To kick off Black History Month, the Westchester Library System (WLS) celebrates its 11th annual African-American Writers & Readers Literary Tea on Monday, January 19, 2009 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Celebrating African-American history, literature, and culture throughout the county’s 38 public libraries, the tea is cosponsored by the Westchester County Chapter of the Links Inc. This year’s award-winning authors include Kimberly Seals-Allers, Asha Bandele, Tonya Bolden and Kimberla Lawson Roby.

“WLS’s annual Literary Tea affords us the perfect opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the significant literary contributions made by the African-American community,” said John Smith, WLS interim director. “The enthusiasm of the authors, sponsors, and committee members, coupled with the importance of the topic, makes this a truly special event in Westchester.” This year’s authors and writers are amazing. Kimberly Seals-Allers is a journalist, respected personal finance expert and public speaker.

Most recently, she served as senior editor of Essence magazine. She has also worked at the NY Post and Times (London). Her latest book, “The Mocha Manual of Turning Your Passion into Profits,” offers the step-by-step answers you need to create a business. Asha Bendele, an author and journalist, has authored a collection of poetry, “Absence in the Palm of My Hands”; a memoir, “The Prisoner’s Wife” (1999), a novel, “Daughter” (2003); and her latest book, “Something Like Beautiful.” She is the recipient of Columbia University’s Revson Fellowship and has appeared on “Oprah” and “20/20.”

Tonya Bolden, a magna cum laude baccalaureate of Princeton University with a master’s degree from Columbia University, has penned “Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl,” a Coretta Scott King Honor Book, and “MLK: Journey of a King.”

New York Times best-selling author Kimberla Lawson Roby has published 11 novels that include: “One In A Million,” “Sin No More,” “Loves & Lies,” “Changing Faces,” “The Best-Kept Secret,” “Too Much of a Good Thing,” “A Taste of Reality,” “It’s a Thin Line,” “Casting the First Stone,” and “Here and Now.” Her debut title is “Behind Closed Doors.”

Melvin Bumus Esq., president of the African-American Men of Westchester Inc., with Honorary Chair Cheryl Brannan, president/CEO of Sister to Sister International Inc, will host the 2009 Literary Tea event. Ticket prices are $75 for general admission and $100 for Tea Friends, which includes admission to a pre-reception and photo opportunity with authors. For more information, call (914) 231-3226 or visit