such a moment, of course, is not unusual for Madhubuti and Reed. Both have been mainstays in our literary and scholarly communities for more than a generation.

Together they have published a trove of books in practically every genre—Madhubuti, perhaps most popularly through his poetry and essays, and Reed through his novels and a wide range of nonfiction. “Black Hollywood Unchained” is exemplary of Reed’s work as an anthologist, and a number of contributors to the book will be at the salon to read their essays.

But Reed is the editor, and this provocative collection of essays is typical of his take-no-prisoners approach—a writer unafraid to gore sacred cows and to embark on an untrammeled trail of controversy.

He never fails to incite a lively discussion, and that will come as no surprise to his thousands of fans and followers.

Sister’s Uptown Bookstore is located at 1942 Amsterdam Ave.—1942 is Madhubuti’s birth year. The event starts at 6 p.m. For further information, call 212-862-3680. The Harlem Arts Salon, curated by Margaret Troupe, is located at 1925 7th Ave. The program begins at 6:30 p.m. Contact 212-749-7771. This event benefits The Gloster Arts Projects, a 501c3 nonprofit bringing arts education to rural Mississippi. Food and wine and a copy of “Black Hollywood Unchained” are included for $40.