LitFest2018 Debuts in New York!

LitFest is coming to New York!

Our national LitFest will take place Saturday, June 2, 2018 starting at 7 p.m. at Cassava House, 2270 1st Avenue in East Harlem. The event will feature poetry readings, a book fair and live music.

Since 2012, LitFest has appeared in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Minneapolis and Los Angeles. 2018 marks our first New York appearance. A pioneer in the live streaming of literary events, LitFest is a signature program of Willow Books.

The goal of LitFest is access to quality arts programs for all. Our reach is worldwide now, but our first priority remains providing the underserved areas of America the opportunity to see and hear a world-class caliber of diverse artists.

LitFest 2018 NYC performers include National Endowment for the Arts fellows Randall Horton and Reginald Flood, Sokunthary Svay, co-founder of the Cambodian Literary Arts Association and American Opera Projects Fellow, Roberto Carlos Garcia, founder of Get Fresh Books, Qiana Towns, winner of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize and Keisha-Gaye Anderson, Brooklyn Public Library Artist-in-Residence.

LitFest will take place on the patio of Cassava House, a popular eatery in East Harlem.

Live entertainment will be provided by Os Clavelitos, a New York-based band that has topped the world music charts.

For a full roster of performers and more information about LitFest, visit www.WillowLit.net.

Willow Launches Weeksville Summer Arts Residency

“The Future of the Arts, with an Eye on the Past.” That’s the motto for Willow’s grand vision for its upcoming decennial (okay, that’s still a strange word to me–i.e., Willow’s 10th anniversary). Watch for announcements on our upcoming multidisciplinary Arts Residencies. Our new era kicks off with the first-ever Weeksville Summer Arts Residency July 27-29. This will be a one-of-a kind experience, with master classes, craft talks, readings, and performances, and a tour of the Hunter Fly Road Houses of Weeksville, a 19th century African American community of founded in 1838 in Brooklyn, New York.hunterfly

After years of putting on events, it started dawning on Randall and me exactly where we’ve been hosting, especially after the LitFest in Chicago’s Bronzeville. Somewhat unconsciously, we’ve been centering our events in locales that have cultural and historical significance. I know it was probably rooted in me in my early years with the Detroit Writers Guild and our first major project, a poetry photo book on Detroit’s Paradise Valley. I’ve been hosting various events in the district ever since, particularly at the Carr Center, and in 2010 we expanded activities into its historic counterpart, Idlewild, where our conference enabled modern-day writers to trace the paths of great writers, thinkers, entertainers, and athletes, including Zora Neale Hurston, W.E.B. DuBois, Charles W. Chestnutt, and heavyweight champ Joe Louis. During its golden age, roughly 1915-1960, these two exclusive African American communities produced  a surge of entrepreneurial, intellectual and artistic development. This fall, we will be hosting the Paradise Valley/Idlewild Residency at the Carr Center, featuring Denise Miller. We will also return to Chicago’s Bronzeville.

Next February, we’ll be taking a stroll to some of Duke Ellington’s homes in the U District of Washington, D.C. during AWP. Our list of destinations will grow…grow with us.

The Weeksville application deadline is June 30 via Submittable. Limited scholarships are available.